I’ve been living in the same town for about 10 years now, and visiting it for much longer. Ever since I started dating my wife, which was approximately 13 years ago, I joined her familys tradition of going to Canterbury Ales in Huntington NY for birthdays and anniversaries. We also went there for regular occasions such as being hungry or thirsty, and most times it was to have a drink with friends and enjoy great atmosphere and good company. It was our Cheers, our McAnally’s, our Bronze. Unfortunately, I say this in the past tense for a reason.
I just received an email from Billy, the owner of Canterbury Ales, for being part of their loyalty program. I read it, and felt like a ten ton hammer bashed me in the chest. The email is shown below, unedited, and in its entirety.
Dear Canterbury Customers,
This is a hurtful letter to write but you deserve, at least, a brief explanation. As of today, August 26th, Canterbury Ales has shut its doors. While it’s a bit too personal to go into detail, I will say that the past few years due to the economic slowdown and a multitude of other factors, it was time to stop.
Canterbury Ales, has become a landmark, reached a benchmark that not too many establishments do; 36 1/2 years! We’ve seen births, first dates, engagements, marriages, we’ve celebrated anniversaries. We’ve mourned or celebrated loved ones we’ve lost. Canterbury’s was a haven for the thirsty, the hungry, the lonely, the social and just countless friends.
I thank you all for the support you have given Canterbury’s over the years, most of them good ones. I apologize for not personally saying goodbye and saying thank you to each and every one of you.
This was my life. I grew up here, my family grew up here… many of YOU did too. From my days as a “doorman” to bartending, managing and 28 years of ownership, my blood, sweat and tears went into Canterbury’s. I owe such a debt of gratitude to family of Canterbury employees, friends, customers and vendors.
This was not how I expected it to end… I never expected it to end.
For those I’ve hurt or upset my apologies… But this is a very personal, hurtful and upsetting time. Unfortunately I was not able to endure.
I wish you all well, and once again, thank you for the years of support.
I’m almost at a complete loss for words. I can’t begin to fully describe how this feels, because the true loss hasn’t even set in yet. Devastated is the only word that comes close. I actually got very choked up reading the letter, and can’t picture life in this town without being able to go there for a drink with a friend, or for their delicious food, or for their awesome staff. This was the only true “pub” on Long Island, in my opinion. It was an older looking place, with memories and lives worn into the dark wood. The people there got to know each other, and it was a very small town kind of feel for such a populated area. The waitresses AND the owner all knew my wife, her mother, and I on sight, and knew our children. For me personally, there have been countless joys and sorrows spoken about there. I’ve gone there to celebrate new life, and celebrate to honor those who’ve passed on. I actually felt, in a way, like it was “my” pub.
I’d like to end this off by saying thank you. Thank you, Billy, for such an awesome place. Thank you and your staff throughout the years for the incredible atmosphere, brew, food, kindness, caring, and memories. You cannot be replaced, and you’ll never be forgotten so long as I draw breath.