817 sports bar toronto

Toronto bar permanently closes in Toronto and blames failure on lockdowns

A Toronto sports bar has announced that due to lockdowns and restrictions, they're now permanently closed.

"817 Sports Bar & Grill has permanently closed due to pandemic stresses," the bar posted to their Instagram account. "We thank everyone for their patronage and support."

The sports bar showed all the games on big screen TVs, and served stick-to-your-ribs pub food like massive burgers and pitchers of beer.

"The owner could not see a path moving forward with the rent and wage subsidies that ended in October which was helping us carry on business as we are all struggling to rebuild customer trust and patronage," 817 general manager Dave Auger.

"The subsidies were our lifeline to make it into the new year as our customers continue to return to watch the Leafs, Raptors and more. Operating costs, even though brought to the bare minimum with a skeleton staff, were not sustainable without the subsidies to make it past the holidays."

The bar was first opened in March 2019, and had to go into lockdown just five days before their one-year anniversary party.

In summer 2020, they were able to operate for nine weeks, which Auger says were really more like five, as indoor dining was banned for the last four and it was too cold for their patio to be viable in October.

"This summer, we had from June 11 to our last day, November 21," says Auger.

"We made a lot of friends who supported and patronized our beautiful venue who are extremely saddened by the sudden closure."

Though it was only open for three short years, and not open in the way it was meant to be for two of them, over that time the bar still forged partnerships in the community with groups like MLSE, Toronto Gay Hockey Association, Toronto Gay Football League and Jam Sports.

New owner Angelo Chomatas will be taking over the 817 space in January to rebrand it into a pub. He's owned The Cat Pub for the last seven years, and is hoping to open The Cat on Q in the 817 space in January.

He's planning on keeping a neighbourhood sports bar vibe, and having live bands, karaoke and DJs.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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