St. Trapper's Day: George Street pub reopens with bash after suspension

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St. Trapper's Day: George Street pub reopens with bash after suspension

It might have missed out on St. Patrick's Day, and the business boom associated with the Tim Hortons Brier, but Trapper John's is hoping it can lure back customers with a celebration of its own.

The St. John's bar reopens Thursday night after serving a six-week suspension by the Newfoundland Labrador Liquor Corporation. The bar was nailed for a string of infractions of the Liquor Control Act, including selling alcohol after hours.

On Friday the bar will hold its very own St. Trapper's Day. According to owner Terry Gulliver, the Newfoundland-themed celebration is meant to replace the business the bar lost on St. Patrick's Day.

"We're doing a pink, white and green theme for tomorrow night for our traditional Newfoundland flag and I'm hoping that's going to be a good night," he said. "I'm excited to reopen, but I won't be excited until I get some people here." 

Gulliver said it would have been tough for any small business to bounce back after a six-week closure — but it was even more of a sting to miss out on some of the biggest weeks of the year.

"I didn't miss the Brier, I watched every bit of the Brier. I did miss the business from the Brier," he said.

"Paddy's Day it was very, very disheartening. I actually went home that Friday, I was here painting and stuff, I went home early just not to see the crowd on George Street."

Should have been given a chance

Trapper John's was held responsible for 17 infractions, including smoking inside the premises.

But Gulliver said a bar which once operated upstairs in his building, and shared Trapper John's liquor licence, was ultimately to blame.

He doesn't deny that infractions happened — he says "two undercover young fellas" found them — but he says he should have been given a chance to act before the suspension.

He said the liquor corporation took weeks to let him know they found violations.

"I just think I should have been informed immediately, and given the opportunity to take my name off their licence and put an end to it," he said.

"I would have sat down and spoke to them, and if they couldn't commit to following the rules I would have closed that door over there and shut them off and taken my name off their liquor licence." 

Gulliver said his eight staff are all still with the bar, and he said they have more than 100 years of combined experience working at Trapper John's.