Al fresco initiative for St George street
A restaurant in the Town of St George will expand into Water Street as part of an al fresco dining initiative.
The Corporation of St George announced yesterday that it would close a section of the historic street to traffic several nights a week to allow outdoor dining.
Wahoo's Bistro and Patio is the only restaurant on the section of road affected; however, the corporation has said the option is open to anyone who is interested.
Alfred Konrad, co-owner of Wahoo's said: “It is something that we have been looking at doing for the last ten years. It's just a shame that it took a pandemic like the one we have now for us to do it.
“We had always hoped that the other restaurants would come on board with this to make Water Street something like the North End of Boston, with people walking on the street and going from place to place.”
He said the concept had been broached in meetings several times, but had not found enough buy-in from other restaurants.
Mr Konrad said: “It would be perfect for St George's and Water Street. There are lots of smaller restaurants in the town and if there's still additional space, vendors could come.”
Kristin White, owner of Long Story Short bookstore and gift shop on Water Street, said full pedestrianisation of the street would enhance the shopping and dining experience.
She said: “It would also lend itself to better safety. As the pedestrianisation is not the full street, nor during the day, it will not positively impact my business in any way.
“The street is generally closed weekdays from 10am to 4pm from April to October. The corporation choosing to not stick to this, or even expand it at a time when we are looking to entice Bermuda residents to the East End, shows that they feel the lovely experience of strolling through a street without cars flying at you is something only tourists should enjoy.”
Milos Damjanovic, part-owner of The Wharf Restaurant and Bar, is a big supporter of closing the road to traffic permanently.
“Having al fresco dining doesn't affect me. We have waterside dining and I am short of staff so I can't have anything mobile on the street.
“But for the overall ambience, it is good. Families can walk along without being worried about traffic. It will attract more people. It will be super helpful to Wahoo's, and Tempest as well, but it will help everyone in St George's.”
His partner, Lisa Cabral, said: “It is good for St George's, it is a neighbourhood. It will be great for foot traffic, good for business.”
Rachel Perry, owner of The Things We Love Boutique, said: “I am sure it is a good thing. I would try it out and see what happens. We have to embrace change, with Covid we have had to embrace a lot of things. Hope that it works for the better.”
The corporation plans to close Water Street West, from King's Square to Customs House Square.
A spokesman said: “The street will be closed from Thursday to Saturday evenings between 5.30pm and midnight.
“Additionally, on Sundays, the street will be restricted to vehicular traffic from noon until midnight. This is intended to be a temporary measure during the Covid-19 pandemic period only.”