Last call for Burke Bar

The historic Burke Bar shut its doors after New Year’s Eve, according to owner, Diane LaMay. Alexander Violo/Malone Telegram

BURKE — The Burke Bar, a longtime fixture of the Burke village, shut its doors at the end of 2020.

According to Diane LaMay, the bar’s owner, the last day the bar was open was New Year’s Eve, explaining it has been difficult to keep the business running with restrictions on live music and how late the establishment can remain open each evening.

The ongoing COVID-19 restrictions coupled with the three months the bar was forced to shut down early in 2020, due to wider state shutdown efforts, was too much of a financial burden, according to LaMay.

“I maxed out my credit cards trying to stay open,” LaMay said.

Even with the financial difficulties, LaMay said it was not an easy decision to close the bar’s doors.

“It’s a good little bar,” LaMay said, “It’s like a big family.”

LaMay said the bar, located on Depot Street, is officially named Leo’s Tavern, but regardless of the names it has had over the decades it has been open, the bar has always been referred to as the Burke Bar.

“No matter what the name is, it has always been the Burke Bar, there have been other names but people call it the Burke Bar,” LaMay said.

LaMay has been at the bar for about 24 years, purchasing it from her father.

A Facebook post on Leo’s Tavern page thanked customers for “24 years of entertainment, laughter, friendship and family.”

According to LaMay, it is because of her father, she ended up working at the bar.

“He called me up and asked if I would help out if he bought the bar, I thought he was joking, and the next thing you know, he bought it and was asking me if I was still going to help out,” LaMay said.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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