PLATTSBURGH — Amos and Daria Owen did not know what they were getting into when they bought Peabody's.
The English pub in downtown Plattsburgh City dates back to 1975, but has sat lifeless on Clinton Street since previous ownership dried up the watering hole a couple years ago.
Blissfully unaware of its place not just in the heart of the city's downtown, but in the hearts of its residents, the Owens purchased the pub, moving them out of Arizona and into northern New York.
"When we bought it, we didn't know it was a staple; we just didn't know," Daria said. "It wasn't until we got here that we realized, 'Oh, Peabody's. We can't just make this our own. We have to make this for the community.'"
BACK TO LIFE
The couple has since the spring worked to revive the fallen bar, posting to social media every step of the way, and will celebrate a soft opening Saturday, Nov. 20.
Some wiring work, an operational heating and cooling system, fresh paint and new furnishings are just some of the updates, which Amos hoped would class the place up a notch.
"You know when you're in a dive (bar)," he said. "There are some around here and they have a charm, but that's not the charm that we were going for. That's the charm that we're trying to get away from, because, from what we've heard around town, it was beyond 'charming dive' toward the end.
"Now it's warm, it's dry, it's clean. It feels like somewhere that you want to be instead of somewhere where you just, kind of, exist."
One of the best compliments the pair has received from visiting friends is, "It doesn't smell like pee and Yuengling," Amos said before laughing and adding, "I think we've done our job."
KEEP THE NOSTALGIA
When the pair first moved to the North Country, Daria said people shared Peabody's stories with them everywhere they went, like how they went there as a college student, celebrated birthdays or shared a first kiss with their now spouse there.
That in mind, they didn't want to change too much about the place.
Former regulars will recognize the old hanging sign outside the pub door, one of only two left in downtown Plattsburgh since code no longer allows for such signage. The bar's exposed brick and logo — a bowler hat, glasses and an umbrella — printed along the bathroom hallway and illuminated by a green light bulb, are still in place.
The Owens hope to return Peabody's to its role as a popular lunch spot by day and saloon by night, so they will revive Chug-A-Mug Mondays starting Monday, Nov. 30 and serve lunch from a menu of burgers, sandwiches and salads Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Regulars will also notice graffiti no longer lines the walls, local artwork replaced old beer signs, some new tables and a fresh bar top.
"Even though we've updated it some, hopefully the changes are positive," Daria said. "I wanted to make sure people who have those stories, like that special moment when they met their wife or their husband or whoever, that they have that moment of nostalgia when they come in."
While the downstairs is ready to go, the upstairs still needs some work.
That space has it own bar, a DJ booth and a raised floor that Amos and Daria think perfect for live bands, open mic nights, comedians or theatre troupes.
But the pair said its currently a construction zone.
"The earliest it could open is springtime, but likely by summer," Amos said.
CHECKING LIST TWICE
Peabody's will celebrate a soft opening Saturday, Nov. 20.
It will be closed Monday, Nov. 22 and celebrate its grand opening on Tuesday, Nov. 23, in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.
The Owens are beginning with a soft opening, because they have encountered shipping delays that mean their bar isn't stocked to their liking just yet.
"It's easier to keep the crowd smaller and see if you have any holes or any oversights so that when you actually open, you can hit the ground running," Amos said. "We're just trying to get though all of the last touches.
"I'm like Santa Claus. I've got my list and I'm checking it twice to find out how much I've forgotten to do."
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