“Sometimes you wanna go
Where everybody knows your name
and they're always glad you came.”
- lyrics from the TV series "Cheers"
Those lines sum up the feelings people have when they explain why they love “the Jug.”
The Jug is The Smugglers Jug in the basement of Canadas Best Value Inn and Suites on Capital Drive in Charlottetown.
It has been a fixture since the late '60s and motel manager Nancy Leslie said she has been told by an inspector for the P.E.I. Liquor Control Commission that it is one of oldest bars still operating in the Charlottetown area.
It has a loyal clientele who have been coming to the establishment since they were of legal drinking age and, if truth be known, some were not exactly honest about their age when asked at the door. But the bar was the hot spot so some kids did what had to be done to get inside.
It is being moved upstairs to the main floor of the motel because it would be too costly to renovate it to meet fire safety codes, Leslie said. The new place should be open in February and the Jug will remain open until then.
Leslie said the owners are undecided if the name will move with the bar or if a new one will be chosen.
But one thing is certain and that is the décor will be different and the new digs may be a bit smaller.
Some of the longtime patrons have made it clear they would like to have some of the unique decorations to take home for their own rec rooms. Someone has even expressed an interest in the wooden bar because it has the names of some drinkers carved into the well-worn wood. A model ship on the wall also has someone’s name on it.
The management is unsure what will happen to the old bar’s knickknacks.
Leslie said she is uncertain of the full history of the Jug and the motel, but says it was given to the late David Rodd and his wife by Rodd’s father, Wally, in the 1970s. Then it was named The Rodd Confederation Inn and Suites.
The current owners, Bill and Kathy McInnis of Summerside, bought the motel five years ago.
Leslie said there were a lot of memories made in the Jug and at least one marriage was the result of an outing to the bar.
Allan and Debbie Aten of Springvale, met at the Jug more than 30 years ago.
“We never met before that night,” Allan said in an interview Saturday night during the bar’s celebration of its looming closure. Old timers came to reminiscence and relive old memories and to hoist a beer or two.
Aten said they danced and had a few drinks that night, but it was seven years before they tied the knot. They still visit the bar several times a year.
“We used to come here every week pretty near, 30 years ago,” Aten said.