One of the more iconic buildings on the City of Utica's west side is being torn down and many people are remembering all the good times they had there.

Spilka's Hotel and Bar was a staple in the city for a long time. Though late in its life it was marred with negative stories of murder and fire, people still remember the good times they shared there. One of the relatives of the original owners of the place took to social media Monday to reflect on the stories he heard and the news he received that the building was to be torn down.

Christopher Spilka posted the following message on his page,

This morning when we were heading by Spilka’s Hotel we saw some construction vehicles outside. We found out that today is the day they are tearing down the building for good. I know a lot of my family members had tremendous memories at this site. Although the cheap clams and beer were before my time I always enjoyed listening to people share about their adventures at Spilka’s. If you have one I hope you will carry that on in your heart today! I Love Utica.

Spilka says the family history began in the 1940s when his father's father owned it. His father took over the business and ran it in the 1960s. Spilka says, "When you get into the 80s it changed hands a couple of times until my dad and brother Steve ran it until around 1995." He says his family owned it for a total of over 50 years.

Photo Courtesy of Christopher Spilka via Facebook
Photo Courtesy of Christopher Spilka via Facebook

The legendary Spilka's ultimately lost their liquor license and was forced to close down after a stabbing death that occurred outside the building, stemming from a fight that started inside. According to an article in the Utica Observer Dispatch from November of 2009, an individual by the name of Ambrose Smith III had been killed. The article read,

Late Friday night, Willie Reed, 20, of 908 Warren St., Utica, was charged with first-degree manslaughter after police said he stabbed Smith seven times in his chest, legs and side. Police said they believe Reed did not know the victim, and authorities did not know what triggered the deadly fight.

After the bar closed down, the building remained an apartment building and in August of 2022, a fire broke out on the second floor displacing 14 people. No injuries were reported, but that was ultimately the beginning of the end for the historic structure. Soon, the bright yellow building along the side of the arterial on the corner of Stark and Noyes Street will be no more.

Several people commented on Spilka's post sharing the memories they made at the once popular "dive bar." There was also a laundromat attached on the first floor.

An Assortment of Memories from the Public

Used to go there all the time after Utica Blue Sox games! Sit outside even tho I was under age! Shhh don’t tell anyone.


That’s sad. when I first moved to Utica my roommate and I used to take our laundry and do our clothes while we went next-door and had a couple drinks lol


They only build that red deck a few years ago to I thought it was gonna open back up. Thats too bad


During my Hamilton College days, during the '50s, spent many an evening drinking 'UCs' at Spilka's. Years later, married my late, beautiful wife.

What were your memories in the legendary spot? It's sad when Utica's history erodes away, but lately in the city more and more is being built for people to make new memories.

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