“I’ve got to get down to the pub,” Shanneyganock frontman and then-new Erin’s Pub owner Chris Andrews told The Telegram after an interview one day in February 2013. “A water pipe broke, the place is flooded and the b’ys are there filming a documentary.”
A pain in the arse at the time, but today Andrews calls the broken pipe “pure luck” when it comes to the making of some great TV.
The flood and its resulting damage are among the scenes filmmakers Cody Westman and Peter Furlong of Cat’s Eye Cinema captured on camera and have included in their made-for-TV documentary, “That Little Room: The Story of Erin’s Pub,” airing on NTV Sunday at 8 p.m.
It’s the story of the oldest pub on the oldest street on the oldest city in North America: Erin’s Pub, now a St. John’s landmark, opened in 1986 by Ralph O’Brien of the Sons of Erin. In 2012, O’Brien decided to move on and handed the bar over to Andrews and Bob Hallett of Great Big Sea fame.
Four short months later, while still getting used to the jigs and reels of owning a bar, the flood happened. “That Little Room” follows Andrews and Hallett as they rebuild the pub, and stress over whether or not they’ll be able to open for Erin’s traditionally busiest weekend of the year, St. Patrick’s Day.
The documentary, which runs about a half an hour, also features interviews with longtime pub patrons and musicians, including Alan Doyle, Mark Hiscock and Dave Panting.
“I think (Cody and Peter) really hit the nail on the head with this, and it was all them,” Andrews — who started working on the door at Erin’s as an 18-year-old — said of the film’s authentic content. “The thing about not being in control is you don’t know what’s going to come out at the end, but I’m really impressed.”
Andrews says he’s still honing his bar-owner skills, and spends many a long day taking care of business. He and Hallett are still paying for the water damage, he admits.
“I love it. I get to see lots of old friends and hear great music. It’s a pleasure owning the place where I got my start as a musician.”
As for the future of Erin’s, Andrews makes it clear he’s not interested in ever changing the place into something other than what it has always been: that little room.
“Not on my watch,” he says. “It’ll always be the same — a place with great music, cold beer and good people.”