Some still remember the day when a man named Sam opened a bar in the South End of Springfield. It was his dream and he shared it selflessly with all. It was the late 1900s, and they were simpler times. Hundreds of people would gather there to watch the games, meet and make friends and banter over cold libation.
No one really knows why Sam sold Sam’s. Some say it was to travel the world, and others say it was to make pizza. But just around the turn of the century, after falling into disrepair, on December 16th, 2003, the once proud watering hole closed. It was a very dark day.
Left without their favorite place to meet, Sam’s regulars scattered aimlessly all over the Valley. Only memories remained of the days long past. Some would awkwardly move on to other pubs and taverns, while others still would lose touch all together. But, the sound of laughter and the clanking of mugs could still be heard echoing throughout the streets and alleys of the South End.
Determined, a few original patrons of that original South End saloon would come together. With mops, brushes, hammers (and a little cash-olla), they would rebuild “their place” into something that would honor the heritage of an area landmark with the promise of memories yet to be made, and on December 16th, 2004, exactly 365 days after that cold winter night one year prior, they opened once again. They named it Samuel’s Tavern…and they were pleased.
As years past, that small bar and grill had grown beyond anyone’s expectations. It quickly turned into something far more than the rickety old structure could hold. People would park as far as a half mile away, braving the elements and unsightly neighborhood that lay just outside it’s door. All that, just to join their friends for the coldest beer in the free world. Eventually, no choice was left but to move the spirit of Samuels to another venue… a fine venue… The Basketball Hall of Fame.
Today there’s a whole new generation that frequents Samuel’s, many of which never knew the charm and warmth of the original dive bar. However, they feel it somehow. Some of us, though, remember well. We did not forget. No one forgets. And an important lesson has been learned; a lesson that will transcend time and be past down to future generations. That lesson is this:
Samuel’s is not a place on a map. Samuel’s is not an address or storefront or sign that hangs above a door. It is a spirit. In fact, any place on earth where two patrons of the greatest bar on earth shall meet, laugh, drink and be merry… that place… that wonderful place shall be Samuel’s.