This is still a work in progress. Basically I am trolling for more information that can be added on all of these places and any I have missed. I am missing many details such as some of the owners and specific dates. Any and all information is welcomed. Since originally writing this, I’ve come up with all kinds of information.
Recently a story was making the rounds about how Newfoundland has more bars per capita than any place in Canada. Mostly this related to George Street in St. John’s, but Grand Falls-Windsor has had a few locally famous and infamous watering holes over the years.
I am sure in his paternalistic idea of a company town Lord Northcliffe probably didn’t want too many bars around. Not much is known about the drinking habits prevalent in the early days of Grand Falls and Windsor. For a chunk of the early years 1916-1924 Newfoundland as a whole was afflicted by that silly experiment made famous by Al Capone, Prohibition.
It is my personal opinion that it failed in Newfoundland because due to isolation and lack of disposable income most of what outport Newfoundlanders drank, they made themselves. Plus there was always quite a bit of smuggling going on from St. Pierre.
I am sure if you wanted you could get a drink at the Staff House. I also know that card games were common at the Cabot House and the other Hotels and Boarding House in the town. I have a sneaky suspicion that at the “smokers” that were held in honor of visiting sports teams beer and liquor probably flowed fairly freely. But as for the first real bar in the area, I really can’t pin point it.
The Oasis is a likely candidate. Opened by the Constable family on the Badger Road next to Leech Brook in about 1949 this establishment was once known for live music and weekend dances. It was also located several kilometers outside of both towns, so safe to say that back in it’s heyday drunk driving laws were a little more lax and less enforced. Realistically you have to realize that the place was way to far to walk to or from and way too expensive a cab ride. The Oasis operated into the 1980’s when it was closed down. The building was still there until it was finally torn down in about 1994. I have heard of some loggers working in the area back in the 50’s crossing Leech Brook to get a drink at the Oasis.
The Montrose Motel
I don’t know a whole lot about the Montrose Motel. It was located a fair ways up the Botwood Highway and I do believe there was a bar located on the premises. I’m not sure if he was the only owner, but when it closed the Montrose was owned by Frank Duggan. After it closed, the building sat idle and became an eyesore before it was finally torn down.
The Simwestco Hotel was built on the Trans Canada Highway across from the mount Peyton sometime in started life as the Paragon Hotel sometime in the 1950’s. In around 1963 it was acquired by Mr. Wes Simms and renamed the SimWestCo. They Heyday of the bar in the Simwestco was in the 1960’s and early 1970’s. From what I can gather the bar was fairly big and had a large dance floor and hosted live music. Some fairly big names played at the Simwestco like the Inkspots and the Platters. Wes Simms was also the manger of the Grand Falls Cataracts-which explains why the bar was so popular to the players on that team. Eventually this operation was taken over by the Mount Peyton. This wasn’t Simm’s only foray into the bar business.
The Mount Peyton:
There has always been a bar in the Mount Peyton Hotel. It has gone through a number of name changes over the years. It used to be known as the Mill Room now it is known and the Crown and Moose Pub.
There was a veteran’s organization organized in Grand Falls in 1919. I have heard from one interview with a veteran, that Mr. LR Cooper, town manager with the AND Co was organizing his fellow veterans from Grand Falls on the train ride home. This initial organization became part of the Great War Veterans Association in the early 1920’s and Branch 12 of the Royal Canadian Legion when Newfoundland joined confederation. The organization had not permanent home and I do believe they met at different locations like the Town Hall and the Anglican Parish Hall. In the early 1950’s the Anglo-Newfoundland Development Company donated a building they had used to house VIPs at Botwood during the war.
Windsor also had a Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion-Branch 49 which was formed I believe in the 1950’s. There branch on the western part of Main Street also had a bar. The Windsor Legion has since closed.
Jackman’s Hotel/The Carsans Hotel
People that I know say that the Carsans was the greatest bar since Cheers. Some of their wives refer to it as a dive and curse its existence.
The Jackman family owned a small hotel with 8 rooms next to the Memorial Grounds going back to the 1940’s. I am not sure if there was a bar there, but in a 1956 Insurance Plan of the town there is a “Beer warehouse” located on the property. In 1975 the Jackman’s sold the property to Carrie and Sanford LeMoine and it was renamed the Carsans Hotel. The Lemoines operated it for a few years before it was taken over by their son in law, Cataracts great Al Dwyer. Dwyer operated until selling to Ronnie Power in about 1985. The Carsans was the “Neighborhood bar” for many former members of the Grand Falls Cataracts. Around 1990 Ronnie Power sold the Carsans to Graham Hutchinson of Nottingham, England. Hutchinson changed the name to the Ye Olde Robin Hood Inn to honor the legendary figure from his home town and eventually phased the bar out of the property altogether. The regulars were forced to spend more time at their cabins.
