Corky’s asks for 2 a.m. closing

A Chilliwack establishment on Yale Road that calls itself a "soft alternative" to the local nightclubs, is applying for a later closing time.

An establishment on Yale Road that calls itself a “soft alternative” to the local nightclubs, is applying for a later closing time.

When Corky’s first opened its doors as an Irish pub and sports bar more than two years ago, the owners were allowed to open at 9 a.m. for sporting events — in exchange for shutting the taps down at 1 a.m.

It was on the heels of gang-related shootings that shocked the community of Chilliwack, during the time the club was known as Tornado Joe’s.

City officials were trying to clamp down on the violence by encouraging a 1 a.m. bar closing time.

Building owner Bob Harms was quoted in The Progress saying the previous night club business in his building had become “problematic” since becoming “overrun” by gangs. He said it took about half a million in renovations to reopen the pub in a new format for an older clientele.

Flash forward to 2011.

The owners of Corky’s Bar and Grill now want to “reinstate” the later closing time to 2 a.m. with a formal application to make it a permanent change to their liquor licence.

Being able to give their clientele “a longer dispersal time” was cited in a letter to council by applicants Bob and Pauline Harms by way of explanation, along with the desire to retain those customers longer, who tend to leave for area bars that are open an hour later.

Corky’s has also been involved with the Upper Fraser Valley Bar Watch Committee since its inception and continues to be an active member in good standing.

“We have noticed that since the liquor laws changed to the .05, more people want to use taxis, and we would like to encourage them to do that,” the Harms wrote in a letter to support their application. “Having a longer dispersal time makes it easier to fulfill our responsibility to our patrons.”

The Harms said they’ve owned the property since 1982 when it was the Blue Unicorn and closed at 2 a.m. Over the years it has been leased out to various tenants and operators.

“We feel that we have been able to prove ourselves in the two and a half years

and that Corky’s is operated in a very responsible manner,” the owners wrote.

A public information meeting at city hall is set for April 19 at 7 p.m. to provide council with feedback from the public on the proposed change of hours.