'We're going to miss it': Winnipeggers speak on Palomino Club closure
Published Tuesday, October 6, 2015 7:37PM CST Last Updated Wednesday, October 7, 2015 6:56PM CST
A popular Winnipeg nightclub is set to close, but will most likely resurface downtown.
The Palomino Club will shut down in early 2016 to make room for condominiums. It will hold its last bash Saturday, January 2.
The Pal has been a Portage Avenue landmark since it opened in 1988 as a predominantly country bar. Over the years, it has attracted many celebrities, professional athletes and even hosted weddings for customers who met there.
"It is very sad. We're going to miss it," said Maureen Allan, a former regular at the Pal.
That's where she met her husband and many other people who became lifelong friends.
"The Pal felt like home,” said Allan. "When you came in, it was like that Cheers thing where everybody knows your name. Well everybody knew your name and they made you feel at home all of the time."
Customers aren't the only one's mourning the impending closure.
Musician Josh Ayers said the Palomino Club helped a lot of musicians like him get a toe-hold in the business.
"They always took a chance,” said Ayers. “ They would book bands they hadn't heard before necessarily and if they liked you, they'd bring you back."
The club owns the piece of land on Portage between Goulding and Minto streets, which includes a former chiropractic clinic. It's working with a local developer to turn the property into condos. Managing partner Cary Paul said it made financial sense to develop the land into condos and find a newer venue for the club to expand.
Paul said this likely won’t be the end for the institution, as he owns the name.
He and other partners are currently in negotiations to open The World Famous Palomino Pub and Club in downtown Winnipeg across from MTS Centre, a two-level establishment that would have the same atmosphere as the current location.
The target opening date is the first week of February so they could be in business for the last third of the NHL season.
Paul hopes to retain his staff, as many have worked at the Pal for decades.
One possible location downtown is 323 Portage Avenue, the former site of 4Play Sports Bar. The bar closed at the end of 2012 and though the building had been considered for other entertainment concepts, remains vacant.