Jimi-Jacks-Town and Country Pub
Ever see 400 people packed into a space meant for forty? Jimi Jacks is one of the classic bars of Grand Falls-Windsor. The history of the site goes back a very long way; actually the bones of Jimi’s might be one of the oldest structures in town, I’ve seen a town plan from circa 1911 with a building at the exact location. By 1937 it was known as Petrie’s Hotel and it is likely it was owned by the Petrie family who, I believe had run the Exploits Hotel before it burned down. l. Sometime, but likely around 1954, it was taken over by Jack and James Basha (owners of the Cozy Chat and the Vogue Theatre in Windsor). It looks like at some point previous to this in the 1950’s it was renamed the “Town and Country Inn.” Like Kellys and the Carsan’s there were rooms that cold be rented, which leads me to believe that there must have been some sort of government tourism grant or town bylaw on the go; back in the md-1980s you could get a room for $40 a week. Later on it was taken over by Reg Davis and the name combined his and Jack Basha’s names and it became Jimi Jacks. The building had a fire in 1975, but was rebuilt, as alluded before, I think most of the structure remained intact. Brilliantly located in close proximity to the pulp and paper mill Jimi Jacks has done a steady business for decades. Do they still have Twoonie Tuesdays?
So rumour has it that Jimi-Jaks as a bar is now closed, I need some corroboration on this. The pandemic has not been kind to places that cater to people drinking and socializing. I also have a little known bit of infromation. Jimi-Jaks had a fairly large fire in around 1976 or 77. I think the bones of the building were fine, and it was restored. At the time in the paper it was noted that the building that Jimi-Jaks is in is one of the oldest in Grand Falls-Windsor, dating from before 1909! I think it is time for an historic plaque.
Kelly’s Pub has a long history. The building seems to date back many years and has gone through a number of name changes. Originally it was known as the Hillview Inn and was in existence in 1959. At some point it was called the Inn Terrier, actually I think it was the Inn-Terrior, as in “interior” like the interior of Newfoundland, where it is located. Like Jimi Jacks, Kelly’s has always had a steady crowd, especially in the summertime. It also bears the distinction of being the only bar in town that doubled as a shipyard. In the early 1990’s Captain Tom Dower was building a large sailing boat on the side of the building!
I’ve got some absurd drinking stories from my day, but this one from before my day might take the cake.
Hold on while I put on a proper British narrative voice. Initially constructed by the Anglo-Newfoundland Development Company as a Company Store, the original Royal Stores building was constructed around 1910. Going through a number of guises before being acquired by Domac in the middle of the Century, then DOMAC moved to a new premis on Harris Ave. At which point Charlie Trask opened a bar in the old building.
Charlie Trask operated a bar known as the Downtowner sometime in the 1970’s. I believe It was located on the upper floor of the old Domac building on the lower end of High Street. Allegedly this place sometimes had strippers brought in from such exotic places as Norris Arm. I do not believe this bar was open for very long.
There is no allegedly about it, there were strippers at the Downtowner, and hold on to your hats, an attempt was made at establishing a prestigious post secondary vocational institute there. Yup, a training school for budding young strippers.
I don’t think I have enough hands to count the names of the bars that were in this building after the Downtowner. Ed’s Lounge was there for a while, and a couple of country bars, at one point there were two bars, with one of them having a psychedelic light show.
The last bar that was there was the Country Palace, which burned down in January of 1987. That was it for the old Royal Stores/Domac/Downtowner, it was a write off.
Carey’s Entertainment Centre-The Night Spot-The Rock
In my opinion the best laid out bar in Grand Falls-Windsor was the one on top of the Bowling Ally on Lincoln Road. For many it was known as “Carey’s” (especially if you were born around 1969) and it was owned and operated by Angus Carey.
Carey had spent a number of years away, working mainly as a miner in Northern Manitoba. In 1977 he came home with the idea for not just a bar but an “Entertainment Center.” The top floor was a bar with dartboards, pool tables, and even shuffleboard. In the downstairs Carey installed a bowling alley. Like the Loggers Lounge Carey started to bring in a lot of live entertainment, and had a province wide reputation as such.
At some point in the 1990’s the name was changed to the “Nite Spot” ( I am not sure if there was a change of ownership). In the late 1990’s to the best of my knowledge it was acquired by the Zhouri’s who changed the name to the Rock Bar and Grill. For university aged people in the early 2000’s this was a really popular place to go. The bar hosted Huge crowds and live music on summer weekends back around 2003 it would be blocked. Now, it should also be said that free passes were also free flowing back then too, so I don’t know how much cover was actually paid. It must have been sold around 2005 or 06 and the name changed to Teri’s Place. The building is now vacant.
The Condor Lounge-Double S-Tezers
Originally built as the Anglican school for Windsor. The need for the school was identified in 1924 when the decision was made to build an Anglican school for children living at Grand Falls Station too young to attend school in Grand Falls. I am not sure if this is the original building or one that was built in the 1940’s, this building was sold after the new St. Alban’s was built in the early 1950’s. Oddly, at some point it was acquired by some arm of the Catholic Church and became St. Joseph’s club. Around 1976-77 John Connors and somebody else turned the building into a bar named the Condor Lounge. . It later became the “Double S” now it is known as Tezers. Besides being a school it was also used for church services by the Anglican congregation in Windsor before the newer school was built, how many bars can you say that about?
