Orlando residents mourn closure of beloved bar Wally's -- but is it for good?

Vigil planned after staple in Mills 50 area of Orlando suddenly closes

By Vanessa Araiza - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Wally's Mills Avenue Liquors closed its doors Tuesday after 64 years. 

A sign was taped to the front door that read: "Dear customers, it is with great regret that we have decided to close our doors after 64 years in business. Thank you for all of your support and great memories. The Wally's family."

Throughout the day, patrons stopped by the Orlando watering hole and were shocked to learn of its closing.

Some former patrons said they couldn't believe the news and had to see it for themselves. 

Michael O'Shaughnessy stopped by, hoping to get his UCF football jersey that still hangs on the wall inside. 

"I have been getting calls all day," O'Shaughnessy said. 

Wally's has been O'Shaughnessy's spot since his football days in the 1970s.

He said this wasn't just a bar -- it was the bar to go to -- no matter who you were. 

"At the end of the day it really has been everybody's bar. Orlando's most iconic bar. It (spans) all classes and all social groups and it was everybody's bar," O'Shaughnessy said. 

Co-owner Martin Snellgrove said his health took priority. 

He said he had been thinking of selling the business for months before it closed, and that many people showed interest, but didn't move forward with purchasing it. 

It wasn't just patrons and fans in Orlando who heard of its closing. 

Brendan Sweeney, a former patron and Mills 50 resident, heard about it from family more than 100 miles away. 

"My niece, who lives in Jacksonville, saw it online and she shot me a text, and I was like, 'No! Not Wally's!'" Sweeney said. 

Since the business' sudden closure, well-known attorney John Morgan voiced his interest in taking it over.

“Word has reached me that Wally's has shuttered. I had my first drink there at age 16. When I come home for the summer, I will look into buying it," Morgan wrote on social media.

Snellgrove said Tuesday that plans to sell it are already in the works, but did not say to whom the business would be sold.

Wally's employees shared plans Tuesday afternoon to hold a candlelight vigil in the dive bar's parking lot at 8 p.m. See the full Facebook post below.

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