Friskee Pearl Bar and Eatery will open in 2023 replacing the old Earls on Main location at 191 Main Street.

The first Earls arrived in Winnipeg in 1986 on St. James across from Polo Park. It was so popular that more were built including the Earls at 191 Main Street in 1994. For quite some time, it was the highest revenue Earls in town and one of the highest in Canada. Most people in town warned Earls that Main Street would be a failure. They couldn’t be more wrong. Instead, it was the 2006 Earls on Pembina that struggled and was eventually closed.

It goes to show that conventional wisdom was wrong for Earls on Main. For a time, there was a lot of foot traffic between a few places along Main. Earls, Grapes, Blue Note and Times Change(d) High and Lonesome Club defied that dire prediction. Today, Times Change(d) remains and Blue Note is a vibrant summer outdoor place.

As for Earls, the city rejected a height change for a complete reconstruction at their location at 191 Main Street so they moved to a 6000 foot location in the new 300 Main Street tower, the tallest building in Winnipeg. This has left their 191 Main location across the street waiting for its next incarnation. The wait won’t be much longer.

The owner of King’s Head Pub Chris Graves is behind the renovations going on at the old Earls on Main. The Friskee Pearl Bar and Eatery is tentatively scheduled to open sometime in February of 2023. Make no mistake, the building is large inside with 240 seats inside and 140 outside. The menu is Maritimes pub style with local drinks and east coast foods. Graves used to live out east originally so knows something about the cuisine. His long time presence in the Exchange District should inform his choices at Earls old location.

Earls proved over many years that the location at 191 Main was a lively space to go before attending concerts, Jets games or events at The Forks. We suspect Friskee Pearl Bar and Eatery should meet up with success as well and their opening should coincide with later in the Jets and Moose season and might prove popular during play-off season.

This has been a guest editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations