New bar in NDG stirs up controversy, prompts legal action
Peter Sergakis, owner of Jersey’s Saloon, demands apology from city councillor Peter McQueen
A new bar on Sherbrooke Street in NDG is not even open for business yet, but it's already stirring up controversy — and could even lead to legal action.
Peter Sergakis, the owner of the new western-themed bar called Jersey's Saloon, sent a legal letter to city councillor Peter McQueen, demanding an apology.
"To say he doesn't want a bar to sell sex in the district, I feel very bad about that because that's not what it will be at all," Sergakis told CBC in a phone interview.
Sergakis said Jersey's Saloon, which will replace Maz Bar, will feature a western feel, with all its employees – including servers, bouncers and kitchen staff – in cowboy uniforms.
"Sherbrooke Street has suffered over the last few years. This is something good for the area – it needs a few restaurants and terrasses," Sergakis said.
The legal notice he sent to McQueen demands an apology within 48 hours, and threatens a defamation lawsuit.
"I don't want to start a war...I just want him to say, 'OK, I'm sorry. There was a misunderstanding and it is not what we thought,'" Sergakis said.
"I continue to believe that this type of bar – sort of a Coyote Ugly-type bar – is not well suited for that spot in NDG, right beside NDG Park and with the many families in the neighbourhood," McQueen told CBC.
He added that the promotional video for the bar he saw last week, which has been described as racy by some, has now been taken down.
"I take that [as] that he is at least thinking or re-thinking a little bit and perhaps hoping to improve. We have no problem with good food, sports screens, billiards and a terrasse – all of which he has the permits for. Hopefully, if it's that, it can be an addition to the nightlife on Sherbrooke Street," McQueen said.
At Monday night's council meeting, some residents said they were concerned about the new bar coming to their neighbourhood.
"These type of clubs will mean a lot of noise for the residents," said John Dennis Gerols.
Sandrine Campeau said she's also worried about the noise levels.
"Getting on the bar, and dancing and shots going on — it is definitely going to generate some noise that wasn't there previously. I mean the Maz Bar was not that," she said.
Borough Mayor Russell Copeman said he has no legal basis to stop a new bar from opening in NDG, though he has no plans to go to the establishment himself.
"Based on the promotional video I saw, I want to say that I would not frequent that establishment, nor would I want any of my adult children working there," he said, adding that the borough will work with police and keep a close eye to ensure there is no nudity and that noise bylaws will be respected.
Sergakis said he will hold a soft-launch on Thursday night, so that people can go to the bar before it opens its doors later this month.
"I invite them to come on Thursday and then they can judge," Sergakis said.
With files from CBC reporter Antoni Nerestant