Waynes World is more of a Bar and Grill type establishment than it is just a bar. For years it has been popular for its wing night. The establishment was founded by Wayne Chow sometime in the early 90’s (Around the same time the movie of the same name came out) utilizing the old Globe restaurant property that had been owned by his father Harry Chow.
The Loggers Lounge-The Red Baron
Originally known as Gentleman Jims this was one of the first businesses in the Exploits Valley Mall. I don’t know a whole lot about it. I do know they had some good entertainment and you could get food there, and when it was known as the Loggers Lounge it was very popular in the late 70’s. Back in the 80’s the name was changed to the Red Baron. I believe the same site was used for Mingle’s before they moved up near KFC.
The Loggers Lounge was one of the first establishments in the Exploits Valley Mall. Like the Simwestco, it was the brainchild of Wes Simms. I had erroneously noted that it was previously known as Gentleman Jim’s, in reality the Logger’s Lounge WAS Gentleman Jim’s. I’m not sure if this was a franchise or a gimmick, but the Logger’s Lounge served Gentleman Jim steaks.
The Snake Pit
Yes this actually the name of a bar in Windsor. This was a bar located in Spencer’s Hotel on Main Street Windsor in the 1970’s
The Knights of Columbus-Barneys
The Knights of Columbus is a Roman Catholic Fraternal organization that has existed in Grand Falls for a very long time. In 1935 they built a new and highly s appointed stone and concrete hall across from the RC Cathedral. There was a bar located in this building and it was a popular place for card players. Back in the 1960’s and 70’s the basement hosted a teen hangout called the “Twixteen Club.” The KofC sold the building sometime after 2005. This spacious building was converted into a bar and restaurant. The Bar is known as Barney’s and most of the original layout of the old KofC was retained. With so much space it is one of the better layouts in town and has also been known to host weddings and other functions.
This was the union hall for the Communications Energy and Paper Mill Workers Union Local 63 (Though the Union was called something else originally). A Liquor licence was granted to this Union under the name Club 63 in 1959, soon after the hall was built. I was never in there. I do believe that it was a common place for mill workers. This building was located in the area between Lincoln Road and Union Street. After the mill shut down the building was sold and has since been demolished.
Honorable Mention-The Taiwan
There are bottles behind the bar of Liquors and Liqueurs you can no longer buy in Newfoundland. Some of them may date to when the Restaurant opened in 1964. Apparently the bar in the lobby of the Taiwan used to be a popular spot for spectators at Hockey games to sneak out for a drink during intermission back in the 1960’s and 70’s.
Honorable Mention-The Newfoundland Railway
Even way back over a hundred years ago you could get alcoholic beverages on the train. I recall seeing that you could get Budweiser Beer and Bass Ale-both imported Beers, on the train and probably 80 or 90 years before Budweiser was readily available in Newfoundland. There are also numerous stories of people taking their own booze on the train for the journey. I think this was fairly common for some returning university students in the last days of the service in the 60’s.
Golden Phoenix Lounge-located in the basement of the Cathy Empress on Lincoln Road.
Maple Leaf Cafe- I do believe you may have been able to buy beer here and It may have had a bar. I do know at least one Chinese owned establishment in Windsor sold beer and was frequented by the drinking public.
Mingle’s-originally located in the Mall, Moved to Lincoln Road Mini mall in the early 2000’s, now closed.
Dooleys-located in the mall this popular chain of pool hall closed around 2010.
Classic Cue-Pool Hall next to Mingle’s on Lincoln Road.
Mystery Bar-See below.
As a boy growing up on Grenfell Heights which was formally the Botwood Highway I remember The Montrose. It was actually on the right of the intersection of Scott Avenue and Grenfell Heights Ext. before the roundabout. If my memory is correct There is a house built on the site. It was formerly owned before his death by Pastor George Ash A former pastor of the Pentecostal church GF.
So near the current Pentecostal Church? Would you be able to tell me what else was in that area? My uncle built his house near here and on his land he found a very old snowplow from about the 1930’s or 40’s that would have been attached to a bulldozer.
My parents, Raymond and Elizabeth Rogers ran the Paragon in the 50’s. I believe it was owned by Art Hodinott at the time. I was very young (born in ’53), and we lived in a house at the back of the hotel property. I’ve shared this site with my older brother.
Great recollection! Another nod could go to the Highliner Inn. Also, Mingles is now the Taproom, more or less. Branch 49 RCL was first located next to Roy’s TV before it moved up the road in the early 70’s. The building between Wayne’s world and Roy’s became a Jewelry store run by Moe Frank. Branch 49 became an apartment building upstairs and a gym then Third place downstairs.
Carey’s closed down on May 4th, 1992. The building sat vacant for months until it was sold. Once sold, the new owner ( or renter) opened a bar under another name.
BTW, there was another bar between the time of Gentlemen J and Red Baron. Camp 21 was the name I recall.
That is correct! That article is in flux, I have a pile of notes and clippings to fully update it.