(this blog entry has been updated)
Raise the Hammer has learned that the city has denied two requests for patios: at Mick's Irish Pub on James North and the Corktown Pub on Young Street.
According to a local resident I spoke with in Corktown, the city sent out their notice of application, and as is usually the case, the only people who replied were a dozen or so residents who didn't like the idea.
We constantly hear about Hamilton infamous red tape and un-friendly treatment of businesses. This is another prime example.
From what I understand, the folks who have renovated and own each of these bars are the same folks who own Slainte Irish Pub on Bowen Street.
Perhaps City Hall would rather have the old Corktown Tavern back (which was a far bigger negative in that neighbourhood than a patio will ever be) along with the divey Gennessee Tavern on James North and the abandoned, boarded-up space at John and Augusta which is being lovingly restored.
In each case, including Slainte, fabulous buildings full of Hamilton history have been restored and brought back to life. Why are we so quick to give millions of dollars to companies that let downtown properties rot like the Connaught Hotel and Lister Block, or enter into lease deals with crummy properties like the City Centre that are an embarrassment to our city?
A group of local pubs comes along and does great work pumping a ton of money into our city and we thank them by rolling out the NIMBY, red-tape carpet.
I'd love to see the owners of these establishments slap up plywood across some of the windows and allow these buildings to fall into disrepair with large notices on the front door directing complaints to City Hall.
Maybe only then when these properties become the constant scene of fires, crime, drug dealing and bricks falling onto city sidewalks will City Hall offer them support.
It's a real shame that our city operates like this. We reward the groups that cost us money and investment while chasing away those who spend their own money to enhance our neighbourhoods and city as a whole.
Slainte and The Corktown are nothing short of absolutely well-run, classy establishments. To deny them a basic patio request that will give local residents a great spot to relax in the summer in perplexing.
It's even more perplexing when you consider the fact that we previously gave patio licenses to the fine folks operating the C.D. Martini Lounge on James North and C.D. Club on Ottawa Street.
Mayor Fred has a lot of work ahead of him if he thinks he can change the culture at City Hall. Clearly, it is still completely screwed up.
Update: this blog entry originally included the soon-to-open Gallaghers Bar at John and Augusta. However, we have learned that their application has not actually been denied. Raise the Hammer regrets the error.