The former Q Ball pool hall in the plaza at the corner of Woodlawn and Victoria Roads is reopening Friday under new management and with a new look and name.
“We are hoping to do a good job and to see people coming – local working people and their families to come here to eat and make this a regular place to go,” said Gurdeep Singh owner and manager of Kings Sports Bar & Grill.
The fate of the popular pool hall was uncertain after it abruptly closed a year ago and regulars were forced to find a new place to grab a beer and play a few games of pool.
“Over the past six months while the renovations have been going on, we have had a lot of locals coming by and saying good job, we love it,” said Singh. “We are getting a lot of positive feedback and we are getting a lot of calls from people asking when we’re opening. That alone gives you a good vibe because people are looking forward to us opening and moving forward.”
They have refurbished the billiard tables and expanded the dining area in response to changing demographics and to make it a family-friendly place for new customers as well as regulars who have been visiting the bar for decades.
“The neighbourhood is getting really busy and there are a lot of new young families moving here from Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton and Hamilton and we want to make sure that they are happy,” said Singh. “People have a lot of good memories of this place and we want the local people who have been coming here for a long time to feel welcome to come back as well.”
Singh, his wife and two young sons are among the new families settling in the area and making Guelph their home.
Singh was born in Ludhiana, India the youngest of two brothers.
“I got my BA and my masters of science in information technology in India then I went to Melbourne Australia where I studied hotel management and learned to be a chef,” he said.
He came to Canada for the first time in 2012.
“I first came to Vancouver,” he said. “I stayed there for five months then I went back to India.”
He had hoped to establish business connections and start his own business.
“I am from a manufacturing family,” said Singh. “My father is a businessman. I kept going back to India because I couldn’t find work here.”
He decided to check out the entrepreneurial opportunities in Ontario.
“I came back over again in 2013, this time to Guelph,” he said. “I found a job in a manufacturing company called Linamar and I worked there for five months then I quit and went back to India.”
When he returned to Guelph in 2014 he partnered with a friend in a manufacturing company but he was looking for an opportunity to open a restaurant.
“I have a passion for cooking,” he said. “I cook at home. I cook at parties. Whenever I have a chance I love to cook so, this is a great opportunity to do that. This is the first time I have ran a bar. My brother is here to help me get things started.”
They will be serving a lot of traditional pub grub but will be the only bar in town that is halal to accommodate people with cultural dietary restrictions.
“There will be exotic food on special days,” he said. “The focus will mostly be on Indian food because there is not a lot in this area and everything will be halal so, everybody is welcome.”
The menu has changed but they plan to continue with many of the services and activities that drew people to the bar for more than 30 years.
“We have the pool hall and there will be live bands, live music and karaoke nights,” he said. “We are looking to sponsor a lot of local sports teams – baseball, soccer and anybody that is looking for a sponsor.”
The slick new branding is a bit of a departure from the bar’s previous look but Singh wants to dispel rumours that Kings is part of a franchise.
“We are local, regular, family-oriented people,” he said. “It’s not a big chain.”
The name of the bar comes from a play on his family name that is well known in India.“In Sikh culture people say Singh is King,” he said. “So, that is where the name comes from. We were talking about it and said, ‘You know what. Why not call it Kings?”