After 111 years of open doors and fun parties like Drag Bingo, German Sparkle Parties, Mr.Royals and jam nights, Fernie’s iconic Royal Bar is permanently closing its doors, having been issued a 60 day notice to end tenancy on Sep. 1.
The closure rides on the back of new ownership, a group from Calgary who purchased the building – The Royal Hotel- in May 2019 with plans for renovations for the entire building.
According to Julie Comete, operator of the Royal Bar, they were about to continue operating while the new owners acquired the permits required to renovate the historic building.
Though the Royal was able to operate throughout summer, Comete said that the busiest time of the year for the business was winter, and it was a shame they couldn’t stay open longer.
“It depends on the business. For me as a bar, busy season starts in September when the ski bums start coming to town.”
Though Comete was hoping they would be able to run throughout the upcoming winter, due to capacity limitations and the potential for enforced closures, Comete said the winter would have posed significant struggles for the Royal Bar.
“The Royal opened in 1909, and it has stayed very similar to what it’s always been,” said Comete.
“70 year olds have come to the bar saying it hasn’t changed, reminiscing on when they used to line up outside the door on Friday nights. It holds many many years of memories that are not gone, but that are going to change.”
Comete recognizes that the new owners have the best intentions, and wishes them good luck with their endeavour.
“They are doing their best with what they have and what they know, and they are trying to navigate through this as well and do the right thing, which is not easy when you are changing a building people love.”
Locals can savour what remains of the Royal Bar’s events for the remainder of September, and potentially into October with more information to come.
“I’m calling it because if we could have big parties I would definitely stay open ’til the end, but we can’t. It’s really hard to operate the Royal Bar with COVID-19 standards.”
“It’s hard to see it go, but as someone said, you need old doors to close in order for new ones to open, so I am staying positive that something just as good will come.”
For updates on future events and an official closing date, visit the Royal Bar’s Facebook page.