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Berlin’s ‘Bitcoin Bar’ announces closure

The world's first outlet that accepted Bitcoin as payment just announced its closure.

Image by Allthings Berlin from Pixabay

Tue, 20 Oct 2020, 09:08 am UTC

Room 77, the iconic bar in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district, has announced its closure. The bar is known as the first retail outfit in the world to accept Bitcoin (BTC) as payment.

The closure was confirmed by bar owner Jorg Platzer on Reddit, according to “Room 77 is closing for good,” Platzer revealed in a post on Oct. 18. “We think our mission is accomplished and it is time to go back to our home planet. Thanks for all the fish and the generous tips!”

The bar’s closure is a result of the restrictions in place due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Bars in Berlin are prohibited from selling alcohol from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. negatively affecting their profits.

“COVID will make it impossible to run a place like that, at least throughout 2021. If you ever were at one of our meetups you know how absolutely impossible it is to even try to keep people socially distanced,” Platzer told Coindesk.

However, Platzer is not too affected by the bar’s closure. The bar just like a “fun project” for him and he was not even expecting that it would last this long.

“We opened it 15 years ago as a fun project because it was dirt cheap to do so back then in the rundown neighborhood, and it was possible to have loud and wild parties,” Platzer said. “We thought we’d run it for a year or two.”

Room 77 started accepting Bitcoin (BTC) as payment in 2011. It is the first bar and likely the first private retail outlet in the world to do so, earning it the nickname of “Bitcoin Bar.” Since then, it evolved into something like a pilgrimage for bitcoiners.

Bitcoin’s image started to change when Room 77 started to accept the token as a form of payment. “Before we did that (accept BTC), all media coverage about bitcoin was about hackers stealing credit card details and selling them on the black markets,” Platzer said in a 2018 interview.

“Room 77 was a very unique place,” Jeff Gallas, the first man who paid BTC for a beer, said. “Not only did it provide many Bitcoiners with beers and burgers (for many, their first purchase with the magic Internet money in real life), but it also provided tons of mental nourishment for a whole generation of Bitcoiners. Countless ideas were born here, some drowned again in rum and whiskey, but many made it through the boozy nights.”

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