Closing of Ben’s Tavern will sadden many

It’s too soon to mourn the loss of Ben’s Tavern since the cozy neighborhood bar is still open.

But “Ben’s” day is coming. The tiny bar that outlasted a lot of fancier watering holes in this town will soon, we are told, become another victim of the Souris River flood of 2011.

The bar was severely damaged in the flood but was salvaged and has been up and running for years now. But build again somewhere else to make way for flood control? That’s just too costly for a small family business like Ben’s has always been.

Minot Daily News reporter Ashton Gerard, in Sunday’s front-page feature, captured the warm but gritty character the tavern developed and maintained through the decades.

To us, one quote stood out.

“It’s more like drinking in somebody’s garage than going to a bar where you don’t know people. You’re not a stranger for very long here,” said Tracy Boyd, the tavern’s manager.

That is precisely why Ben’s Tavern has existed for 70-plus years; different owners, different managers, same model- be a friendly neighborhood bar.

We don’t know exactly when Ben’s Tavern will have to close its doors for good. But as of today there is still time to drop by and have a pop or a stronger beverage.

If you have never been to Ben’s before, well, you won’t have missed out completely on the experience. But if you already know the place, paying your respects now rather than later – and over a cold one – would seem like the appropriate thing to do.