Saint John’s new after-hours bar without the booze expects to fill void


The first legal after-hours club in Saint John in more than five years, and the only one in the Maritimes, according to the owner, is about to open its doors.

Owner Kevin Dobson says the new venue, Foundations, is a return to form.

“There’s a lot of love in this space,” he said, standing at the end of the long, open Sydney Street space.

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Dobson owned Nitro, an after-hours club on South Market Street that closed in the late 2000s.

He also owned the old Club Montreal, in the same location. It’s where he and his wife had their first date.

This time, however, Dobson hopes the bar’s life span stretches further.

“That went for a while,” he said, talking about Nitro, “but with people having babies and stuff, it kind of slowed down.”

Over saturation of venues in the past

In the past, Saint John seemed saturated with after-hours places but they all eventually ran their course, with the last of them shutting their doors five or six years ago.

“Now there’s nothing again,” said Shawn Justason Carhart, who will help run the business for Dobson. “So we thought we’d open the doors.”

Dobson and his team believe Saint John and the province not only want a venue but they will also benefit from it.

“If you talk to DJs,” said Carhart, “everyone loves to play Saint John.”

“There is no after-hours place in the Maritimes, to be perfectly honest, and so I think it’s a really cool idea to bring people into Saint John., bump up the economy.”

Foundations, the new after-hours venue, will open at 1 a.m. on Aug. 13. (Joseph Tunney/CBC)

The rules are simple.

Like most after-hours venues, Foundations is not allowed to sell alcohol of any kind. Just energy drinks, water, pop and juice.

“We will be checking to make sure that doesn’t come in,” Carhart said of alcohol. “We’re super tight on things like that.”

Despite this, the club will also ban anyone under the legal drinking age from entering.

The business will run between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. Sundays to catch the Saturday night crowd.

The plan is to play electronic music, Carhart said, with DJs coming through to play their sets. The owners want it to feel like a bar, just without the booze.

Noise pollution not a concern

The venue also has to obey noise bylaws, but not being in a residential zone, Dobson said, that’s easy enough.

“As long as we’re not disturbing anyone, that shouldn’t be an issue.”

His only real neighbours are the strip club Blush, which he owns, and the J.D. Irving, Limited building  on Union Street.

Unless there’s a late-night worker at the office building, Dobson’s team doesn’t see sound pollution as a problem.

“We would invite them over,” Carhart said, laughing.

The owner has been in touch with the Saint John police and told them he plans a clean, fun environment.

The venue opens in the early morning of Aug. 13.

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