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A history of the Tap Room

Buzzings from BeeLines

December 28, 2011
By Marybelle Beigh, Current Westfield Historian
A couple of years ago, someone asked me to please write a history of the Tap Room when I had a chance, so I started asking various folks who have lived in Westfield since the early 1900’s. Some comments included, “It seems like it has always been there”… “It’s been there forever”… “I cannot remember when the Tap Room wasn’t at 43 East Main Street ... right next to Tony’s Olympian ice cream parlor, soda fountain and lunch room at number 41.”

“So, who owns the Tap Room now?” I asked a friend, after someone had mentioned that a long-time owner had been Lawrence “Larry” Lamb. In an email reply from Kathleen (Baideme) and Don Killmeyer, the son of a former owner of the Tap Room, several former owners were named. “The Killmeyers and a partner from Butler by the name of Greene bought the Tap Room from Hazel Washburn. Greene only stayed for about six months. Herb Killmeyer, Sr., owned it from 1947-1951. They sold it to Larry Lamb.”

In the July 22, 1981 Westfield Republican, “Tap Room owner reflects on last 30 years,” an interview by Karen Meck with Lawrence Lamb leads off with “It looks like a scene from ‘Casablanca.’” She goes on to say that Lamb had the business since 1934, but since the rest of the article says 30 years, that would suggest a date of 1952 for Lamb’s initial ownership, which is confirmed by the email noted above. The 1981 article also states, “He is selling the business to two associates who have worked for him for many years, Betty Eppinger and Dave Grien.”

In the obituary for Lawrence E. Lamb, who died June 13, 1993, we read, “Prior to retirement in August 1981, he was proprietor of Lamb’s Tap Room and Grill in Westfield for 29 years. He had also been proprietor of Hawkins Restaurant from 1929 to 1939 and the Brass-Rail from 1939 to 1952.” These two other taverns had also been mentioned in the 1981 story, which also had included Lamb’s comment, “After 13 years of prohibition, it was awfully hard to get much enthusiasm going in people about saloons.”

After confirming that the 18th amendment — prohibition — was repealed in December 1933, and knowing that 43 East Main Street had been a variety story called Daley’s that had gone out of business in June of 1930, a search of the Westfield Republican newspapers on microfilm was begun to locate information about proprietors of that address following Daley’s bankruptcy sale.

Since ads often did not publish the address of the stores, a short Notice in 1933 stated that Washburn Furniture, 43 E. Main, was going out of business, being replaced by Westfield Laundry. There were a couple ads for Westfield Laundry over the next few months, followed by another Notice in 1934 that V. J. Moore had purchased the balance of Washburn furniture at 43 East Main to sell at auction Feb. 10.

No mention was made of Westfield Laundry, and the next item that seemed to relate to the history of the Tap Room was found at the bottom of page 1 of the May 9, 1934 Westfield Republican. “Don’t miss it! — Washy’s Tap Room soft ball team will cross bats with Mayville Merchants Thursday, May 10 at 6:15 at Welch Field. A battle is scheduled for we find Bob Franklin at first, ‘Frog’ Noble catching and Wantshouse at third in Washy’s line up.”

Finally, May 30, 1934, the newspaper had a paragraph at the bottom of page 5: “Is Open — Washy’s Tap Room and Grill at 43 Main Street, Westfield, N. Y., now has its doors open to the public.” In the same paper, on page 7, was a two-column wide ad for the Tap Room. Another ad, on June 6, 1934, lists food specials in the dining room “Up stairs,” plus “Orchestra Saturday Nite.” On June 20, 1934, the Tap Room and Grill advertised “Fish Fry Fri. Nite — Special Music — Saturday Nite Special — Fried Chicken Dinner, 25c — Orchestra and Dancing.”

Business must have been “booming” at the Tap Room and Grill because the ad in the July 11, 1934 paper, page 2, reads, “Week End Specials — Free Fish Fri. Nite — Free Spaghetti and Meat Balls Sat. Nite.” The new liquor license law required annual renewals with notices published in the local newspaper for two weeks running, so, on Aug. 15 and 22, 1934, Harold Washburn was listed as proprietor receiving the license. Probably Hazel Washburn, from whom Herb Killmeyer, Sr., purchased the Tap Room in 1946, was Killmeyer’s widow, but this has not yet been confirmed.

By Sept. 26, 1934, the Tap Room was publishing daily specials for Monday through Saturday, plus a “Special Sunday Dinner — 50c and 75c.”

In the Westfield Republican of Nov. 13, 1946, page 8, a boxed ad read, “Notice — Tap Room and Grill — Now Opened Under New Management ... Herb-Mim.” This had been preceded in October by a Legal Notice for an alcohol beverage license issued to Killmeyer and Green, Tap Room and Grill, 43 Main Street, Westfield, N.Y., the same annual notice repeated in October 1947. Herb and Mim advertised a full course turkey dinner in the Nov. 26, 1947 paper.

By January 1952, when Larry Lamb was proprietor, the Tap Room — Grill advertisement read, “Sunday — Roast Chicken or Turkey Dinner — Special 75c.”

In his July 1981 Main Street Notes, Westfield Republican editor James Mead wrote, “Lawrence Lamb has sold the Tap Room and will be retiring as soon as the liquor license is transferred. Lamb has been on Main Street ... 30 years, a long history of Tap Room management. Dutch Grien is the new owner.” David L. Grien died Sept. 30, 1996, and his obit indicated that Grien and his wife, Frances, owned the Tap Room Tavern in Westfield after his retirement from Reynold Inc., of Westfield.

The present owner in 2011 of the Tap Room is Laird Eppinger, son of Betty Eppinger who was co-proprietor with the Grien’s after Lamb retired. A note of interest regarding the source of the names of the owners since Lamb — Kathleen “Kay” (Baideme) Killmeyer is the daughter of Larry Baideme of Larry’s Cantina on North Portage. She is the wife of Don Killmeyer who was the son of Herb Killmeyer, Sr., former Tap Room owner.

Fact Box

Marybelle Beigh is the current Public Historian for the Town and Village of Westfield. Her office is located at 3 East Main Street in Westfield, N.Y, 14787 — inside Parkview Ice Cream Parlor. Her scheduled office hours are Monday through Friday 9 to 11 a.m.; other hours by appointment.
Beigh can be reached at westfieldhistorian@ or by calling 326-2457 (office), 326-6171 (home) or 397-9254 (cell).



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