A dark empty stage normally filled with performers can be seen at the back of Gladaman’s Den on Yonge St. A lone drinker casually sips a beer at the bar while owner/operator Rob Wolvin gives the already clean surface one more wipe.
Wolvin says he needs a minimum of $50,000 by the end of the week or the bar will be forced to close its doors.
“I really believe there is a market for what I am trying to do,” he says. “Gays and lesbians who are not frequenting Church St because they are tired of the same old, same old. I think there is a wealth of people in our community who appreciate a clean, safe and comfortable environment.”
The British-style pub will go bankrupt within a week or two if a financial backer, or backers, doesn’t step up, he says. His deadline is Jan 31.
“There just isn’t enough business to pay all the bills,” he says. “So I am actively seeking investment. The perfect scenario would be a 50/50 partner. That or a collection of small investors.”
The worst-case scenario is that he will be forced to close and will lose everything.
Wolvin says he has tried to offer the community something different than the “drag queens and dance beats” in the gaybourhood.
“Some people aren’t comfortable with the bars on Church St,” he says. “Gay people need a place without a sexually charged environment where they can make friendships and possibly lasting relationships.
“Pick-up bars are becoming less and less relevant.”
Wolvin tried to raise some scratch by hosting a fundraiser, dubbed Kinnexa Cross, on Jan 15.
Enough customers came and bought drinks that Wolvin was able to stay afloat for another two weeks. The bar was closed from Jan 2 to Jan 11.
“I had enough money to buy stock for the fundraising event,” he says. “Then the money raised at the event allowed me to pay some smaller creditors so I could get an extension to Jan 31.”
The bar was formerly called Pinocchio (and before that it was Sneakers) before Wolvin took over the lease in 2007. He opened Gladaman’s in 2008.
“Sneakers had a reputation for sex and drug trade,” he says. “A lot of people found it to be a fun place to visit that was a little on the wild side, but it became untenable and it had to close.”
Anyone interested in investing should contact Wolvin at 416-961-5808 or visit gladamansden.com.