By Jeni Marinucci
The Trailer Park Boys have long been a mainstay of alternative, somewhat purposefully lowbrow Canadian television. On air for over 12 years, the three men and the Nova Scotian trailer park characters they portray – Ricky, Julian and Bubbles – have found a niche in the Canadian market and it has now extended beyond digital media. Yes, the “boys” are branching out and they have their eyes set firmly on the restaurant and bar industry.
And why not? It seems logical. The men already have their own whisky label (Liquormen’s Ol’ Dirty Canadian Whisky) and a “Freedom 35” beer. And anyone who’s heard of the boys or watched more than five minutes of the show will quickly understand the brand’s natural tie in with marijuana, and they’d be correct: the group will be partnering with the brand Organigram once legalized pot becomes law, furthering their empire. And now, The Globe and Mail reports that the men have purchased a restaurant holding in Halifax:
“Along with Gary Howsam, producer of the hit television show, and Halifax bar owner Brad Hartlin, the Trailer Park Boys have bought up the Halifax landmark Economy Shoe Shop Cafe and Bar from local businessman Victor Syperek. In the same deal, the business partners also acquired the former Seahorse Tavern space, a live-music venue located below the Shoe Shop, and brokered the joint ownership of the Toothy Moose cabaret upstairs, previously co-owned by Smith (Bubbles) and Hartlin.”
25 per cent of the venues will maintain ownership by Hartlin, and the combined space of the locations comes in at 18,000 square feet – a sizeable portion of the popular downtown section of Argyle Street in Halifax. The locations are currently undergoing renovations but that isn’t interfering with confidence on the part of the group. Smith says of the current construction state, “Right now it sucks that it’s under construction and the street is closed, but when it’s done we’re going to have a permanent patio. It will be the premier location in downtown Halifax.”
While fans will likely find nods towards Trailer Park Boys at the locations, there are no plans in place to turn them into full-scale theme restaurants. Good thing – not many people would be interested in paying $15 for an entrée cooked on the engine block of an old Buick.