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Bar Giveaway Alert: This Massachusetts Speakeasy Could Be Yours

Bar Giveaway Alert! Anytime a bar closes, an angel loses its wings. So when Bar 25 in Ayer closed its doors May 31, people anticipated the worst. But good news! There were no sad wave goodbyes, no dwindling lights to an empty stage. Instead, there was a buzz of excitement and anticipation. Why? Because Reza Rahmani, the owner, wasn’t just closing shop. He was hitting the pause button on Bar 25 to do something extraordinary. Rahmani decided to give away the bar, its stock, and even some of its staff to a lucky new owner through a unique contest. It’s a "chance of a lifetime," as Rahmani put it to MassLive. Check out their instagram here: Just two weeks before the closure, Rahmani, in collaboration with Phantom Gourmet, announced this innovative bar giveaway. The goal was to find a deserving individual who dreamed of owning a bar but lacked the resources to make it happen. Participants were asked to submit a three-page proposal outlining their vision for a new bar and menu concept. The idea was to breathe new life into the Main Street location, possibly moving away from the 1920s speakeasy theme of Bar 25. The contest quickly gained traction. By the May 31 deadline, around 30 proposals had been received. Over the next few weeks, these proposals will be reviewed by a three-person panel. In late June, the winner will be announced at Bar 25’s sister location in Newburyport. Rahmani has been actively engaging the public throughout the contest, with regular updates and teasers on Bar 25’s Facebook page. Bar Giveaway: What Are They Looking For? He’s looking for someone with a unique mix of creativity and energy. As he said in the contest announcement, “This community definitely demands creativity. Someone who can balance a great menu with a vibrant atmosphere will thrive.” The winner of this contest won't just inherit a bar. They'll be stepping into a 1920s-themed speakeasy in the heart of Ayer, complete with a stocked bar and a team ready to support them. Rahmani isn’t looking to leave the new owner high and dry. He’s committed to helping the winner succeed, offering his expertise and ensuring a smooth transition. Rahmani’s decision to give away Bar 25 wasn’t driven by financial struggles. The bar, since its opening in 2018, had enjoyed a steady stream of patrons. Instead, Rahmani wanted to focus on his other ventures: Bar 25 in Newburyport and Sin·A·Loa Tacos and Tequila in Salisbury. He saw an opportunity to pass on the torch to someone who could bring something fresh and exciting to Ayer. Initially, Rahmani had considered selling the bar. However, after meeting with potential buyers, he was disappointed to find that they wanted to turn the unique speakeasy into just another dive bar. “I didn’t want a dive bar in there,” Rahmani said of the bar giveaway. “Ayer has enough of those. It needed something different.” Rahmani’s journey in the food and beverage industry is rooted in his family’s history. Originally from Iran, his family owned a Persian restaurant in Boston’s Back Bay and an ice cream shop in Harvard Square. Rahmani’s first foray into the industry was a sandwich shop in Boston. Although he briefly left the industry to work at Honeywell Aerospace, he soon realized that his passion lay in running restaurants. In 2009, Rahmani opened his first restaurant, Moti, in Amherst, which he managed until its lease expired in 2014. In 2018, he launched Bar 25 in Ayer, which was a hit with its 1920s speakeasy vibe. The success of this venture led to the opening of a second Bar 25 in Newburyport in 2021 and Sin·A·Loa Tacos and Tequila in Salisbury in 2023. While Rahmani is excited about his new ventures, he will always have a soft spot for Bar 25 in Ayer. It was the stepping stone that led to his current success. As he hands over the reins, he hopes the new owner will bring their own unique flair and make a lasting impact in Ayer. “Let’s give it to someone who has a good head on their shoulders,” Rahmani said. And with that, a new chapter begins!