I'm not going to dive into any legal issues or who's at fault. And I'm definitely not going to rebuttal or embellish on any of the theories given in the comments section of the Post-Standard article because for lack of a better expression, they're mostly glorified tripe. When you get down to it, it's a good move for the city and I think Ray Clark knows that. Salina Street needs as much help as it can get and the theater expansion should eventually help Syracuse get some legitimate shows and productions (increasing tourism, hotels, and even boosting nearby restaurants).
But, the bottom line is, one of America's top beer bars is closing. It's a bittersweet week for local beer and roast beef lovers, anyone who has enjoyed sitting at a table outside on the corner of Jefferson and Clinton while people watching, and anyone who preferred having a few beers on a weekend evening and socializing without having awful dance music crammed into their ears. Being that the news was so sudden and essentially blindsided everyone, including its owner and staff, the news and closing effects everyone just as equally whether you have been going there for 18 years or just 18 days. And without sounding too overly dramatic, the time left of its remaining days isn't long enough to enjoy it and let go at the same time.
I'd rather not turn this into a gossipy post, but the details I know are: The Landmark offered a spot somewhere in the building but it was turned down (I have a feeling it was an awful location or set-up), looking at the equipment up for auction is quite depressing, Clark's has used a secret recipe for their red onions on their sandwiches this whole time (I knew it!), and one of my friends asked Mr. Clark this week whether or not he'd be reopening anytime and he looked around at the crowd and replied "we might have to.".
So, although there are absolutely no plans for relocation at this exact moment, allow me to totally get ahead of myself, daydream for a bit, and make three suggestions for possible locations...
1) Hanover Square
I mention Hanover Square not because I'm biased, live there, and want to pig out on roast beef sandwiches several times a week, but because I think it's an area that has almost as much lunchtime traffic, excellent views and architecture, has J Ryan's and Bull & Bear just footsteps away, and it contains a couple of available, low-key, and yet easily visible locations close to the center of the city that could easily be turned into a quaint beer bar (the former Quigley's comes to mind).
2) South Salina Street near Wiseguys
If the grand-scheme here is to redevelop or at least heighten the activity of Salina street by 2012, which seems to be next in line now that the O'brien & Gere Building is complete and with the Dey Brothers project, Centro bus hub relocation, and the Landmark Theater renovation looming on-deck, what better way to usher in all of this redevelopment than with one of Syracuse's most well-known bars taking a bold step and leading the charge? It'd be more of a risky move than Hanover (at least in the eyes of out-of-towners because many people seem to be scared of Salina Street through Downtown at night for no legitimate or substantial reason, other than for petty excuses that I'd rather not dive into on this blog). Salina may not ever come back from its glory days several decades ago, but we can at least pump some new blood and life into it and do it at our own steady pace. A location here would definitely trickle out some of the foot traffic from Amrory Square (which the more I think about, tends to function like its inside of a small bubble).
3) The former Weber's location on Danforth St in the Northside
A bit of a trek from their soon-to-be former location on Jefferson St, but of anywhere outside of Downtown, this may make the most sense. A historic bar and front room, enough room in the back for remodeling and turning into a separated drinking and lounging section (not unlike the current Clark's setup), located in a place that was once known for its own sandwiches (reubens), and smack-dab in the heart of the city's once ethnically populated German neighborhood and brewery district.
And I list the former Weber's location with some hesitation, because my brother and I NEED to buy this place and reopen it as a German restaurant!
Just some random thoughts as we progress through the week. I'll be updating over the next couple of days. I also have some other reviews of restaurants just about ready to go and should be up by next week.