MANCHESTER - The owner of a bar in the center city, My Friends Bar & Grille, hopes to open a second location at the former Disabled American Veterans hall at the corner of Maple and Silver streets.
Robert Provencher has acquired the building and has undertaken substantial interior renovations for the 41-seat facility.
Provencher said he plans to call the new bar My Friends Pub. It will be a sports bar and have a 9-foot pool table in the middle of it. The kitchen will serve fried chicken that is a hit at My Friends. My Friends is located on Maple Street, across from Central High School.
"I don't need a big place," he said. "It's going to be a nice, small, hopefully family-oriented type of bar that people will enjoy."
The DAV owned the building for years and operated a bar there, one of the few DAV chapters in the country to have one. It closed last November.
Provencher said he has expanded the bar and installed new lights and flooring.
He is now trying to get control of the parking lot, which actually sits on city land, a former railroad right-of-way.
The DAV had a license to use the land from the city. Earlier this week, a committee of aldermen tabled Provencher's request for a similar license, asking city officials to place a value on the property. It's likely to come up again next month.
Without use of the property, Provencher would not be able to meet parking requirements the city has for his business."I'm all for allowing them the use of it, or they don't have a business," Alderman Ron Ludwig said.
Provencher said he should be able to open in about three weeks if he gets to use the city property for parking.
He said he hopes to draw customers from the nearby apartments, including a housing complex for veterans that is going up on Somerville Street. He said he tried to maintain DAV logos in the interior, but the organization refused.
"I'd rather have an older crowd than a totally younger crowd," he said.