MyBar to close after a decade

MyBar first opened in the summer of 2002. It will close for good on Saturday.
MyBar first opened in the summer of 2002. It will close for good on Saturday.

After 10 years at its 347 Princess St. location, MyBar will see its last partygoers tomorrow night.

“At the end of 10 years I thought it best to just retire the brand and call it a day and see what comes up in the future,” owner Gavin Stainton said. “I feel like it’s run its course. It’s done way more than I ever expected it was going to do.”

Stainton said he’s closing MyBar for a fresh start.

“It’s been pretty consuming for 10 years, I’m a little older now than when I opened the place so it’s a different market for me,” he said.

Stainton said in the past two years, sales hit a plateau. On its busiest nights, MyBar meets its capacity of 149 people, but on weeknights this has proven less likely.

With the exception of special events, the nightclub has never charged cover.

“I don’t feel like people should have to pay for the privilege just to come into a club if the club’s not doing anything,” Stainton said, adding that this helped broaden MyBar’s clientele.

“For the most part over the 10 years, we saw growth and improvement almost every single year,” he said. “At the end of the day MyBar could last for another 10 years and still be profitable.” Over the years, Stainton said the bar hasn’t had any issues with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario that regulates alcohol sales.

Stainton opened MyBar at the age of 24, after spending two and a half years in the Queen’s Commerce program.

“I was doing a bit of research even before I knew I was going to be in the bar business,” he said. “I felt that if I was spending money for a degree that I wasn’t really paying attention to … I was going to find something else to focus on that was going to drive me.”

Stainton left Queen’s and never returned to graduate. As a Kingston native, he channeled his time into Kingston commerce, first working at the now-defunct S & R and then as a bartender.

“Honestly it was just a kind of strange twist of fate that right as that place was closing up there was an ad in the paper that said ‘Bar for sale,’ ” he said.

MyBar was first envisioned as a wood-paneled bar with cheap pitchers.

“Basically it was supposed to be just a comfortable place to hang out, have a pitcher of beer and watch the game,” he said. “We’ve kind of evolved over the years into a nightclub with DJs, and a dance floor.”

With annual customer turnover, Stainton said building new clientele is always a priority.

“We’ve had years where you’ll lose a whole lot of regulars who graduate and all of a sudden you’ve got to start building new clientele again,” he said. “That’s the nature of being in a student town.” MyBar currently has 20 employees.

“The staff have been really understanding that it’s a change of times and not a decision I made lightly but it’s something where unfortunately when any business closes, people are kind of sent off to find other things.”

Stainton co-owns the Alibi at 293 Princess St.


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