Big Whiskey's in the River Market. Brian Chilson

Big Whiskey’s announced last week that it will be shutting down its Little Rock location later this month after 16 years in the River Market. The restaurant’s statement posted to Facebook said it opened “against the backdrop of the Great Recession” and during an “exciting and resurgent time for the River Market.”

Recent years haven’t been as kind to the River Market with restaurant/bars Charlee’s Good Time Drinkery, The Library Kitchen + Lounge and Cannibal & Craft all calling it quits after short stints in the district.

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“We were fortunate to be well received from the start and despite some ups and downs, have greatly enjoyed 16 years as a literal cornerstone in the area,” the post says. 

The restaurant’s location at 225 E. Markham St. formerly housed some memorable downtown restaurants over the years, including a second Trio’s location, Markham 225, and Nu Cuisine Lounge.

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Big Whiskey’s has been a good neighbor to the Arkansas Times, sharing martini glasses when we needed them for photo shoots and providing a nearby spot for members of the Times staff to congregate for a drink after work.

Big Whiskey’s was founded in Springfield, Missouri, in 2006 and currently has several locations throughout the state. It has Arkansas outposts in Fayetteville, Bentonville, and Siloam Springs. Little Rock restaurateur Daniel Bryant opened the River Market branch, telling the Downtown Little Rock Partnership in a 2020 interview that the restaurant was “a place to go watch a lot of sports without having the sports bar feel.” When reached for comment Thursday, Bryant declined to give a statement about the reason for the closure, but said, “I’m proud to have had such a long run downtown and am looking forward to my next projects.” Here’s the restaurant’s full Facebook post:

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The statement doesn’t include when the restaurant’s last day will be. We’ve heard rumors that it will be Saturday, so if you want to say goodbye and grab an order of buffalo dip or a Whiskey River burger, now’s the time.

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