PLATTSBURGH — A “For Sale” sign adorned Peabody’s in downtown Plattsburgh City for several months before the deserted pub caught the eyes of Arizona residents Amos and Daria Owen.
“We knew we wanted to get back to the northeast at some point,” Amos, who grew up in parts of Vermont and Massachusetts, told the Press-Republican.
“As we were just casually browsing, we came across the Peabody’s building for sale and we — it was just an opportunity that wasn’t going to come around too many times in our lives,” he continued.
“That’s what honed us in on Plattsburgh.”
Robert Wallet opened the Clinton Street pub in 1975.
He wanted the double-decker venue, with its upstairs dancefloor equipped with a second bar, to have an English name. He settled on the surname Peabody, which, according to Ancestry.com, could mean “showy dresser,” like a peacock.
“That’s what I went with.”
Asked if he ever imagined the downtown bar would become the staple that it had, Wallet said, “You always hope that.”
Peabody’s shut down about two years ago, after nearly 45 years in business, following a change in ownership from a few years prior.
“It was heartbreaking to see it close,” Wallet said.
‘FELL IN LOVE’
Amos, who was working in Alaska last June, visited at first on his own, noting that Daria, out in Arizona, was on the COVID-19 “naughty list” and unable to travel.
“I loved the area,” he said, “but it was tough to make a decision for the both of us when it was just me.”
The pair eventually trekked the 2,500-plus miles from Prescott, Ariz. and it was love at first sight for Daria.
“I fell in love with Plattsburgh the moment I got here,” she said. “I thought, ‘What an amazing place?’”
While the Owen duo commented on the region’s beauty, they said the people were “friendlier than anywhere we’ve been.”
“We really, really fell in love with this place — and not just for Peabody’s,” Daria said.
PLANS TO REOPEN
Amos and Daria, with plans to reopen the English-style pub, moved to upstate New York last fall, traveling cross country with more than just a moving truck.
“We did it with four dogs, four cats, a hedgehog and a lizard,” Daria said before laughing and adding, “they all did great.”
Asked what he liked about the bar itself, situated within an 1895 building, Amos said “it just feels like that comfortable, downtown pub where people like to go just to hangout.”
“Obviously it needed a little TLC,” Daria, who works as a remote IT director for universities out west, added. “Amos is hitting it, kind of, hot and heavy and then I do what I can, when I can.”
Amos updated the lighting, changed the ceiling and performed some rewiring.
“We have some more projects to do with the older appliances and things,” he said. “The last piece is going to be the liquor license and that can take a few months.”
The Owen couple hoped to celebrate a reopening in late summer 2021.
Upon moving to Plattsburgh, Daria said they learned “how nostalgic and sentimental people were over Peabody’s, from old to young.”
“Everywhere we went, people were like, ‘Oh, Peabody’s was where I went after I graduated college,’ or, ‘That’s where we went to celebrate everything,’” she said. “Because we learned how sentimental people were over it, we really wanted to honor the memories and traditions that made Peabody’s so special for everybody.
“So even though we’re doing the maintenance and things of that nature, the essence of Peabody’s — our goal is to keep it similar.”
That includes keeping its English surname, serving up pub-style eats and bringing back popular staples, like Chug-a-Mug Mondays.
The pair, who enjoyed community events in Prescott, Ariz. and were members of the local theater group there, hoped to offer the upstairs space to various community clubs “as a way to give back.”
They also planned to host karaoke, open mic nights and local bands.
“The things that make bars interactive and fun,” Daria said.
Wallet said he was happy to sell them Peabody’s.
“They have exciting ideas for the business,” he said. “I wish them the best and am excited to see the lights on again.”
As far as them keeping the essence of the former pub, Wallet said, “I was thrilled.”
“The name was already out there,” he added. “You don’t have to go through the whole, ‘Who are you? What are you?’ — I think it’s great that they kept the name.”
Amos and Daria admitted the venture was “a bit of an accident.”
“A year ago — there was no way on earth,” Daria said. “If someone had told us then that were were going to be living in northern New York owning a bar, I would have been like, ‘OK. Whatever.’
“We wanted to come back to the northeast at some point, but we had, like, a five-year plan, not an immediate plan,” she continued. “So we’re surprised, but pleasantly surprised.”
The new Peabody’s website, peabodyspub.com, will launch soon with updates.
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