Under the orange glow of a metal chandelier and a ceiling draped in gold and ruby fabric, more than 60 people packed inside the small Stubbies & Steins pub Saturday night, savoring their last sips of its exotic beer selection.
The facade of the 11-year-old Gainesville staple twinkled with strings of white Christmas lights on one of the last weekends of its life.
On Sunday, its lights will twinkle no more. The chandelier will be lowered. And the bar that brought craft beer to Gainesville will close its doors for good.
Stubbies was a labor of love for owners Berkeley Hoflund and her late father and former UF chemical engineering professor Gar Hoflund. The pub stemmed from a mutual love of traveling, beer and beer T-shirts — which Hoflund collected in the thousands.
In 1998, the two decided to open a bar back home while on a trip to Kyoto, Japan.
“In a way, Stubbies grew out of our travels together,” Berkeley Hoflund, 39, said.
The original bar, Stubbie Shirt Pub — named after the Australian word for short beer bottles — opened in 2003. Though its name later changed to Stubbies & Steins after the addition of a German-inspired side in 2008, it still stands at 9 W. University Ave. today.
It opened with a selection of 60 beers that has since grown to more than 400, including brews from Australia, Scandinavia and the Caribbean.
“Stubbies is kind of the beer-culture epicenter of Gainesville,” said Deno Stelter, a 28-year-old UF astronomy graduate student who has been coming to Stubbies for more than six years.
On Saturday night, he and fellow astronomy graduate student and regular Dan Gettings, 28, remembered the bar that had become “like a gathering place” to them.
Amanda Townsend, an astronomy graduate student, said she remembers the first time Stelter and Gettings brought her to Stubbies and introduced her to its ice cream beer float.
“It was one of the first bars I came to in Gainesville, and honestly, if they were going to be open forever, it would be the last bar I came to in Gainesville,” said Townsend, 28.
The three heard of the bar’s closing through a Facebook post Hoflund wrote Thursday.
Hoflund has been battling Celiac disease since 2011, which prevents her from eating gluten. Since she was diagnosed, she has only been able to drink gluten-free beer.
Two years later, her father died suddenly at 65.
“It became difficult to even walk in the doors some days,” Hoflund said.
The loss of her father and her battle with Celiac led her to close the bar.
Hoflund said she will take the long-lasting friendships cultivated at Stubbies on her new journey in life. She plans to travel, starting in Japan where the idea of Stubbies began.
Through the years, people have met at Stubbies and later married. One couple even nicknamed their baby “Stubby” while in the womb.
“It makes me feel like the last 12 years were really worthwhile,” Hoflund said.
As the week winds down, Hoflund said she hopes people will come in and share their favorite memories.
Perhaps appropriately, the closing coincides with what would have been her father’s 67th birthday on Friday.
On Saturday night, the final toast will close out the bar. The checkered flags and family crests will be taken down.
Gettings and Stelter plan to be there and say goodbye to the Gainesville staple that fostered their passion for beer.
“I’ll probably cry a little bit,” Gettings said.
“More than a little bit,” Stelter corrected. “We’ll be here until they lock the doors.”
[A version of this story ran on page 4 on 9/22/2014 under the headline "Stubbies & Steins pub to close this weekend"]
Owners Berkeley Hoflund (center) and her late father, Gar Hoflund, celebrate their first Oktoberfest at Stubbies & Steins pub with Berkeley’s older sister, Bryce Hoflund, in 2008.