Co-owner plans to reopen vacant Pepper Mill space as new restaurant
Erin’s Pub co-owner Chris Andrews is shown outside the business in St. John’s in November. The pub is under repair after a water pipe burst.
— File photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
A burst water pipe at Erin’s Pub has forced the new owners to shut the doors while repairs are done.
Chris Andrews of the band Shanneyganock, co-owner of the pub with Bob Hallett of Great Big Sea, said a pipe burst Sunday morning between the second and third floor of the building, flooding the street-level pub, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage, including the destruction of the live venue’s sound equipment.
“It’s certainly something we weren’t looking forward to, but that’s life, that’s business,” said Andrews on Tuesday. “We’re totally destroyed down there. The main goal now is to try to get her open for St. Patrick’s.”
The pub is covered for at least some of the damage, said Andrews, although the insurance is still being sorted out. He wasn’t sure of the dollar value of the damage, but estimated that it’s in the tens of thousands of dollars.
It could have been worse, said Andrews. “Things happen to people. We’re a business, and we’re just starting, and it hurts, there’s no doubt about it,” he said. “But it didn’t burn down. No one got hurt. At the end of the day, it’s a horrible thing that happened, but we will survive, and we will come back, there’s no doubt in our minds. It’s just a little blow on a mighty ship, we keep saying.”
The flood was beneficial for some, Andrews noted wryly: a documentary crew filming the musicians’ reopening of the pub.
“It’s unreal that this thing captured our raw emotions,” he said. “The guys were in with their cameras literally 10 hours after the flood, and it was strange to see them shooting and going, ‘Oh, that’s a great shot!’ and I’m going, ‘My pub, something we worked so hard for, is washing away here!’ There’s a difficulty to it, and there’s worries about the staff and bands that we have booked for St. Patrick’s day.”
Complicating matters is St. Pat-rick’s is a busy time for the Celtic-flavoured bands that are Hallett’s and Andrews’ primary job, he said, since they’ll both be out of town in March. They do have someone who manages the pub while they’re gone, he said.
“He’ll have his hands full now.”
In more upbeat news for the owners, though, Andrews confirmed that the recently closed Pepper Mill restaurant next door has been bought by Hallett, who Andrews said plans to reopen it as a new restaurant that will stand on its own and also supply the pub with food.
“The restaurant will be Bob’s. We’re certainly into it together on certain levels, but it’s Bob’s baby,” he said.
The spaces will remain separate, said Andrews.
“This is something he wanted to do, so it’s sort of like Bob will be the restaurant and I’ll be the pub. It’s good to be able to take on different things and have a go at it. He’s always wanted a restaurant, and I always wanted a pub, so it’s worked out great.”