Water issues force historic governor's tavern to close - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Water issues force historic governor's tavern to close

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(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)
EAST HAMPTON, CT (WFSB) -

The Governor’s Tavern in East Hampton is preparing to serve its last drinks, according to its owner.

The business set up by the family of former Gov. William O’Neill has prepared a two day celebration that starts Thursday at noon until 1 a.m. and resumes again on Friday at noon until 2 a.m. The bar is over 100 years old.

The tavern’s owner, Elizabeth Bentley, said the business was in talks with the landlord to resolve an ongoing well water problem, but the efforts failed. She said the business cannot operate under its current circumstances.

Bentley said there is pending legal action.

Landlord Francis D'Mello maintains that the bar is not closing. He said the current tenant is vacating on eviction processes.

Eyewitness News is reaching out to D'Mello's attorney for more information.

"Water is an issue there, we are trying to fix it. We spend a lot of money on it," said D'Mello, adding that someone is interested in running the business and would like to keep it The Governor's Tavern.

“We would like to thank our wonderful staff, our vendors and our loyal customers for all of their support during this ordeal,” the tavern said in an online post.

The bar will be offering food and drink specials as part of its last hurrah.

“We brought this beautiful, historic building back to life and for that we are very proud,” the post continued. “We are very thankful to everyone to who helped us accomplish our dream. We hope to all be together again in another location someday, until then, we hope to see you at our farewell celebration.”

Most upset about the closing is Nikki O'Neill, the former governor's wife.

The former governor passed away seven years ago, but his wife has kept just about everything.

"We all feel bad but what are you going to do. That's the way it goes, I guess. I just feel bad," Nikki O'Neill said.

She moved to Connecticut from Massachusetts and didn't know anyone when she came to East Hampton, but she said The Tavern changed that.

After returning from air combat in the Korean War, O'Neill ran the family business in the 1950s.

He died in East Hampton in 2007 at the age of 77.

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