The bar formerly known as Billy Goats goes out with one last community party
It was The Goht's last stand Tuesday night as a packed house said to goodbye to a bar full of friends.
You probably know The Goht as Billy Goats, named, legend has it, after a resident across the street who years ago kept goats.
For 18 years, until May, Steve Spyropoulos ran it with legendary hospitality. But after he died in May, his son, John, found the long days of trying to run Settler's restaurant and a tavern while taking care of his family too much of a strain, so he decided to get out of the bar business.
"There's a lot of ground to cover and it's physically straining on me," Spyropoulos told The Batavian last week in an exclusive interview. "There are late nights there, early morning here. I have a family at home. I have two boys who are 14 and I've got a daughter. She's 5. You know something's got to give sooner or later; I prefer it not to be with my family."
There were a few tears among family members Tuesday night as the bar filled up with longtime customers and many glasses along the way were raised to Steve.
John said the gathering was bittersweet. He knows -- and he said the customers were telling him -- closing the bar was the right thing to do, but he also knows his father loved the bar and the customers loved him.
"These are our people," he said. "They loved us. We loved them."
He said he thanked the community for all of its support.
"It’s been a great 18 years here, and 30-plus years next door," Spyropoulos said. "It's a great community. They’ve treated us great and I love them for that. There’s a lot of good people in Batavia. That is not said enough, how good the people in Batavia really are, you know.
"They take three or four bad comments on the Internet and a lot of people think that’s Batavia but it’s not. Batavia is tight-knit. A lot of good people in Batavia. All good people here. All of them."
Top photo: Patrons in the patio of The Goht, the bar is formerly known as Billy Goats, raise a beverage to Steve Spyropoulos, who died May 11 at age 66.
Photo below: Spiridoula Spyropoulus, John's mother, Jane Branton, sister, John Spyropoulos, Christy Brown, sister, and Miranda Spyropoulos, John's wife.