Nova Scotia

Last call at Halifax tavern due to pandemic losses

The beer taps will be turned off at Halifax’s Red Stag Tavern in a few weeks.

COVID crisis led to 'insurmountable and devastating blow'

The Red Stag Tavern will close in two weeks. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

The beer taps will soon be turned off at Halifax's Red Stag Tavern, the latest victim of the economic fallout of COVID-19.

Management of the tavern, located in the historic Alexander Keith's Brewery Market on Lower Water Street, will be closing its doors at the end of this month.

"This year the restaurant and hospitality industry has received an insurmountable and devastating blow," Red Stag owner Mike Condy said in a statement released to the tavern's customers and suppliers on Wednesday.

The collapse of the economy due to COVID-19, and the huge blow it delivered to Nova Scotia's tourism industry, are among the reasons.

Beer will no longer pour from the taps at the Red Stag Tavern after business dried up. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

The subsequent cancellation of the cruise ship season in Halifax created more hardship.

"We had a huge cruise ship business with our partnership with Keith's Brewery," Condy said in an interview. "We offer every brewery tour a complimentary sample beer in our place and we had about 50,000 of them come through last year."

The tavern was built in the 1800s and has a rooftop patio.

Without tourists, the business numbers just weren't adding up.

The owner of the Red Stag Tavern says a lack of cruise ship traffic caused a drastic reduction in business. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

"It's too far gone with respect to me not being able to pay rent for another year when I'm doing about 10 per cent of the sales I did last year."

Condy also operates two other establishments, including the Lower Deck on the Halifax waterfront. He said those businesses are struggling as well.

Condy, who operated the Red Stag for 14 years, said he could have closed the business at the end of June. He chose to remain open so his staff would get an extra two months of work.