Marking the end of an era, beloved Allston music venue Great Scott has permanently closed.

The last time anyone saw a show at Great Scott was their very last time, the final step up to the small platform to show their ID and look out into the crowd of friendly faces. It was the last time they hung up their coat on the rickety, overcrowded coat rack, trusting their possessions to the Great Scott code of honor while heading to the bar for a $4 Narragansett beer. Water dripped on someone’s head in the Great Scott women’s bathroom one final time, and it’s now far too late to install locks on the men’s bathroom doors.

With one brief blurb on social media Friday, Great Scott manager Tim Philbin delivered news that had previously seemed impossible: After 44 years of live music, the iconic Allston venue would not reopen. “There is a sign that still hangs in the venue from the establishment that Great Scott replaced. The name of which was Brandy’s,” Philbin wrote. “That sign reads ‘Where Incredible Friendships Begin.’ I’m glad we never took it down because it explains Great Scott better than I ever could. Take care of yourselves and each other.”

It’s hard to define what the Great Scott meant for the local music scene, as a stepping stone for regional bands to get their start and as a gathering space, a home to a family. The venue booked big touring acts, local favorites and everyone in between, from noise and punk shows to drag shows to comedy nights and dance parties.

Indie-rock band Pile got its start in Boston playing Great Scott “dozens” of times, because the venue was always a “good selling point in convincing people to come see us play,” according to frontman Rick Maguire.

“I think that space taught us a lot about how to be a band,” Maguire said. “There was no green room — at least none that I was aware of anyway — so if you were playing there you had to hang out with everyone the whole night, there was no place to hide,” he said. “While that has its benefits as well as its drawbacks, I think it ultimately helps build a sense of community.”

Dustin Watson of Allston-based group Disposable America describes Great Scott as “a second home,” where his most formative years in music occurred. “I can't untangle my experience and involvement with the Boston music scene from Great Scott,” he said. “It is impossible to imagine a future without it.”

Sami Martasian of the local indie-rock group Puppy Problems jokingly described Great Scott as “the real Cheers of Boston DIY.”

“The big thing was to have your last show at Great Scott or to have your album release show,” Martasian said. “It was like a hospital where things are being born, and things die. You don't think that the physical place could ever go away, because it's what holds all of that creation and the undoing.”

Martasian still has their ticket stub from a show in October 2015, when Krill, a Boston-based DIY favorite, booked their break-up show at the venue that raised them. Because Great Scott could only physically fit 240 people, Krill booked two shows — one after another — on the same night.

“It was a crazy show,” Martasian said. “I remember the lights going on, and we were all just crying.”

Jonah Furman was playing bass for Krill at the time, just as he had on more than 30 other nights at Great Scott. “It felt very comfortable,” he said. “I always had extremely bad stage fright throughout my performing, but I did not that night. It was more like being in my living room.”

New York City native Sadie Dupuis, who leads the indie-rock group Speedy Ortiz, said Great Scott felt like home since she first started going to shows there in 2006. “I work full-time touring all around the world, and I often cite Great Scott as my favorite venue anywhere,” she said. “I used to live like two blocks from it, and I honestly took the place because it was so close to Great Scott, which is where I wanted to hang out all the time anyway.”

Dupuis also credits the venue with her early success. “Speedy Ortiz wouldn't have done any of the stuff we've done if [Great Scott booker] Carl Lavin hadn't liked us early on and let us play shows to very few people there, including our first album release show,” Dupuis said. “I think that the early support of Great Scott enabled us to do a lot of what we did the first few years. And I think a lot of Boston bands feel the same way.”

The venue closed in early March, as the coronavirus pandemic began shuttering non-essential businesses across the state, but Philbin said the permanent closure is not a result of the pandemic. “It wasn’t because of the virus or the shutdown, and people are like, ‘Well, we’ll fundraise,’ but it’s not really a money issue, either,” Philbin said in an interview with WGBH News. “They just didn’t want to have live music in the building anymore.”

According to Philbin, property owner Oak Hill Properties LLC sent a letter to Great Scott management in early March, with a demand that the venue either change its business plan or leave the space for good. Philbin said the landlord said the noise made it hard to rent the other units in the basement and above the venue, and other tenants had complained about the live music.

“They gave us the option to be a different sort of establishment, because they didn't want loud music,” Philbin said. “They felt that it impacted the other tenants in the building negatively, so it made it hard for them to make money.”

In a statement to WGBH, an attorney for Oak Hill Properties said Great Scott’s closure “is entirely due to the government shutdown in response to the unforeseen pandemic, and not any action by the landlord.” The attorney did confirm that the company “received complaints from other tenants about the noise from Great Scott, and many of these tenants left the premises for this reason” and that prior to the pandemic, in February and March, Oak Hill “communicated” to Great Scott “that to remain a long-term tenant it would have to change its live-music business model or put soundproofing in the venue.”

