Thursday, April 19, 2012

The little bar on Lake Road in Avon Lake

Vintage photo of Ted's Place courtesy of Tony Tomanek
Every once in a while, this blog has to venture outside of Lorain city limits to be true to its name covering Lorain County Nostalgia. How about a little drive heading east on Lake Road into Avon Lake? There's plenty of nostalgia out there if you know where to look.

Shortly after you pass Lear Road, keep your eyes peeled for a small bar on the south side of the street called Close Quarters Pub. It used to be called Ted's Place, according to Tony Tomanek, the man whose parents owned and operated it. Tony sent me the photos above, which dates from the late 1960s or early 1970s, He also sent me some reminisces, which I'll share in a minute.
The history of the place dates back to the 1930s, when it was a stand called Mark's Place and was owned by Mark Horwedel, according to this Sun News article. As you can see from the signs in the vintage photo below, Horwedel advertised ice cream, sandwiches, hot dogs and coffee at his stand which was located at Stop 44.

Photo courtesy of Tony Tomanek
Here's a photograph of the place from 1933. The photo shows Mark Horwedel's truck in front of his stand. 
Photo courtesy of Tony Tomanek and the Sun News
Note the Crystal Rock beer sign leaning on the side of the building. According to this article from the Avon Lake Press by Bryan Wroten, the place also sold a lot of beer.
Apparently, the place grew several times over the years. Tony tells about the time that his grandfather "added on" to the building after a fire. "Since it resides in a non-business section of town, the town fathers wouldn't permit any additions," he said.  So his grandfather, all of his uncles and his dad, along with some buddies, built a larger building in Avon, and then lowered it onto the existing building with a crane under cover of darkness.
The Sun News article also has a story about how the building "grew" on another occasion.
Here's another great photo of the inside of the building, circa 1956.
Photo courtesy of Tony Tomanek
Looking around the photo, there's some interesting local brands visible, including Num Num pretzels and Cotton Club beverages.
I tried to do some research at the Avon Lake Library, although there aren't very many vintage city directories to thumb through. The business kept the name Ted's Place for a little while after the Tomanek family was no longer involved. Then for a few years from around 1980 to 1985 or so it was the Aftermath Pub. Then it became Close Quarters Pub.
I drive by Close Quarters whenever I feel like taking the scenic route home on US 6 from work. The owner of the company I work for used to hang out there when he lived in a nearby housing development. 
I've never actually been in the place; I always felt that any business that small must have their own loyal locals that call it home, so it wouldn't be right to muscle in on their fun.

My shot of Close Quarters Pub from earlier this week
Special thanks to Tony for sharing his photos and reminisces!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dan,

I was just talking to a friend of mine who is a former Avon Laker. He told me that The Close Quarters Pub is one of the smallest bars in the world. Apparently it's number 3 according to this link.

http://www.budgettravel.com/feature/10-smallest-bars-in-the-world,7168/

Chuck - Jackson, MI

Rolap said...

Thanks for the pix. My father owned it when it was known as Aftermath Pub. He was a retired math teacher at Berea High School and enjoyed his vacations in England (that's the reason he chose to call it a pub).

Anonymous said...

I remember having to go into the house behind it and into the basement for the bathroom