End of the Old Spot

Turning my attention back to Salem, one of the first things I noticed after a week away, sadly, was the shuttered Old Spot, a nice English pub located on a very prominent corner in Salem, diagonally across from the Hawthorne Hotel on Essex Street. I knew it was closing but was sorry to see it closed. It was a fine place, very dependable: you could take your grandmother there, a hipster student, or a Harvard historian ( I have, all three). There was only one television, and it wasn’t too big. It wasn’t an institution but definitely a successful business, operating for 8 years or so. So why did the Old Spot close? Apparently its owners were unable to renew their lease with their landlord, perhaps because the latter had expanded his property (upwards) in the past few years to incorporate several condominiums whose purchasers were not pleased with the pub downstairs. I don’t really know; that’s the word on the street. If that’s the case, it’s a shame, as this building has been commercial from its inception: the residences and residents are the latecomers. Salem is a dynamic little city, and anyone buying downtown—especially on this busy corner, should be ready and willing to embrace (or at least accept) a little action.

Old Spot Night

Old Spot 003

Old Spot 1970s

Night and Day for the Old Spot: on one of its last open nights in late July and yesterday, closed. The building in the 1970s, from its MACRIS listing: it was built c. 1870 by J.B. Theriault for a grocery store, and always seems to have been utilized in a commercial capacity.

2 responses to “End of the Old Spot

  • John Matthew Barlow

    Oy vey. This has long been a bone of contention for me, yuppies moving into a city and then complaining about the noise and activity of the city. True story: An old factory in the Saint-Henri district of Montréal was gentrified and condofied about a decade ago. This building is hard up against the Canadian National Railways line, allegedly the busiest tracks in North America, as freight trains and VIARail passenger trains make use of them. So. The yuppies in the condos complained. They went to the CNR and demanded that the railway STOP RUNNING TRAINS ON THESE TRACKS ENTIRELY! I’m not kidding, I lived in Saint-Henri at the time and got the petition in the mail (the yuppies wouldn’t come door-to-door on my block, it was still ungentrified, though they did go door-to-door on the gentrfied block one over). The CNR didn’t respond, though I imagine this petition led to a lot laughter at headquarters downtown.

    But, really, if you want peace and tranquility, go live in the country!

  • daseger

    I’m speechless–this is one of the most extreme cases of nimbyism that I have ever heard of!

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