|VVN/Steve Ayers: |
A Camp Verde institution, and the townís longest continuously running business, Bolerís Bar closed its doors for good on Wednesday. A victim of the current recession, it is one of several Main Street businesses to close over the last year.
|VVN/Steve Ayers: |
Bolerís Bar originally opened as a cafe. It became a bar after the repeal of Prohibition. Its eclectic interior design, like its reputation, has evolved over the years, for the most part reflecting the taste of its long-time owner, Otto Boler.
CAMP VERDE - It's a sign of the tough times when a bar is forced to close down. It's even worse when the bar in question is the community's oldest continuously operating business.
Boler's Bar, an institution so old few in Camp Verde can remember a time when its red board and batten facade wasn't part of Main Street, closed its doors Wednesday evening.
"It's sad. Its really, really sad," said Sandy O'Malley, who was a bartender for longtime proprietor Bill Boler starting back in the 1970s. Sandy was one of the many locals, and even some out-of-towners, who showed up Wednesday evening to have a cold drink and say goodbye.
Boler's Bar began as the Camp Verde Cafe, which obtained a liquor license on Jan. 18, 1934, one month after Congress ratified the 21st Amendment, repealing Prohibition.
Over the years, in spite of having at least a half dozen owners, Boler's has managed to carry on through good times and bad.
According to owner Robert Boe, (who bought the business 11 years ago from Shirley and Arkie Wallace, who bought it from Bill Boler, who got it from his dad, Otto), he was forced to close the bar because of a lack of business, an untenable mortgage and new drunk driving laws.
"I've been putting money into it for the last two years. It's time to do something else," said Boe.
What exactly that something else will be, Boe says he has yet to decided.
"I'm looking at some options," he said.
Whatever option he chooses, however, will not save the landmark bar. It is a situation that left many with only one option, to reminisce of good times had.
"I started coming here when I was 3 years old. Bill Boler owned it then. My parents would come and dance, and I got to hang out, which was fine with me. I live in Chino Valley, and when I got the call, I just had to come over," said Kim Horne.
"It made me cry when I heard," said Tina Davis. "I met my husband here, and Boe, well he's the world's nicest guy and like family to me and everyone else who came by."
Cathy Davis, who tends bar part time, said that as sad as it was for the patrons, it is even tougher for the handful of girls who work there.
"I really feel for them. I'm lucky because I don't have to depend on my job here. But the rest of the girls, well, it's going to be hard."