Fire at Lark Tavern

lark tavern fire

After the fire Thursday morning.

There was a serious fire at the Lark Tavern early this morning.

The TU reports that firefighters say the building was "heavily damaged," but can probably be saved. WTEN reports that no one was hurt. Fox23 reports that firefighters aren't sure of the cause, yet.

MattW emailed this morning with the photo above: "There was a fire early this morning at Lark Tavern. Didn't see inside but it looks like there may extensive damage. They had a fire crane and the road closed off. My thoughts go out to Tess and the Lark family."

The Lark Tavern is a huge part of that neighborhood. Our thoughts are with Tess and everyone there. A whole lot of people are going to be pulling for them.

Update: Matt Baumgartner is organizing a Lark Tavern Fire Fund. He says Tess left a voicemail message for him this morning hoping to find jobs for her staff. He says she also mentioned that "It looks like we're not going to be able to open our doors for awhile."

There's also a benefit planned at the Marketplace Gallery. Artists interested in donating work should contact Samson Contampasis at at (Thanks, Sue)

People are posting messages of support on the Lark Tavern Facebook page. From a wall posting by the Lark Tavern:

The out pour and response is truly amazing. Tess and the entire staff of Lark Tavern are deeply warmed with your thoughts, prayers, and support. As we gather ourselves and the smoke clears we will begin to take the next step, and will continue to keep you updated. Once again Thank You ♥

More updates: Here's a photo of multiple firefighters working the side of the building with ladders earlier this morning. [@tenacioustj]


I'm shocked and dismayed, but Tess is a tough cookie, she'll pull out of this alright! Hopefully something will be arranged to give people the opportunity to help.

Samson Contompasis has already organized a benefit for the Tavern at his Marketplace Gallery on May 22nd. The Tavern helped him out a ton when they had a fire and now, unfortunately, it is time to return the favor.

All artists that want to donate work can email him at or search for him on FB for more information.

Matt Baumgartner has also set up a fund to help:

Glad to see how many people in our little community are reaching out to help Tess and her wonderful staff. The Lark Tavern is an Albany staple and I can't say enough good things about the place and the people who work there. Best of luck to them

Tess is a rare find - someone who was always pleasant, direct, and quick to support any do-good effort that came her way. A few years ago, after Hurricane Katrina, a few us us students at UAlbany approached Tess asking if she would help us host a fundraiser for a NoLa charity. We had no idea what to expect. Tess was super - she just blew us away with her generosity. I had been a fan of the 'tavern long before, and the event just fueled affection for the establishment.

This fire is certainly tragic, but I hope its a catalyst for people to come together, support the rebuilding of a fine establsihement, and give back. I'll throw down a donation - but please add me to the long list of people who are stepping up saying "we want to help!" Especially if it means getting fried mac and cheese again ;)

Best wishes Lark Tavern!!!

@ daleyplanit

You're right on point. Tess always does a lot for the Santa Speedo run as well. If anything good can come out of a tragedy like this, it's that people pull together to help someone they care about. Lark Street is often billed as the "community within the city," but this is great evidence that it's true.

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