Brain Trust: OK, Which One Of You Bought The R.U.B.A.?

A little birdie is telling us that someone has finally purchased the legendary (and infamous) R.U.B.A. Hall in Northern Liberties. Since 1913, the spot has served the local community in a mostly thankless manner — first, various and sundry Russian immigrants and later, hipsters/burnouts/addicts and so on. The R.U.B.A. has been on and off the market for years now, with its most recent listing asking $675K for the (kind of massive) property. And like we were saying, we’re hearing somebody bought it. So far, our go-to real estate sleuths haven’t been able to sniff out who the new owner is, and as you might expect, the usually lightning-fast BRT hasn’t updated its records, either. So who is it? Speculate, have fun, reminisce about the old days in the comments.

33 Responses to “Brain Trust: OK, Which One Of You Bought The R.U.B.A.?”

  1. DJRobertDrake Says:

    Stupid trivia we all know department:

    What does R.U.B.A. stand for??

    Russian Ukrainian Boating Association

    thx for playing :)

  2. lightonfire Says:

    lemme guess…bought by the same guy who ruined…i mean…renovated silk city? probably gonna turn it into something only yuppie douchebags wanna hang out in instead of say…..a place where Interpol wants to play ping pong at. this is just another step in the complete douchefication of philadelphia by people who cater to the same people buying the “luxury condos” going up next door. go fuck yourselves.

  3. Talliver Says:

    i saw the door guy tim last night at work and he told me about this. the dude that bought it called him and it was from an LA #. doesnt know who the guy is though…Mike moved out. Its still open. Thats all I got…

    Robert, its the Russian United Beneficial Association. but your answer is what i always called it hahaha.

  4. Trigg Says:

    We can only hope that it becomes another french bistro, am I right?

  5. coldasice Says:

    Will my membership dues be honored?

  6. shawnkilroy Says:

    the guy who “ruined Silk City” has been in that neighborhood for about 30 years. He’s been there from the time you couldn’t park your car on 5th without the windows getting smashed, and the “nightclub” attached to that diner was a good place to get stabbed and bleed to death ’cause it takes cops a while to get places sometimes. He happened to buy a business that was in serious decline because all the previous owners were too busy ripping each other off, to keep the roaches out of the burgers and the snots out of the beer coolers. he seems to have turned it into a moneymaker.
    Now in it’s current incarnation, Silk City, or as I like to call it now, Wizards & Warriors Afro Lounge is not really my cup of tea either, but don’t get down on a hard workin business man who can pull some shit together just because that particular nightspot’s heyday for coked out white kids is over.
    You can still tag the bathrooms at Mom’s

  7. tips Says:

    What Kilroy said.

  8. duckworth Says:

    oh snap you got kilroyed, lightonfire.

  9. lightonfire Says:

    um people still do coke at silk.

  10. lightonfire Says:

    and also…you seem to be agreeing with my view of the douchefication of philadelphia with everything you just wrote.

  11. Timo Says:

    Ollie, nice seeing you at the Irish Rovers show at the Keswick. We were the two youngest and soberest people there. Who’d would of thunk? Joe – will send you an email with the update….

  12. Stacker Says:

    So I’m guessing under the new ownership the RUBA won’t keep it’ club status and ability to dish out drinks past 2 AM? Or am I incorrect in that assumption?

  13. lightonfire Says:

    all (sorta) kidding aside….

    what im getting at is philly is losing everything that was rad about it. what made it fun.

    new york was rough and tumble until Guiliani cleaned it up (shipped out the homeless). now, how many people yearn for the times when manhattan wasnt just a massive orgy of millionaires?

  14. Timo Says:

    The new owner is the new president of the club. From what I have heard everything will be the same for at least the near future. You can still rent out the hall for parties and Sundays will be the same.

  15. lightonfire Says:

    well then, i retract all my previous statements. good day.

  16. Trigg Says:

    So Philly is rad again now? That was easy.

    Also, this:

  17. lord_whimsy Says:

    Held a couple Bagatelle Balls there. Mike the Russian polished off half of my bottle of Green Chartreuse. I was too impressed to make much of it.

  18. suffer Says:

    Have a lot of great R.U.B.A. memories. On Silk and Mark B: I agree with everyone in a way. Mark B is an old timer and good dude. But, I liked the old Silk in a shithole sorta way. Mark’s version of Silk City is not my thing. It’s like North 3rd on roids and the “beer garden” is a joke. I wish he just made it an upscale breakfast join (diner) ala Honey’s, and I think it would have made some good coin too.

