The end of an era in Hudson


PHOTO BY CARMEN MARIE FABIO

Following the forced COVID-19 closure which coincided with the largest money-making day of the year – Hudson’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade – coupled with changes in both consumer habits and local demographics, owner Rob Gale opted to close the historic Château du Lac bar and hotel and the building is now on the market for $2.2 million.

After months of uncertainty given the global pandemic outbreak, shifting demographics, and a change in consumer habits, Rob Gale – owner of Hudson’s historic Château du Lac bar and hotel on Main Road– has opted to put the 146-year-old building on the market.

“Business even before the whole COVID-19 thing wasn't great,” said Gale whose dad, Phil Gale, originally purchased the establishment in 1987. “This was the final nail in the coffin.”

As reported in The Journal June 4, 'The Chat' was about to be purchased by the owners of the 'Ye Olde Orchard Pub' group who already own seven bar restaurants across the province and were planning to add a kitchen and possibly a terrace. Despite launching a Facebook page titled 'Château Orchard' asking potential employees to submit CVs, the deal fell through a short time later.

Though the provincial government had recently allowed bars to reopen following three months in lockdown, Gale watched closely as surges in virus cases rose in direct proportion to social gathering in bars, particularly in the United States.

“Bars are social gathering spots,” he said. “It's impossible to social distance.”

The imposed restrictions mean clients are not allowed to sit at the bar itself – they must be seated at a table. “In a restaurant you can do that,” Gale said. “People go to a restaurant for a specific reason – to eat dinner. How do you control that in a bar?”

Citing concern for the health of his 91-year-old father and for the community itself, Gale felt the best move would be to finally put the building up for sale.

“I don't want to be in the middle of a (virus) resurgence and have anybody in my town die from it, let alone my own family.”

The firm handling the sale is M Immobilier and the asking price for the landmark bar/hotel which originally rented its eight rooms on a weekly basis is $2.2 million. Its current zoning allows for the development of condos, something Gale previously said he was hoping to avoid. The liquor license and Lotto Québec gaming machine license are included in the sale price.

Gale said ideally, a combined bar/restaurant would have worked at the location given the evolution of the bar market but along with the changing demographic of the town, it's a “... whole new dynamic and it's really exciting. It all depends on who has the vision for it.”

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