Blake's on Telegraph Closing After 71 Years

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Larry Blake's Restaurant and Bar has closed its doors to the public after 71 years at its 2367 Telegraph Avenue location, according to a statement released Friday by John Lineweaver of Diablo Holdings Ltd., the property's owner since 1984.

Partially a victim of present economy's climate, Blake's has also been affected by its shift 8 years ago in "focus from serving the finest pub food and beverages to an emphasis on the club and music scene," which might have cost them numerous loyal customers, according to the press release.

Lineweaver cited Blake's "inability to pay its bills and a default on its lease" as reasons it couldn't sustain its business, despite "nearly $350,000 in building improvements and a 30 percent rent reduction" in the press release.

Known to most Berkeley community members as Blake's on Telegraph, the business began its physical closing procedures on Friday. All of the tables and chairs inside the restaurant and bar were stacked up and moved out of the way of workers boarding up the restaurant and bar's store front windows. They began boarding up the windows at approximately 11:35 a.m. One of the workers said the property owner wanted to prevent "people breaking the glass."

One of Blake's employees who was working in the kitchen area Friday morning said Blake's owner, Harry J. Keally, was not available for comment as he was not in the store. The employee said he was "very busy," and could not respond to other questions.

Keally could not be reached for comment by phone.

William Terney, a homeless man who has spent most of his nights "hanging out" since April 2010 in front of and around the general vicinity of Blake's, said he is happy to see the store being boarded up.

"I'm glad it's closing," he said. "There would be a bunch of drunk idiots out here on the street. You always have problems with these people here at this bar, because people who drink usually have a tendency of not really being in the right state of mind - anybody who drinks is more violent. This place has been a problem."


Jessica Gillotte is the lead business reporter. Contact her at [email protected]

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