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Part owner of Bobby's Place, Robert Haakenson

 

From Fanny’s Fabric, to night clubs like the Drink and Pure Ultra Lounge, 2044 Dewdney Avenue has been the location of several businesses over the years but Bobby’s Place is here to stay, according part-owner Robert Haakenson.

 

According to Regina’s Warehouse Business Improvement District, there are over 550 businesses in the area, and executive director Sandy Doran said that “most seem to be doing very well.”

 

Doran thinks that Bobby’s Place fits well with other businesses in the area, mostly because (it is) one more place for food and entertainment (and it) is open for lunch. We have only had positive feedback about Bobby's opening, and have had no complaints.”

 

The warehouse district is the known area in Regina for people to enjoy anything from dancing, to drinking and having good food at places such as Bushwakker Brewpub or McNally’s Tavern.

 

Bobby’s Place has been open since early December and offers a new variety of entertainment on the strip. “We provide great entertainment, a really cool atmosphere, home-cooked cuisine, (and) we have a phenomenal whisky selection and phenomenal draft selection,” said Haakenson.

 

The Scottish tavern is the second one of its kind, the original Bobby’s being in Moose Jaw, which was run by Haakenson’s parents. The decision was obvious for Haakenson to open another location with the growing popularity and the overwhelming number of people coming to trivia nights in Moose Jaw.

 

The warehouse district was the perfect location, in Haakenson’s opinion. “We recognized Bushwakkers as a strong pub. Whereas most people would say (they’re) competition, we would argue it’s collaboration,” said Haakenson. He wanted to surround himself in an already-established area and 2044’s past did not affect his decision at all.

 

However, the previous manager of Pure Ultra Lounge, Yaya Wang, said the warehouse district doesn’t work for every business. Wang thinks it is difficult for a business such as a night club to thrive in a small place like Regina.

 

“It has low foot traffic and things are spaced out quite sparsely,” said Wang. In her opinion, for a business to be successful in this area, it must fit a different model than a night club.

Haakenson agreed with this point and said that “night clubs are a dying breed.”

 

For Haakenson, it’s all about family tradition. He grew up having parties in his kitchen with many instruments, loud music, with no shortage of scotch. He watched his parents manage Bobby’s Place in Moose Jaw and wanted to carry on the torch.

 

Haakenson wanted to let his parents enjoy being grandparents, and decided to take the tavern to Regina. The name Bobby is a tribute to his grandfather and he continues to honour him through keeping customers happy.

 

“When someone walks in the door, my bartender is already pouring their pint. He knows what they have,” said Haakenson.

 

The tavern serves offers 20 import beers from all over the world, over a hundred single malt whiskies, which does not include bourbons and Canadian or Irish whiskies, and offers entertainment such as bagpipe playing and other bands from across Canada.

 

Brenda Williams, who goes to Bobby’s Place on the weekends with her friends, said it’s important to support local businesses. “My experience there the first time was amazing. I really enjoyed the pipe band there (and) the food was [also] amazing. I would absolutely recommend it,” Williams said. When she goes to the tavern she feels welcome from the atmosphere and the location does not seem to be an issue for her, either.

 

“The (previous bars) were all for young people. This is for young and old and everyone is more welcome,” she said.