A long-time Costa Mesa dive bar, The Helm, is set to shutter Saturday after its landlord chose not to renew the business' lease.
According to Dana Couch, a 24-year employee, the bar is set to shutter at 2 a.m. Saturday.
The bar at 1824 Newport Blvd. has been a fixture for decades, with the name The Helm for 23 years, and the Shamrock before that. It is thought to be one of the oldest full-liquor bars in the area.
"It's devastating," Couch said. "I've been here so long it's like losing family."
Couch said she may work at Tony's Place, about half a mile away, where some patrons may migrate.
Landlord Robert "Zeb" Ziemer, who owns neighboring Goat Hill Tavern, decided to stop renting to The Helm and replace the bar with a more upscale lounge, Helm owner Myron Miller told the Daily Pilot in early July.
"He has every right to do it, so there's not much for me to say," Miller said then. "He's a businessman. … I'm certainly not mad at him."
Business was bustling in the days leading up to The Helm's closure.
"This past week has been kind of crazy," Couch said. "We're just trying to run out of our liquor."
— Lauren Williams