by Christine Gilliland, The Chamber Saint John Region
“There’s no better dance floor than there is right out there.” Sarah Williams, General Manager, Marina Facilities, points toward a large patio immediately outside the windows of the Saint John Marina restaurant. Just beyond, the St. John River glistens in the sunlight.
“The view is ever-changing. It’s especially incredible at night with the lights reflecting in the water.”
Sarah’s been involved with the long-time entertainment venue her whole adult life, starting out as a dishwasher when she was 18 years old. For her, and many others, just the mention of the Saint John Marina evokes fond memories. But, after years of hosting thousands of dances, parties and celebrations, the restaurant began to look tired and was in desperate need of an update.
Enter, Dick Hickey.
In April 2016, Dick and his three brothers and business partners bought the Saint John Marina and undertook complete renovations of the interior space. They introduced a cheerful, nautical décor and injected new interest into the cherished Saint John institution.
“Everyone wholeheartedly loves the new look of the restaurant,” Williams said. “Regular patrons, who hadn’t been in since the renovations, came in and almost fell backwards, they were so blown away by the transformation! The response from the boating community, and Saint John as a whole, has been wonderful.”
Guests in the 125-seat pub and restaurant, which is now air-conditioned and open year-round, can watch pleasure boats rock gently on the St. John River from every table. Upstairs, the bright, updated banquet space accommodates up to 200 revellers. In warmer weather, there’s outdoor seating on the spacious second-story patio – also a favourite spot for weddings, with many unforgettable photos taken against a backdrop of the river and the low rolling hills across the shore.
As the only full-service public marina on the lower St. John River, The Saint John Marina has over 125 berths, a visitor’s dock for over-night or temporary guests, a full-service mechanic shop with cranes onsite, a renowned fibreglass repair shop, a diesel and gas fuel station, and two boat storage options.
Never content to be idle, the Hickey brothers are already working on plans to expand the Marina by 25 new berths, update the website and add new landscaping and patio space. They also hope to find a replacement for the decommissioned tour boat.
As a new Chamber member, Hickey is eager to tap into the many resources that come with a Chamber membership, and to talk to fellow Chamber members about business ideas.
And speaking of new ideas, if you’re looking for a unique and accommodating venue for entertainment, weddings, corporate events, a company Christmas party, or a first date, add the Saint John Marina to your list of options.
“It’s a great life here,” Williams said. “We welcome everyone. Stop in and share our little slice of heaven on the river.”