Zion tavern to shut doors

Michael's Tavern in Zion is closing.
Michael's Tavern in Zion is closing.

A longtime bar has a few last calls left.

Michael’s Triangle Tavern at the Y in Zion will close Feb. 3.

Owner Lee Dorey, who only opens every Wednesday now, wants to retire and sell it.

“I have two prospects, but either way I’m closing it,” she said. “We’ve been around for 34 years. I’m 68 years old, so I’ve been slowing down.”

Dorey and her late partner Jerry Vonada, who died in September, gradually cut back on hours over the past few years. They began to shop for potential buyers in 2015.

“We were trying to retire,” she said. “We did this together for many years, and we were always working.”

The bar, Dorey said, was once an abandoned house until she bought it in 1982.

“Oh, I could tell you stories,” she said. “The bar itself has changed. It’s a lot more subdued now, but I’ve seen it all.”

She readily admits the bar industry is a tough business, one that has changed over the years. She said food has become more important to the business. Operating it is similar to running a house, she said. It takes common sense and long hours.

We just had good food and good beer and good times.

Lee Dorey, owner of Michael’s Triangle Tavern

Fewer people stay late, though, and there are fewer bands.

There was a time, she said, when she was lucky to get out of the bar by 2:30 a.m.

“It used to be wild,” she said. “People came three or four times a week. There used to be long, long waiting lines on Friday nights. (Former) Penn State president Joab Thomas used to come. I think DUIs and safety have settled a lot of people down, which is a good thing. There’s a time and place for everything.”

The time for closing is now.

Dorey wants to retire and spend most days at home.

“We’ve always been a corner bar without a town, you know, and the people have always been good to me,” Dorey said. “That’s what we were, mom and pop, nothing pretentious or flashy. We just had good food and good beer and good times. I believe what you put in is what you get out of it. If I had to do it all over again, I would certainly would.”

Shawn Annarelli: 814-235-3928, @Shawn_Annarelli