    Doesn’t Philly have a severe shortage of hipster breakfast joints? Look at the lines at Sabrina’s, Honey’s and Morning Glory (tho I haven’t been around MG in a while).

  19. Walter Sobchak Says:

    @Talliver – Russian Ukrainian Benevolent Association.

  20. bmurray Says:

    As long as the surly Russian guys stick around.

    Is it a shortage of hipster breakfast joints, or a glut of hipsters needing to wait a hour to pay fourteen bucks for eggs and coffee?

  21. Ubby Says:

    this argument against “douchefication” sounds similar to the “be careful or white-folks will build a nice bar like sidecar here” rallying cry heard in grays ferry a few weeks ago.

  22. lightonfire Says:

    i think i’d almost rather get stabbed than have someone in a button-down fist pump in front of me

  23. spaghetti_eddie Says:

    What makes Philly “un-rad” is the constant bitching and complaining. While I agree that it’s nice to be nostalgic for places/times gone by, you have to accept that time marches on. If you want to do something about it then put your money where your mouth is.

  24. jawnish Says:

    Exactly. Someone call the wahhhhhmbulance. Philly’s rad as ever – but all cities change and transform. Kids get older & go back to college after five years of dancing and binging and make way for the new crop. Clubs change and new ones open. abandoned warehouses and mansions become the new music venues and dance clubs. Every city has its douchebags. and you, lightonfire, are one of them.

  25. rcollerd Says:

    I just booked a night in April for a party. Met the new owner and he seemed the furthest thing from a “douche”. He’s said he’s going to turn it into a space centered around music and the arts with a lot of shows there. So as far as I know nothing will change other then the fact that it sounds like R.U.B.A. just might live up to it’s potential. So pay the membership fee and help make it happen.

  26. Talliver Says:

    @Walter Sobchak

    sayin is all.

    it all sounds the same to me!

  27. lightonfire Says:

    damn jawnish, you mad it’s too warm to wear your North Face this week?

  28. daytimedrinker Says:

    Lightonfire – every time I see the words yuppie or douchebag I instantly think that the person saying those super passe phrases is probably a DB themselves. wait ! did I just contradict myself???
    Anyways Mark B is one of the coolest people in Philly and seriously must have one of the hottest girlfriends in all of philly. Thats extra points in my book but i digress
    When was the last time LOF even talked to Mr B or god forsake moved his hips to current dj’s at silk?

    Mr B rents out a couple of artist studios/ lofts ( they are huge maybe 4,000 or more square feet I think) in NO LIBS. LOF Take a guess as to what he charges local artists for these spaces?
    The rent hasn’t changed in a decade or so. I think it might be UNDER $1000 a month. Yeah thats about 25 cents a square foot or less
    So bitch all you want but if this guy was interested in money he would have tossed the artists a long time ago and turned it into condo-palooza years ago
    Tell me how many landlords and developers in philly would have done the same?
    next time think b4 you speak

  29. daytimedrinker Says:

    oh wait
    LOF probably doesn’t dance or know who current DJs are
    prob just a cynical stiff that likes to shoot his mouth off
    if u dont like gentrification or change move to East kensington or Frankford
    or do us a favor and move to NJ

  30. DJCarbon43 Says:

    lightonfire, the other commenters have basically run a train on you, so now might be a brilliant time to hush yo mouth.

    …and to bring things back on topic, imho the critical thing when “saving” a run down but much loved establishment is to run that careful balance of cleaning it up, but keeping the aspects of the atmosphere that make it loved in the first place…. e.g. if it’s a dark haven, don’t put in spotlights and fluorescents. Its definitely a tricky balance.

  31. Tim Says:

    Mike has not been in good health lately, so I don’t think he will be around the club anymore. His life story is incredible. From Two.One.Five magazine:

    “I was born in Russia. Our family lived in a small village where my father and mother worked on a collective farm. Life was not easy in the Soviet Union during Stalin’s era. Many people were tortured, murdered, enslaved or simply disappeared without a trace. There were rumors that Hitler planned to attack and then it happened exactly the way it was predicted. People were terrified and did not know what to do.

    The war was on.

    Before the invasion, every man in the village was drafted, so my father left and I never saw him again.

    The first wave of the German invasion wasn’t so bad. One night, the German soldiers broke all the locks of a collective farm warehouse…”

    The rest can be read on the RUBA Facebook page:

  32. barryg Says:

    @lightonfire, there are fables of neighborhoods outside of NoLibs, where there no luxury lofts, people have things to do besides eat brunch every day, and many of the restaurants have been around longer than 10 years.

  33. jawnish Says:

    @lightonfire not sure what made you think I like to rock the North Face, but okay. stop whinin’.

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