Oak Hill claims that owner Frank Strenk said he couldn’t afford to soundproof the business, so Oak Hill offered to enter into a “long-term lease without any modifications to the business or venue” but Strenk declined.

Strenk did not respond to requests for comment.

If the shutdown had not occurred when it did, the venue might have a little more wiggle room to consider other locations, Philbin said. But “there's nowhere for us to move to right now,” he said, “and there's no timeline as to when we would be able to reopen.”

Though Philbin and many others have accepted the venue’s closure, Allston resident Wendy Schiller says she’s not rolling over just yet. When Schiller saw the news on Friday, she put on a face mask and gloves, grabbed a notebook and pen, and ran down to the venue, where a small group had already congregated. Schiller began collecting signatures for a campaign to protest the closure. “It seems like if you can get a couple thousand signatures on something, people start to pay attention,” Schiller said. “My hope is that I can get enough signatures on this to present to people as early as next week.”

As of Saturday evening, Schiller’s petition had garnered nearly 7,000 signatures and was not the only campaign protesting the decision. Around the same time, local musician and organizer James Ikeda started a letter-writing campaign, encouraging those who disagree with the decision to send letters to the building’s landlord.

“It’s such an important place to so many different people, and I can't picture Boston without it. I sort of refuse to picture Boston without it,” Schiller said. “I just don’t want to go out without at least making my voice heard about this and seeing if we can't do something.”

At his most optimistic, Philbin describes the venue as “in a coma,” but he doesn’t think Schiller or Ikeda’s campaigns will make much of a difference. “I honestly don’t think we’ll see Great Scott again,” he said. “Realistically, as debts accrue, I anticipate the owner selling off the license to cover those debts. Maybe if the landlord has some sort of change of heart and says, ‘Oh, we were wrong, we’d love you to stay’ … but that’s not going to happen.”

According to the statement from Oak Hill’s attorney, the company did have a change of heart, but by then, Great Scott’s financial situation was too dire. “Mr. Strenk stated that even if he were allowed to open Great Scott’s doors tomorrow and operate at 100% capacity without any social distancing restrictions, it would take approximately six months to get the business off the ground due to complexities of scheduling live events,” the statement reads. “The Great Scott simply cannot maintain even its bare expenses over this time period without generating revenue, which is the sole reason Mr. Strenk made the hard decision to close the business.”

Nick Grieco, who plays in the Boston-based hardcore group Actor|Observer and founded the arts advocacy organization Artist Impact Brighton-Allston, said it’s a sign of the city changing and becoming wealthier.

“The real criminal here is rampant gentrification, unmitigated gentrification with no sign of the city doing anything to curb it at all,” Grieco said. “The market has escalated so severely that it’s beneficial for some nobody landlords to kick out one of the most important fixtures of the Boston creative cultural center? That is the city's fault, 100 percent.”

During interviews with WGBH News, Artists like Sadie Dupius of Speedy Ortiz and Jonah Furman, formerly of Krill, cited the expense of living in Boston as part of their reason for moving away.

“I can promise you that over the next six months, you will see musicians making posts about moving and saying, 'You know, I realize that this city really didn't have anything left for me when Great Scott closed,'” Grieco said. “So are we going to let it completely dissipate and just wait for all of the artists to move out of this city because it's too expensive and there's nothing here for them? Or are we going to just buckle down and put things into place that should have been here for decades?”

The closure of Great Scott has sparked concern about its sister venue down Harvard Avenue, O’Brien’s Pub, an 80-person club where many acts play before graduating to Great Scott. Activists say a fundraising effort is in the works to secure pay for both O’Brien’s employees and former Great Scott employees. Owner Frank Strenk rented the Great Scott building and owns the O’Brien’s building, so there is less concern about an abrupt closure of the small venue down the road, according to O’Brien’s booker Ryan Agate.

“Frank understands. He sees us and he thanks us for doing the good work,” Agate said. “He knows what these venues are providing to the community, and he supports it. Definitely. They’re not making him millions of dollars each year.”

Great Scott, on the other hand, doesn’t seem likely to come back, Agate said — at least not to its longtime Allston home. But, that doesn’t mean the community goes with it, Agate added.

“I don't think the spirit of Great Scott will go,” he said. “You're losing an icon, but the spirit's not going to go away. And people are going to find a way to carry that on.”

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include a statement from Oak Hill Properties, LLC. The company initially did not respond to requests for comment by the time of this article’s original publish date (May 3, 2020).

Correction: An earlier version of this piece incorrectly stated where Sadie Dupuis is from. She is from New York City.