The Distillery Public House to reopen at new location, with new atmosphere

Mark Russell (left) and Sean Close pose for a photo behind the bar at the new Distillery located at 739 2 Ave S.W., which should be open mid-February.
Ian Lemke, The Press

After losing its old location due to lease disputes, The Distillery Public House is about to open its doors once again.

The third installment of The Distillery at 739 2 ave S.W. is expected to be fully operational in the first few weeks of February, though no official opening date has been announced.

At about half the size of the old building on 6avenue and 7 street S.W., the new “D” will have a more pub-like feel, serving food and draft beer this time around.

“We’re totally stoked,” says co-owner Sean Close, who notes that the new location provides several advantages over the old one, such as proximity to the river, and a short distance to the C-Train, rather than being literally on the 6th street platform.

“That was a problem on the C-Train platform…you’ve got random drunks picking fights with our crowd that are just coming up the platform.”

“We probably won’t have as much of a homeless problem out here,” adds Mark Russell. The two co-own the bar along with Philly Roach.

One drawback of the smaller venue is the inability to host the “magnitude” of bands according to Close. Instead, the smaller room will cater to local acts, and save the louder music for Friday and Saturday nights.

“We won’t be going for loud is proud, we’re going to go for quality so you can hear it nicely.”

This means The Distillery will occupy a slightly different niche in the underground music scene, passing on major festivals such as Noctis, but providing a place for local bands and smaller visiting acts to play, and enjoy a handmade “middle finger burger” while they’re at it.

Beginning with a “soft open” sometime in February, Russell and Close plan to officially kick off the new “D” with a grand opening sometime in March, the purpose being an initial feeling out period with the neighbours.

“I hope the neighbourhood, all the residential around here I hope they accept us in, I know they didn’t accept the last place that was in here,” says Close. With a five year lease already signed, getting off on the right foot with the community is crucial.

“I feel our crowds are respectable enough, we’re here to do our thing, we hang out, we like tunes, hopefully they’ll embrace it and come down and enjoy it with us.”

“Here’s to a few,” Russell adds,

“And here’s to a few more.”

About Ian Lemke 4 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Ian Lemke worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2012-2013 academic year.