Bubbles Mansion closes its doors
It was last call Wednesday night at Bubbles Mansion in downtown Halifax.
The bar, partly owned by Michael Smith from the TV show Trailer Park Boys, closed down because it was no longer able to compete, manager Brad Hartlin said Thursday.
Hartlin said the downtown scene has changed drastically since the bar opened four years ago, especially in the past 18 months since government legislation banned the practice of charging just $1 for drinks. He said the students stopped coming.
"The big thing was that legislation got passed for the minimum drink prices. That had a drastic effect on our business," he said.
The minimum bars can now charge is $2.50 per serving, which is considered to be 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine, or one shot of liquor.
Hartlin said the shortage of cabs downtown late at night also took a bite out of business.
"You try at two o'clock in the morning in downtown Halifax to get a taxi to Bedford, Sackville or Dartmouth — it's almost impossible," he said.
He also blamed the nightclub's demise on another increase in the minimum wage, set to rise to $9.20 per hour on April 1.
Meanwhile, the ownership group will appear before the province's Utility and Review Board on Friday to deal with eight Liquor Control Act violations at their other bar, The Toothy Moose.
The provincial alcohol and gaming division wants the cabaret to stop serving alcohol at 2 a.m. instead of 3:30 a.m. after they were caught eight times breaking the rules. Some of the violations were for having too many patrons in the bar.
At an emergency hearing earlier this month, liquor compliance officer Darlene Hancock said that when she dropped into a cheap drinks event on Jan. 10 she lost count after 250 patrons. She said another officer counted more than 400 patrons.
The Toothy Moose is limited to 198 patrons and staff by its fire regulations.
Hartlin said the decision to close Bubbles Mansion had nothing to do with those legal problems.
"No, it's an ongoing issue. We've done our best to provide a safe environment for our patrons," he said.