Winter’s always a little gloomy under the trees in Monte Rio, but more so this year.

The Pink Elephant has closed. Lots of towns have a friendly, funky downtown bar, but at nighttime in Monte Rio the Pink Elephant really was the downtown. For years and years, the heart of the river town has consisted of ‘The Pink’ and the landmark Bartlett’s Market across the street.

Apparently the bar’s most recent owner, Tim Parker, has run out of money and can’t afford the renovations  the old joint needs. He obtained county permits for some minor work on the building, but then ripped out both bathrooms in preparation of replacing them.

A county inspector saw that Parker was doing construction work not allowed by the permit and issued a stop order. Parker submitted a request for a permit to finish the work he’d begun, and he warned the county that the check he wrote to cover the fees probably would bounce.

And now he’s turned off the lights and locked the door.

The last time I was in the Pink Elephant, the place was packed and its heart beat strong following the Bohemian Grove talent show that fills the adjacent amphitheater. Is The Pink a place you hope will get back into the black?