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Last call at Carney’s

Tavern to close doors after three decades in Ballston

Carney’s Tavern is set to close on Saturday, Oct. 20, with an open house celebration and live entertainment. The closing is to come on the community landmark’s 30th anniversary.

Carney’s Tavern is set to close on Saturday, Oct. 20, with an open house celebration and live entertainment. The closing is to come on the community landmark’s 30th anniversary. Photo by John McIntyre.

— The maintenance needed to keep a historic building going is an obstacle to finding another owner. Southworth and Pete Bardunias, president and CEO of the Chamber of Southern Saratoga County, have chatted about getting the message out about the importance of historic buildings and Southworth said their hope is to form a network of assistance and support for people who are interested in revitalizing historic buildings throughout the county.

“It concerns me that small business owners who choose to operate in venerable or historic buildings often find themselves squeezed by ever-stricter environmental regulations, preservation rules and other such impediments to profitability,” said Bardunias. “It’s simply getting harder to make a profit and if we don’t find innovative and practical ways to support them we will likely lose more of these type of businesses, which will damage the character of our communities.”

Carney said the business has long centered on folklore, including how it was at one time a hotel and bar equipped with a “swear box” aiming to curb foul-mouthed patrons.

“If you said any kind of off-color remark you had to put a quarter in the swear box. The money was given to Our Lady of Grace Church,” said Carney.

As to what is next for Carney’s Tavern, Carney said she’s just going to enjoy the time between now and closing day. After that, she’ll start to figure out just what the fate of the building will be. She said her children, while having worked at the tavern, have not expressed any interest in taking it on themselves.

“I’ll find some use to keep it open. … We’ll work hard to find somebody that will fit in here and maintain it and be part of the local community,” Carney said.

When asked what she’ll miss the most, Carney said her devoted staff, especially Kathy Smith who has been with the establishment since day one.

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