Canoe Club to join Main Street

by Steven Orbuch | 10/14/03 5:00am

Competition within Hanover's meager late-night market may get a little stiffer in the coming weeks, as The Canoe Club, a restaurant and bar that will feature live music, plans to open its doors.

John Chaplin, the owner of the Canoe Club, promised that the restaurant may stay open as late as midnight seven nights a week. He said that he would consider keeping the Canoe Club -- which is located in the space once occupied by Mojo's Bistro -- open beyond midnight "if there is the demand."

The Canoe Club -- named after a restaurant in Hartford, Connecticut where Chaplin celebrated his 50th birthday, and not to be confused with the Ledyard Canoe Club -- will serve "inventive bistro food."

"It will have more than run of the mill tavern food, but it will be less elaborate than high-end fine dining," said Chaplin.

According to Chaplin, although the restaurant was originally scheduled to open on Oct. 20, its actual opening has been delayed. He expressed that he now hopes for it to open "shortly thereafter."

"We got into a regulatory dispute over having live music with the town, and some lumber didn't arrive on time," he said. "Both things got us behind schedule."

The regulatory dispute over live music occurred because of Hanover's "permissive zoning code."

Because Hanover zoning code requires that activities must be specifically listed as permissible in order to receive approval, Chaplin had to submit a proposal for live music that subsequently slowed the process.

Chaplin said that it is the Canoe Club's atmosphere and its live music that will help it succeed in a location where Mojo's failed to attract a following.

The restaurant will feature social space and "acoustic music, roots music, singer songwriters, bluegrass groups and jazz trios" as often as possible.

"I'm even looking forward to having Dartmouth a cappella groups perform," he said.

Although the restaurant was not created to cater just to Dartmouth, Chaplin indicated that he hopes to attract a regular traffic of undergraduate and graduate students to the Canoe Club. He expressed hope that his restaurant, which needs to employ close to 50 persons, can count on the Dartmouth student body for labor.

To date, however, Chaplin has not received any applications for employment by Dartmouth students.

"I haven't had any Dartmouth students knock on my door yet except for a senior who wants to play classical guitar."

Chaplin indicated that he thinks that student interest in jobs at the Canoe Club should increase after they have the opportunity to check the place out.

Some students are already enthusiastic about the new addition to downtown Hanover.

Faith Perez '06 saidd that "there is more of a need for a bar/live music place than a Mexican food place in Hanover."

Allysa Minsky '06 also indicated that she is enthused by the arrival of the Canoe Club.

"I really enjoyed Mojo's atmosphere and its food," she said. "I think, however, that another live entertainment place in Hanover will offer a good new social option."

Mojo's shut its doors early this summer. From its inception in the summer of 2002, Mojo's was one of only a few local Tex-Mex restaurants. At present, there are no longer any Mexican dining options left in the entire Upper Valley.