The Egremont Barn live music venue, as well as an adjacent inn, are for sale. The owners want to help it flourish into … – Berkshire Eagle

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Jenny Rubin and Nick Keene

Jenny Rubin and Nick Keene have steered The Egremont Barn toward landmark status since they opened the entertainment venue in 2016. Keene and his two siblings have put up for sale the 10-acre property that includes the live music venue as well as the adjacent Egremont Village Inn.

EGREMONT — Eight years ago, Nick Keene and his then-girlfriend, Jenny Rubin, began what would grow into a live music landmark and a community hub.

But now it’s time for a change at the Egremont Barn and the adjacent Egremont Village Inn; Keene and his two siblings have put the entire property up for sale.

It is listed by Lance Vermeulen Real Estate at $2.4 million for the entire 10-acre property and buildings, or at $1.35 million for just the inn and approximately 4 acres.

Keene and Rubin say the family is flexible about how they’ll sell it. They are also having ongoing discussions with potential investors in the Berkshires.

Those interested in buying and operating a music venue, bar and restaurant, the couple say, may or may not also want to run a bed and breakfast. But there are, they note, a host of possibilities here at 17 Main St. Those include another restaurant and a wedding venue. (Nick and Jenny were married here in 2021.)

Rubin, who also is a stand-up comedian, says she would love to continue shepherding The Barn under a new ownership. To the community, she is its spiritual leader, if you will.

“Jenny is the lynchpin for the entertainment and the general vibration of the place,” Keene said, “and just really … has organically evolved to be the face of it.”

The Barn, the couple say, has not reached anywhere near the end of its life cycle. It’s weathered much yet continues to pack in audiences. Keene and Rubin have “gone all in and have invested every dollar, and every moment of the day that we have, to bring it this far.”

It “survived the pandemic — a miracle,” Keene notes. And it has soldiered on amid the continued challenges of cost hikes, inflation and new consumer habits.

The Egremont Village Inn

The Egremont Village Inn at 17 Main St. is for sale along with the larger, 10-acre property that includes The Egremont Barn, a live entertainment venue. The inn also can be purchased alone with 4 acres.

The Keene family brought the property in 2013, largely enticed by the potential for a barn that had been the Robbie Burns Pub until the mid-1980s, to be restored for a music and entertainment venue.

They also wanted to be close to their mother, the opera singer Sara Keene, who died in 2021 and left the property to her three children. The businesses are owned by Nick, Jenny and Nick’s sister, Gigi Teeley.

In July 2016, The Barn doors opened with live music, comedy and weekly events like karaoke nights that have drawn “all walks of life,” Rubin said.

Keene and Rubin are inspired by the joy they see here, and they want that to continue.

“We see people change at the Barn,” Keene said. “We’ve seen autistic people come out of their shell and we’ve seen people really embrace their self expression.”

The Egremont Barn

The Egremont Barn shown in full swing during summer. The owners are selling the property, looking for investors or a buyer who can keep the live music venue going strong into the future.

There are days when the pressure is heavy. Utility, food and wage costs are up 30 to 40 percent from pre-pandemic levels, the couple say. They’ve kept their prices down for the community, and they continue to feed and house the musicians who play here.

“You don’t make your nut in large chunks,” Keene said of the hospitality business. “You make it beer by beer and burger by burger.”

They’ve also had some setbacks. In 2021 They opened Sara’s Place, a breakfast and lunch cafe at the inn. They had trouble staffing it, but say that it was long-lasting roadwork on Route 23 that finally killed it, forcing them to close in December.

It didn’t help that a contract between the inn and a vacation rental company went sideways, leaving them without their usual revenue from hotel bookings. It was this, in part, that led to a GoFundMe campaign in December that raised nearly $25,000 to keep The Barn going.

“Twenty-five thousand dollars is two weeks of operations,” Keene said, “just to keep the lights on and the staff paid.”

Two musicians play on a stage

Tony Hanna and Chris Merenda on stage at The Egremont Barn in December 2022. 

Alarmed at the prospect of a shutdown here, the community quickly came to the rescue.

Rubin says she is hoping to continue helping The Barn flourish into the future. She and Keene might even brand it and move it to a new location if a new buyer doesn’t want to take it on.

“We’re hoping that the right person or persons emerge,” Keene said, “who have a vision for this space for the next chapter of it.”

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