Photo by Joel Charlebois/Torontoist.
Last night—or rather, in the very early hours of this morning—a rumour popped up on Reddit that the infamous, infraction-prone, supposedly shut-down-for-good Green Room was open once again. A call today seemed to confirm this: we spoke with an employee of the Green Room a few moments ago who answered their regular phone line and told us that the bar is open from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.; longer hours may be forthcoming soon, and all further questions were met with an “I’m not sure.”
The circumstances which led to the Green Room’s apparent reopening remain very much a mystery. As noted by OpenFile Toronto editor David Topping, who originally began covering the Green Room story for Torontoist last fall, even the bar’s ownership is not yet clear:
No new business licence is yet publicly listed for the Green Room. (It being the Sunday of a holiday long weekend, the Municipal Licensing & Standards offices, which handle such things, are closed. So are Toronto Public Health’s.) There are no licences listed as being in Dat Nguyen Au’s name, or in the name of either William Pham or Noc Elissa Pham, the father-daughter team that the City long suspected of being the Green Room’s real owners.
Ian McPhail, the lawyer who represented Au at the tribunal hearing is no longer representing the Green Room’s owners, he tells OpenFile, and so he doesn’t know, either. “I was retained for that hearing, but that was all.” Did McPhail have any involvement after the October 14 hearing? “None whatsoever.”
As we reported back in October, the popular Annex bar had been having grave and consistent problems adhering to health and food safety regulations:
On September 22, Toronto Public Health shut the Green Room down. For the fourth time in two years, the popular Annex hangout had failed its health inspection—two times more than any of the sixteen thousand other restaurants, bars, and “premises” that fall under Toronto Public Health’s purview…
Since December 23, 2008, the Green Room has amassed no fewer than eighty-six cited health infractions from Toronto Public Health’s Food Safety Program, all collected in their DineSafe Establishment Inspection Report. Of that staggering number, fifteen infractions are in the “critical” category, the most severe and serious; these cover things like “fail[ing] to ensure food is not contaminated/adulterated” (in the Green Room’s case, twice), “fail[ing] to prevent a rodent infestation” (also twice), and “fail[ing] to wash hands when required” (once).
A few days later, the Green Room lost its licence in a hearing held by the Toronto Licensing Tribunal.
Since then and until this weekend, all had been quiet on that stretch of Brunswick, with no word about what would happen to the location or what its owners were up to.
A quick check of City records this morning turned up this DineSafe inspection record:
The DineSafe inspection record for the Green Room as of February 20, 2011.
After a conditional pass on February 15—with a range of minor and significant infractions noted, including a failure to provide adequate pest control—the Green Room was re-inspected on February 17, and passed.
Thanks to OpenFile Toronto for sharing excerpts of their story with us. You can read their complete article on the Green Room here.