Ernie Biggs closes its doors for the final time after 17 years of business

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Saturday marked the final night for a popular Little Rock bar. 

After nearly two decades, Ernie Biggs’ management announced last week they were shutting their doors. 

Ernie Biggs’ owner, Daniel Bryant, said it was just time. 

“We really tried to create something different,” he said. 

Since 2003, Ernie Biggs has brought enjoyment and entertainment to the River Market District. 

Bryant said things were not the way they are now when Ernie Biggs decided to open its doors. 

“When we came down here and leased our spot, as I was telling you, the only two lights on on the street were Sticky Fingerz and the Flying Saucer,” he said. 

Seventeen years later, Bryant said the street now looks a little different than it used to. 

“Now, basically every spot’s taken, every light is on,” he said. 

Just like time has changed the area, the clock moving forward has also impacted Bryant, who has been there since the beginning.

Now, with three kids all 12 and under, he said it is time for something different.

“Some choices need to be made and I’m married and I’d like to stay that way, so getting out now is probably the right thing to do,” Bryant said. 

He said the simple answer was that the lease is up. No matter the reason though, the way Bryant wants the popular dueling piano bar to be remembered is clear. 

“We wanted it to be very inclusive. That’s the thing, we think that’s why people liked us. We really started out with ‘just be nice,'” he said. 

This “nice” factor is what Max Oliver, operations manager, said brought regulars back daily to hear the sounds of those classic keys. 

“You see the same people at least two or three nights a week, which is kind of abnormal for a piano bar,” he said. 

Oliver said the bar’s phone has been ringing non-stop with people near and far wanting to reserve a table for its closing night. 

“It’s going to be emotional I think,” he said. 

With the sound of live music filling the room and drinks being poured one after another, Saturday night was filled with celebration as Ernie Biggs does one final last call. 

“It’s actually very flattering. You don’t know if people care or not, but we’ve been very surprised. Evidently, people have a lot of memories here,” Bryant said. 

Bryant said he doesn’t know what will take Ernie Biggs’ spot, but it could possibly be another bar. 

He is also the owner of Gus’s Fried Chicken and Big Whiskey’s in the River Market, so he said he is not going anywhere. 

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