'End of an era': Edmontonians say goodbye to Mercer Tavern
Edmonton’s locally owned gastropub known as Mercer Tavern is closing its doors at the end of the month.
After 10 years of being a staple feature in Edmonton’s core, Mercer Tavern announced in a social media post on Thursday that it would be closing Aug. 31.
The tavern, located on 10363 104 St., opened in 2012 and is housed in the Mercer Warehouse, a historic building built in 1911 to store liquor and cigars. The four-storey brick building now serves as an entrepreneurial hub for the city.
“This was an extremely hard personal decision by the owner and does not reflect whatsoever on the amazing job the management and staff have been doing. We appreciate them all so much,” read the post.
Sitting directly across from Rogers Place in the heart of the Ice District, the pub is known for its rustic-chic environment and live music. The tavern was part of Edmonton’s Downtown Live summer series featuring live performances at various venues across the city.
Devin Pope, owner of Mercer Tavern, said after successfully maneuvering the COVID-19 pandemic, it was time for the business to see a change.
Calgary’s Home and Away Bar is expected to take over Sept. 1, bringing an elevated sports-club focusing on good eats, local beers, and local music. The concept is similar to Mercer’s and therefore was a “no brainer” for Pope.
Embracing a new opportunity with Home and Away, Pope says the change will be very special for the Mercer Warehouse.
“It is going to be high-energy. We are going to have games, lots of good viewing for sports, and great music,” said Pete Emes, partner at Home and Away. “It is going to be the trifecta of music, sports, and friends that we adhere to at the Calgary location.”
“I think they are the right people to come in and really do some special things for downtown Edmonton. It is actually a very exciting thing,” Pope said.
Pete says the Mercer Warehouse is a perfect building for the new bar.
“It is such a great heritage space and that location in Edmonton has such a charm about it,” he said.
The closure of the tavern drew a heavy response from Edmontonians.
“It drew quite a bit of tears to my eyes yesterday. I didn’t really realize how many special memories people had over the years,” said the owner. “The amount of time I read “end of an era” was something really special to see for myself and also for my family -- to see what contribution we’ve had to the community.”
“It has been sad but it is also a really exciting new chapter,” he added.
Sarmad Rizvi, partner at Home and Away, says the establishment is expected to be open for the hockey season.
“We are huge fans of the Mercer so we are really honoured to be partnering with them. It is a heritage building, it is a historic space, so we are honoured to have it passed on to us,” said Rizvi.