A Nelson businessman plans to re-open The Royal this month as a family restaurant and all-ages entertainment spot.
Dale Arsenault, owner of Boomtown Sports Emporium, decided to take over the former music venue because he was tired of seeing it closed.
“I’m doing this as a community service,” he explained. “Everyone’s really missed The Royal since it closed, including me, and I thought rather than wait indefinitely for somebody to come along to run the place, I’d just do it myself.”
Arsenault managed bars and restaurants for 25 years in the Okanagan, prior to moving to the Kootenays, where he wanted to raise his kids. He opened Boomtown, a used sporting equipment store, in 1996 and vowed to never again work for anyone but himself.
Though he’s leasing The Royal from building owner Luke Menkes, he’ll have full control of what is done with the space. Right now it’s set up as a restaurant, with a food-primary liquor license, but eventually he’d like to get a liquor-primary license that would allow him to have more live music and DJs in the evenings.
“Initially any entertainment we have, people will have to watch from their tables. The liquor laws say we can’t have dancing or karaoke or pool tables — the things you usually find at a bar — until we have the proper license,” Arsenault said.
He also can’t refer to the business as a pub and had to remove an old florescent sign from the building that said “Royal Blues Pub.”
While he’s working through the process of getting a different license, The Royal will function as a restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily from 9 a.m. to midnight.
During the day, the stage will be set up temporarily as a kids zone with toys for little ones to enjoy while their parents are eating.
The toys will go away for a few evenings per week when there will be live entertainment on the stage, including performances by local bands, open mic nights and dinner theatre.
“There’s so much creativity in this town that I want to showcase that here,” Arsenault said, noting he also wants to host rotating exhibits of local artwork on the wall.
“There’s endless opportunity for what the place could be used for and I’m definitely open to new ideas,” he said. “I want it to be somewhere everyone in the community can enjoy.”
Arsenault has yet to select an official opening date for The Royal. For updates, see facebook.com/theroyalonbaker.