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Owner Of Popular Downtown W-B Bar Passes Away

January 26, 2019
Owner Of Popular Downtown W-B Bar Passes Away

WILKES-BARRE — Long before many restaurateurs took a chance on downtown Wilkes-Barre, Brian Urbanas and a business partner opened Bart and Urby’s in the former Empire Beauty School building on South Main Street.

At just 26, he helped pave the way for others in 2005, becoming a founding institution of what is now billed by some as “Restaurant Row.”

The many friends Urbanas developed along the way took to social media on Friday to mourn his death following a long battle with multiple sclerosis.

Aside from running a popular eatery and bar, Urbanas in 2013 opened the adjoining music venue, “The Other Side.”

The arts and entertainment website NEPA Scene posted a tribute on its Facebook page, crediting Urbanas with being an “important part of the NEPA music scene for many years, hosting countless shows by bands large and small, giving original music and up-and-coming acts a place to perform for audiences of all ages while local artwork was displayed on the walls.”

“Brian has always been a good friend to and strong supporter of artists of all kinds in NEPA, something our creative community will never forget. Rest easy, Urby,” the post said.

Several months ago, a Go Fund Me account was set up to help buy Urbanas a standing motorized wheelchair because his “chronic pain would be reduced immensely if he could stand or simply be in an upright position.” At the time, he took to the business’ Facebook to thank everyone for their support and hoped to start feeling better.

R.J. Scouton, a rising country music artist from the area, posted a comment that Urbanas was a friend and supporter from the beginning of his career.

“Awesome guy. What a character. So sad,” Scouton said.

Local businessman Kristopher Jones posted a comment that Urbanas was a “great friend” who “helped build a scene and provide a place to go before there was much.”

Bart and Urby’s website notes the downtown was a lot different when they first opened in 2005 with no working street lights in front of the business and the movie theater still under construction.

“When we first bought the property, it was a ghost town. Now, after 10 years and lots of hard work, we are still standing,” the website says.

Contact the writer:

bkalinowski@citizensvoice.com

570-821-2055, @cvbobkal

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