Reintroducing: The Cruise Bar-Athon

Alex Harrold
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Has this winter been long enough for you yet? You're probably one of those people that embrace winter and everything it has to offer.

You're reading this right now out on the ice while fishing for supper, with a snowmobile parked next to you big enough to carry you, your mate, and three of your children. You likely own downhill skis, cross-country skis, snowshoes, a walking stick and an automated snowman-making machine.Your refrigerator is four blocks of ice under a pile of sawdust.

I used to be just like you. You can't live in Newfoundland Labrador if you don't like winter. It's one of the things that attracts people here. Not a lot of people, mind you, but just enough of the right-minded, winter-loving folks we have plenty of space for during the season that is winter.

You can only imagine what would happen if all of those winter lovers stayed until black fly season. We'd probably have to build more cabins for them to stay in, connect roads that have never been connected just so they don't have to drive back down the same road they came up in order to visit someplace called Lands End or Come On Purpose, more restaurants serving squid, seal and moose, and a variety of more bars in order to spice up the nightlife around here. There can never be enough bars.

It's the combination of not being able to tolerate winter and that last statement about there never being enough bars that reminded me about an idea I ran past all of you several years ago.

I don't remember the title of the column, but the idea I proposed was for some rich entrepreneur that would like to get even more rich undertake to build a site big enough to house about 20 or so theme bars under one roof. The original idea came to me during a long period of time that the biggest store site in the Village Mall was empty. Many good ideas come from empty vessels. I'm just one of them.

While we have a well-known and richly unique bar district in downtown St. John's, I'm guessing that the place leaves a lot to be desired during the winter. I mean, George Street in the summer has to be completely different than George Street in the winter. People are not going to be stumbling from one bar to the next during the winter as much as they are in the summer when there's a party going on in the street.

Because of the length of our winter, it just makes sense to have an indoor bar scene that can be utilized year-round, but most particularly in the winter, as opposed to finding yourself outside icefishing when it's -15 and the snowmobile won't start.

I gave all of you the idea of converting the empty space at the Village Mall into an indoor version of George Street. Guess what? That bandwagon came through and nobody jumped on it. To say that I'm disappointed doesn't come close to the feeling I have that no one with enough money to follow through on my idea is reading my column.

Being the eternal optimist however, I know that there is still time for someone to come along and build a Newfoundland version of the West Edmonton Mall, replacing the idea of hundreds of stores with a variety of bars. I didn't say hundreds of bars because I doubt we could attract enough people to fill hundreds of bars in one place. I could be wrong.

The last time I was by the Village Mall, I noticed that the space has been occupied by something other than my idea of a bunch of cruise ship bars. No problem.  All I need is someone close to the planners of Danny land, or Williamsburg, or whatever that place is going to eventually be called that Danny Williams intends to build, to put a bug in his ear. Not a black fly, though. That would not be right.

Sadly, I don't have the money to build something that will help me stay inside and occupied in the winter.

You don't need money when you're an idea guy like me.

For example, if someone does get it in their head to build an indoor line of bars to be enjoyed during the winter, I'm putting in for the bathroom concession, where I'll charge $.10 to pee. It will be a first-rate facility with attendants, and four times as many washrooms for women as there are for men. Getting rich should only be a matter of time.

Organizations: Lands End

Geographic location: Newfoundland, George Street, St. John's Williamsburg

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