Family-owned Prohibition-era bar closes after 102 years

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MANVILLE -

A Prohibition-era bar open for over a century has closed its doors in Somerset County.

Chester House Bar opened on the corner of Main and Brooks Boulevard in Manville in 1917 as a speakeasy.

Tommy Trojanowski took over running the bar in 1980.

“This is all originally from when my grandfather put this here. Same floor, same ceiling, same walls,” he says.

But the Chester House served its final beer Friday and closed its doors after 102 years. Trojanowski says that is he nearing 70 years old and does not wish to run the business any longer.

Items from the bar were sold at auction Monday. Former customers say that the bar meant a lot to them, and they wanted to own a piece of history.

“It was a rite of passage. You hit 21, then you go see Tommy [Trojanowski.] I learned how to order my first shot and beer from him,” says Manville resident Greg Siuta.

Trojanowski says that it will be hard to let go.

“The best memories I have here are the customers,” he says.

A convenience store and gas station will soon open in the bar’s place.

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