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Tired 8th Avenue Building Gets A Facelift

Compared to not so many years ago Stephen Avenue is looking just great; a welcoming, safe and
pleasant pedestrian outdoor mall. The variety and quality of shops and restaurants is much improved
and work is beginning on one of the last eyesores that will make it even better.

I refer to the two-storey building next to Flames Central that was rebuilt in 1963 and for a long time was
a furniture store before being converted into the King Henry VIII pub, on 8th Avenue. The downstairs
used to house the Casa de la Salsa Mexican restaurant and the second floor has long been vacant
office space.

The building is owned by Prime Properties of Montreal, but it had no chance to renovate until the pub’s
lease was up. When Kevin McCann, president of Retail Leasing Services, became aware of the
opportunity to put a new tenant in the space he approached Bob Bradley at The Unicorn pub in the
nearby Lancaster Building and for the past two years they have worked on a new concept.

Through McCann, Bradley’s 1 Horn Developments has secured a lease for the entire building — a
blessing for the owner having to deal with only one tenant. Parchoma & Jones Design was hired to
create a new facade for the 40-foot mall frontage and convert all three floors into The Libertine Public
House on the main and second floors and Below Deck Tavern in the lower level.

The Libertine will have new windows at street level that will fully open to expose it has a public area. It’s
to be a modern bar with lots of craft beers and good food and will feature a copper plate back wall at
the bar from where the taps will protrude, instead of being at the serving area.

Its keg coolers will be exposed through a glass wall to the patrons and 30-litre kegs are used as
hanging light fixtures. A hole has been punched into the ceiling to allow for an interconnecting stairwell
to the all one-room upper floor.

Brett Wynder who has had 14 years of restaurant experience in Calgary is general manager of The
Libertine and Doug Schellenberg is manager/partner of Below Deck.

The tavern that has a separate entrance from the mall will sport a maritime theme and plans to be the
beer and burger leader on Stephen Avenue.

The exterior will bring a new face to the avenue using sandstone block and new sliding windows on the
second level.

The new venture is only half a block from Bradley’s Unicorn pub but the veteran publican feels that they
will complement each other with different customers. Besides his head office staff he provides
employment for 50 at the Unicorn and will hire an additional 80-plus at his two new spots that will open
before summer.