Fond farewells, and the trouble of leasing for business

Clark's Ale House, which has been a local favorite since the mid-1990s, is closing on Saturday.

Let's first talk about Clark's. It's a small, two-level pub with primarily ales on tap. They're locally famous for their roast beef sandwiches, and for a while, that's all that was it for the menu. Just shaved beef, and if you wanted, onions and cheddar. Always on a roll, always with a shot of jus.

The only noise at Clark's is talking – no loud music, no TVs, just people getting together and doing what people do best: talking about whatever they talk about.

All About Beer named it one of the 125 places to have a beer before you die. In the world. Yeah. It's that kind of place.

In it's history, Clark's typically has done steady business, but you could pretty much count on not fighting a crowd to get a drink or a sandwich. This week, it's crazy; all that steady business is coming back for a final round.

Clark's has almost two years left on its lease, but announced to its employees last Friday it would be closing. It's not for lack of money (though that's one explanation for them not moving right away), and certainly not for lack of customers.

It's that the Landmark Theatre – a Syracuse institution since the 1920s (it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in the '70s) – owns the building and is expanding so that it can bring in deep-stage shows (as in shows that require a large set, like "The Lion King").

And you can't blame the Landmark for that, can you? It's really hard to hold a grudge against a live performance venue with a rich history. And kudos to Clark's for not spending two years fighting them, for recognizing that another Syracuse institution needs the space to survive.

I'm a little miffed that there's been nothing to this point on the Landmark's Twitter account, since that seems the logical place to host a discussion. [Maybe that's one reason they need the expansion.]

If anybody's looking for a good real estate investment downtown, try buying the former Stoop building in Armory Square and inviting Clark's to re-open there. Good things would come of that.