When Larry Shea, owner of Tom & Marty’s bar on State Street, awoke Wednesday afternoon to a closure notice from the Broome County Health Department on his bar’s front door, he was shocked in a way he could only describe as having a “heart attack.” Fortunately for Shea and his brother Michael, who co-owns the bar, the notice was simply the result of a delayed food permit payment and only lasted about two hours.
Though he was concerned at first, Shea had a sense of humor about the short-lived closure.
“Got officially shut down for a few hours today because I owed the government $200 for my permit renewal. Thought I could run a tab. Oops,” Shea tweeted Wednesday afternoon.
After a photograph of the closure notice circulated on Facebook and Twitter Wednesday, several accompanied with the hashtags “#SaveLarry” and “#RIP,” the bar owner took to the social networks to reassure worried patrons that the bar was back open for business.
“I go on Twitter and Facebook and shit just blew up,” Shea said. “It was remarkable the response I got from everybody, it was actually kind of touching.”
Tom & Marty’s regulars may have overreacted to the two-hour closing, but many showed sincere concern for the bar’s well-being.
“Tom & Marty’s is the only bar in Binghamton that truly appreciates what a great time ’90s R&B is,” said Lauren D’Angelo, a junior majoring in environmental studies. “We would probably have to pool the efforts of BU students into reintroducing ‘No Diggity’ to the mainstream. That would be my primary concern.”
Matt Gochan, a first-year graduate student studying physics, said he was devastated when he thought the bar had met its end.
“I was more heartbroken when Tom & Marty’s closed than when the world was apparently ending,” Gochan said.
To prevent future mishaps, Shea requested that his Twitter followers help remind him to pay for his food permit by the Jan. 31 deadline.
“Next January 31st, I want everyone out there to tweet me the following message: ‘LARRY, DON’T FORGET TO RENEW YOUR FOOD PERMIT YOU MORON!!!’” Shea tweeted.
As the hysteria surrounding the brief closure blows over and the weekend begins, Shea assured students that Tom & Marty’s is going to be around for the long haul.
“In response to everybody transferring and contemplating suicide, don’t worry; we’re not going anywhere,” Shea said. “You’re stuck with me and I’m stuck with you, at least until you graduate or flunk out.”
Correction: Feb. 21, 2013
An earlier version of this article misstated the agency that was responsible for shutting down the bar. It is the Broome County Health Department, not the New York State Health Department.