Owner turning nightclub on Victoria Row into dining, live entertainment restaurant

Dave Stewart
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Jeff Sinnott, one of the managers for the new John Brown Richmond Street Grille on Victoria Row, says the beer and wine bar will feature a mix of good food and specialty beers. It will open on the long weekend in May in what used to be Globe World Flavours.

Steve Barber says John Brown Richmond Street Grille will feature jazz and blues music, specialty beers and mature atmosphere

It’s out with the Globe and in with the new.

Red Island Hospitality Group Inc. is turning off the dance music on Victoria Row in Charlottetown and firing up the grill.

Globe World Flavours has shut its doors for good and will re-open for the Victoria Day weekend in May as the John Brown Richmond Street Grille, featuring a wide selection of draft beer and fine wines.

Steve Barber, director of Red Island, which will operate the new John Brown restaurant, says the name comes from the man who built the building.

“We’re going with a theme of heritage so the décor will be pictures of prohibition and what that building housed in the past,’’ Barber said in an interview.

And it is quite a past.

According to Barber’s research, The Guardian worked out of that location at one time. Over the years, it has also been the home of Pat’s Rose and Grey, the Island Rock Café and Brennans.

“It’s going to be a beer and wine bar as well as an eatery. It will be quality dining.’’

Gone are the pink and blue colours inside as well as any evidence that it was quite recently a nightclub. There’s no DJ dance booth or fancy lights. The inside now features darker tones with more beige and brick on the walls. Artist Emily Howard is doing some paintings and murals for the walls.

Music will still be a big part of life at John Brown’s but the turntables will be replaced with live music with a decidedly sharp turn to jazz, blues, roots and rhythm.

“We’re going to be a listening room and a show space for those (acts).’’

Todd MacLean and Justin Simard, the dynamic duo which has been entertaining the outdoor patio crowd on the Row for some time now, will be featured three nights a week this summer.

Live music won’t start inside John Brown’s until at least 10:30 p.m. when music on the Row shuts down.

Barber also emphasizes the beer bar concept with John Brown’s Grille. He points to the beer bars in Halifax for comparison purposes. Think Propeller Brewery or a place like Garrison Brewery, for example, watering holes that do to beer what Starbucks did to coffee.

“We’re not brewing our own beer but we are going to be featuring beers that you wouldn’t normally find anywhere else . . . on P.E.I. There are going to be 16 different draft taps as well as a 40-plus wine bottle list.’’

As for the food menu, Mark Duffy and Jared Smith were still putting the finishing touches on it but suffice to say it will be a mixture of high-end and pub food with a few favourites from its days at Globe World Flavours thrown in for good measure like pad thai and calamarie.

“There will be a lot of new items that will blow people’s minds. We’ve been putting a lot of thought into this over the winter.’’

Jeff Sinnott, who will manage the restaurant with Ryan MacEwen, gave The Guardian a sneak peek recently at the renovations and it appears sightlines have been improved. Whether patrons are sitting up in the balcony or at one of the booths, no one should have issues with seeing the live music.

John Brown’s, which will operate year round, isn’t the only wine bar/grill opening on the Row. The Row House Lobster Company is getting set to open a few doors down but Barber isn’t looking at the lobster grill as competition. In fact, he thinks the two businesses will complement each other quite nicely.

“I hear we have new neighbours. We’re very excited that they’re going to be open year round, too. I think our two properties will feed off each other. We’re really excited to have somebody fresh down there.’’

Barber points to the success of the Hunter’s-Factory Cookhouse-Buono Mangia combo of restaurants on Kent Street as proof.

“They’re all side by side and that kind of makes it a destination to eat. Maybe (people) will go eat at the Lobster Row House and come watch a show with us.’’

The Globe closed its doors Jan. 5 although it did re-open for the East Coast Music Award weekend. It would have been open five years this summer.

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

Organizations: John Brown, Starbucks, Row House Lobster Company Lobster Row House

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Red Island, Brennans Halifax P.E.I. Kent Street

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Recent comments

  • JAZZ_MAN_4_UR-LADY
    May 13, 2014 - 13:50

    YOU CANNOT HAVE A JAZZ BAR WITHOUT SMOKING. YOU MUST FIND A WAY TO ALLOW SMOKING IN YOUR BAR OR ELSE IT IS NOT A JAZZ BAR, BUT JUST SOME REGULAR BAR PLAYING JAZZ MUSIC. I DON'T EVEN SMOKE, BUT I'M NOT BLINDED TO REALITY!!!!!

  • dial
    May 13, 2014 - 11:13

    Want to wish Steve and all associated with the new bar the very best of luck.Personally knowing Steve and how hard the man works,it will surely be a success

  • That guy
    May 12, 2014 - 20:40

    It's about time there was a classy spot added to charlottetowns roster of bars/restaurants. I know this is a spot my group of friends and I will definitely be checking out and probably frequenting!

  • Sodapop
    May 12, 2014 - 20:33

    Great Idear!! Looks great, just what the town night life needs.. A new look, a new scene, and a breath of fresh air on Vic row. I'll be a continuous customer of this superb establishment!!

  • Courtney
    May 12, 2014 - 20:21

    The staff is always so awesome at these restaurants! I can't wait to see what's on the menu...have missed the Saturday music parties we enjoyed at the Globe last summer. Bring it on :)

  • lil' pint
    May 12, 2014 - 14:44

    Congrats to Barber and team on the "new" restaurant. I can't wait to check it out! Cheers!

