By Connor Beach
The owners of Gunther’s Tap Room announced that they plan to reopen for business Thursday, Sept. 6, more than a year after a fire ripped through the iconic Northport Village watering hole.
“It’s been a long time coming, and it feels amazing to get it open again,” Brad Vassallo, who co-owns Gunther’s with Eddie McGrath, said.
Gunther’s has been closed since May 23, 2017 when an early morning fire, which investigators believe originated in a faulty electrical box inside the bar, caused significant damage to the 81 Main St. building in the heart of Northport Village.
McGrath and Vassallo purchased Gunther’s in May 2016 after the bar’s previous owner Pete Gunther passed away.
The building was originally built in 1889 and served as The Commercial Hotel. Gunther’s later opened in 1962 and became a frequent stop of Beat Generation writer Jack Kerouac through the late ’50s and early ’60s.
Despite the extensive work required to bring Gunther’s back into working order, Vassallo said the bar “looks very similar… almost exactly as it was” before the fire.
“That was the whole plan,” Vassallo said. “To bring it back to the way it was with the brown and orange walls.”
Vassallo said they were able to salvage the bar top after the fire, which is one of a few items to survive the fire that help the new Gunther’s “keep the same type of feel.”
The loss of Gunther’s “left a little hole” in the tight-knit Northport community, Vassallo said, and many former regulars and employees donated time, money and materials to help rebuild it.
“There are so many people who have stepped up to help get us to this point, and I want to thank all those people,” Vassallo said.