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May 13, 2024

Hartford’s Tisane closes after 24 years, cites impact of remote work

HBJ Photo | STEVE LASCHEVER A photo of restaurateur Al Gamble stands in one of his Locals 8 Hospitality Group restaurants.

A popular restaurant and nightlife hub in Hartford closed its doors for good Monday after more than two decades, the business owners announced, citing a difficult post-COVID 19 environment as reason for shutting down.

Tisane Euro-Asian Cafe, at 537 Farmington Ave., is permanently closed effective today, May 13, founder and CEO Allie J. Gamble announced on the restaurant’s website.

“Tisane has been a very special place close to my heart for many, many years,” Gamble said in a post. “We’ve had some amazing times here. It’s sad to see Tisane close its doors, but many things have changed since the pandemic. Tisane used to be open from 7 am to 2 am prior to Covid and served four day parts. People would have meetings over coffee that rolled into lunch, lunch meetings that rolled into happy hour, or dinner that rolled into cocktails and music. Its central location on Farmington Ave served as the perfect meeting space for many. Unfortunately, with more people working remotely and fewer coming into Hartford, it has impacted the business we had before the pandemic.”

Tisane was part of the Locals 8 Hospitality Group, which also owns the Plan b restaurant brand and Butchers & Bakers in Farmington, among others. The group also owned the now-shuttered Half Door pub down the road from Tisane, which closed for good in early 2023.

While the restaurant was a popular breakfast, lunch and coffee and tea spot during the day, Tisane also had popular nightlife offerings like regular DJ sets and open mic nights. The restaurant also had strong ties to Hartford’s local LGBTQ community, artists and others.

In an interview with the Hartford Business Journal on Monday, Gamble emphasized that Tisane’s business model thrived when it could consistently rely on busy lunch and afternoon hours when the norm was in-office work.

“The model thrived on three to four day parts, but there’s just a lot less people working and meeting in-person now,” Gamble said.

Gamble said he spoke with staff Sunday and Monday about relocating them to one of Locals 8 Hospitality Group’s other restaurants. Six locations are all within 30 minutes of Hartford, he said, so he was confident staff would stay with the company. And customers could see popular Tisane drinks and dishes on other Locals 8 Hospitality Group menus, Gamble said.

“We still have all the recipes and all that creative energy with the same amazing people,” Gamble said.

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