  • Elvis Costello
    May 11, 2014 - 18:34

    Owners: Please rotate your tap offerings regularly and try to get the fun and interesting seasonal offerings from the Maritime breweries.. Not their poorest and most prevalent offerings that are also available in PEILC. For example, if some of your taps are always on Garrison Tall Ship, Garrison Nut Brown, Pump House Red, Pump House Blueberry, Moosehead Boundary, Creemore Springs Lager, then that is very boring bunch of taps. Breweries like Pump House and Garrison have some fantastic beers to offer, but their most prevalent ones as mentioned above are not very good. This has so much potential and could change the dismal Charlottetown beer scene drastically, so please don't mess it up by clogging up half your tap list with the most boring and widely available maritime beers. Keep it interesting, and offer sampler flights

    • Diana Krall
      May 13, 2014 - 12:03

      Don't listen to my pretenious, hipster husband Big Barbowski. Ever since he played that gig in Portland with Bon Iver all he does is talk about craft beers and kale recipes. He doesn't seem to relaize businesses are supposed to make money and his taste represents about .0003% of the population.

    • Elvis Costello
      May 13, 2014 - 21:27

      My dearest Diana, You underestimate the size and the growth rate of the very loyal customer base that is the craft beer drinker, and also the speed at which new converts can be created upon being exposed to a great and interesting tap selection through sampler flights. Also being the first bar in the province with an innovative and good tap selection has added marketing value. Only a fool would think it's an either-or scenario and that pleasing those who appreciate good beer would be less profitable than disappointing them. Those seasonal kegs would disappear in no time at all, and rotating new offerings weekly brings the loyal customers back like nothing else. Your ideas are as bland as your music

  • don
    May 11, 2014 - 17:32

    how many island tax dollars are going into this ?

    • Duuuuuh
      May 11, 2014 - 21:31

      How stupid are these comments? 1) there are zero tax dollars going into this, you moron. 2) you didn't try the food "last weekend" because it hasn't been open. 3) every bar in town has draft beer. Get over yourself. 4). John Brown's is too long?? Brownz? Really? I know the guardian comments are usually a lesson in a failing education system but this is just ridiculous.

  • The Observer from Stratford
    May 11, 2014 - 11:37

    Bit surprised. Globe seemed to be doing well but I guess what I could see when I looked in wasn't a true reflection of business reality. Good luck with the new venture.

  • beerman
    May 11, 2014 - 10:46

    Regarding carbonating beer, kegs and bottles. Most domestic brew sold from kegs (draft beer) is shipped from the brewery to distribution warehouse then to the serving bar as unpastureized product. It is simply filtred and chilled . It is meant to be consumed rather quickly as fresh beer and must be kept below 10C to ensure none of the dormant bacteria (yeasts) that are not completly filtered out reactivate. If the unpasturixed bee gets warm again it can become off flavor . Most modern commercial beer is force carbonated in the bright tank, this is where it goes after its journey from the fermenter and through filtration before bottling or kegging, I cant think of anyone using bottle carbonation a la homebrew. Most peoples bad experience with poor draight bees lies in how it was stored and transported, It likely left the brewery loading dock in fine form. So heres hoping to a new venue that respects the craft of fine beers and ales. I've enjoyed the pumphouse special beers at Hunters and look forward to trying more variety this summer on Vic row.

  • PEI bar association
    May 11, 2014 - 10:06

    Looks like a nice bar..hopefully a better idea than the last.. But please!!! Shorten that name..no islander even has the patience for that..like the Mr.Gabes pub in Montague..shorten it Maybe Browns or Brownz

    • The Observer from Stratford
      May 11, 2014 - 14:29

      If it is successful it will become known as Browns pretty quickly. If not ...

  • Same old is new again
    May 11, 2014 - 08:13

    So you ripped out all the original woodwork which screams history now you're going to put pictures on the walls reminiscing..of what you destroyed. Hope the food gets better as the other places don't have :quality" food

    • Really
      May 13, 2014 - 01:25

      Really?!?! You are concerned over the historic look inside a bar when half of Charlottetown looks like a meth lab?

    • trust me
      May 13, 2014 - 05:39

      there wasnt one peice of "original " woodwork in the globe from any of the previous places that building used to be

  • Shawn O'grady
    May 11, 2014 - 00:30

    I hope it turns out good explains why the the food has been at half par last weekend when I was there

  • Interested
    May 10, 2014 - 23:11

    Interested to see the look of the new bar.. I was part of the renovations that took place when it became the globe. Interested to see the new look

  • scott
    May 10, 2014 - 19:31

    Nobody asked you to, and quite frankly nobody really cares if you dont.

  • James
    May 10, 2014 - 18:14

    please consider serving barnone beer on tap :)

  • Rob
    May 10, 2014 - 16:26

    Mr Barber you are a very stand up guy and I cannot wait to eat and drink at your newly renovated restaurant!

  • chrisc
    May 10, 2014 - 14:47

    Finally! Looking forward to it!

  • Good Luck
    May 10, 2014 - 12:29

    I wouldnt walk across the street for draft beer

    • Thanks
      May 10, 2014 - 16:57

      Great all the more for me.

    • Morgan
      May 10, 2014 - 18:56

      Take a second and give your head a shake, there is no difference between carbonating a beer in a keg and dispensing it through a tap and carbonating a beer in a bottle and pouring it! Both could be cheap and gross, or both could be top shelf. Many of fine beers can be put on tap, as well as plenty of cheap not worth drinking stuff which you must have had to turn you off! Don't let cheap bars and their low quality draft turn you off from some of the finer tapped beers you can experience!!