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Downtown pub and music hall owners decide to call it a day

Published on

Cathy Dobson

It definitely feels like déjà vu.

But this time, there’s a happy ending.

Tom and Marian Bunton have sold their restaurant and concert hall at 146 and 148 Christina St. North after 18 years in the downtown core.

Before the Buntons purchased it in 2000, their building housed several inns, galleries, eateries, and even a strip joint over its 85-year history.  It occupies a key piece of downtown real estate and could play a part in revitalization, given its large size and proximity to Bayside mall, which is expected to begin redevelopment soon.

During the Buntons’ tenure, the 9,000-square-foot building housed The Ravenous Gastropub – later The Pub – and the 150-seat Trinity Lounge, a popular concert hall.

“Marian and I got the building in 2000 at a very good price because the whole downtown was in bad shape,” said Tom. “We weren’t afraid to take it on and, in the last five years, we’ve seen a huge resurgence downtown.

“I think it’s going to be good for the new owner.”

Local realtor Mark Woolsey has purchased the building. Woolsey also owns 140 Christina St. North, a three-storey downtown anchor at the other end of the block that once housed Taylor’s Furniture.

Woolsey converted 140 Christina into new office space and a downtown market last year. He said he has no plans to tear down 146 and 148 Christina.

“It needs some new life,” Woolsey said, but was short on details. He said he plans to partner with a friend to operate a restaurant on the main floor and wants to continue offering live music upstairs in the hall.

“We still need to come up with a firm plan,” Woolsey said. “The front restaurant will likely close for a few months but I hope to keep the Trinity open.”

As the closing date for the real estate deal approached last week, the Buntons were on edge, having been through a failed attempt to sell their business two years ago.

They were ready to retire and had the RV set to pull out of the driveway in 2016. But that deal fell through with a developer who ultimately disappointed a number of downtown property owners by announcing big plans for Bayside Centre that never transpired.

It was a bitter time, especially since the Buntons had sold off their restaurant equipment and stripped the building.

They had no choice but to resurrect the restaurant and get back to work.

“This time, we’re taking a little less for the building and leaving a lot more here for Mark,” said Tom.

“But we’re very happy and we want to thank everyone for all the good years here.”




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