Harley’s granted liquor licence; big plans for new site

Owner Sara Murphy stands in the new Harley's Hard Rock Saloon Monday afternoon
John McFadden/CKLB photo)

If everything goes according to plan, Yellowknifers will soon be able drink a beer or a coffee, get a tattoo, buy marijuana, have a meal, sing a song and watch an exotic dancer, all under the same roof.

Local entrepreneur Sara Murphy, owner of Harley’s Hard Rock Saloon, revealed her ambitious plans Monday afternoon.

It came as the NWT Liquor Licensing Board approved a liquor licence for the facility located in the old Kentucky Fried Chicken building on 48 Street downtown, last occupied by the now-defunct Lenny Burger restaurant.

When it becomes operational, Harley’s will once again be the only adult entertainment business across all three territories.

There was no opposition to the licence at a public hearing Monday.

As of Monday afternoon, only coffee was being served at the restaurant but Murphy says it’s now full steam ahead on all the other businesses.

“We plan on having the strip club and the restaurant up and running by February 1st,” Murphy told CKLB after the liquor licence was granted.

Murphy confirmed that the Twin Pine Diner, currently operating inside the Arnica Inn at the base of the hill on Franklin Avenue, will be relocating to her building and will operate as a family restaurant, adjacent to the strip club.

She says she is relocating the T-Shirt Shack and the tattoo and piercing parlour that were part of Harley’s business in its old location on Franklin Avenue to the new site.

Murphy also hopes to run the NWT’s first privately operated cannabis store inside the building sometime this year.

That will be contingent on the territorial government granting it a licence to do so.

The GNWT stated last year that it will explore the idea of private businesses being allowed to sell marijuana products and paraphernalia in 2019.

Murphy says the strip club will be open from Mondays to Saturdays but adds that the bar will now open on Sundays as well for a public open-mic night.

She says bar patrons will be able to order food from the restaurant menu as well.

“This idea started about two years ago,” she said. ” A lot of blood, sweat and tears has gone into this. I’m doing it for my daughter and my husband.

Murphy estimates she has spend upwards of a half million dollars to relocated, upgrade and add the new businesses.

She says the businesses will occupy both floors of the spacious building.

Murphy says unlike the old Harley’s she will now be serving food on the dancer side as well.

She said the family restaurant will co-exist side-by-side adding there will be separate entrances for both.

Murphy says there will be no fears a child could wander from the restaurant into the strip club.

The exterior windows on the strip club side of the building will be blacked-out.

She is encouraging potential customers to follow Harley’s on Facebook to read about the latest developments and openings.

About the Author

John Mcfadden
John has been in the broadcast journalism industry since the 1980s. He has been a reporter in Yellowknife since 2012 and joined CKLB in January of 2018.  John covers the crime and court beat as well as reporting on other areas including politics, business, entertainment and sports. He won seven national community newspaper awards while he was a journalist with Northern News Services Limited (NNSL).

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