News / Ottawa

Ottawa Vibe lounge to close permanently

City agrees to negotiation to see lounge close for good on March 31.

Ottawa City Hall is seen in this file photo.

Metro File

Ottawa City Hall is seen in this file photo.

A Hintonburg shisha restaurant-bar notorious for nearby crime will be closing its doors March 31.

The owners of Vibe Lounge have agreed with the city not to renew its lease, expiring at the end of March.

That negotiation was presented Tuesday, at a meeting that would have weighed evidence on whether to permanently revoke Vibe’s food licence, which was suspended last month after 17-year-old Leslie Mwakio was fatally shot around the corner.

Just steps from Wellington West’s trendy cafés, Vibe opened in the summer of 2012, after moving from Preston St. Within a year, a man was shot near the lounge’s front doors.

Vibe’s has changed its offerings from food to shisha to alcohol until its liquor licence was revoked in February 2016. Located in the ground floor of a Somerset Street W. office complex, Vibe’s windows are perpetually blocked out.

Cheryl Parrott, a Hintonburg Community Association board member, said the closure follows a “slow and frustrating” effort to have it closed. Residents complained of escalating danger, from outside fights, to drinking and syringes found in the parking lot.

“If a resident asks them to quiet down … their lives have been threatened,” said Parrot, who counted 150 people at a meeting about Vibe last month. “It’s not just one person who’s disgruntled.”

Vibe’s owner complained last month of being singled out for shootings that “could happen anywhere.”

But Councillor Jeff Leiper expects Hintonburg to become safer. “A lot of the spike in violence in that vicinity was associated with Vibe; certainly that’s what residents were telling me.”

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