The Well Church Street Interior

Our Story.

John Ribson
The story so far...

Well, well, well.

Ever wonder wonder how The Well came to life?  My name is John Ribson, and I’m the the proud owner and operator of The Well Hamilton Inc.

I was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada – right down the street from one of our very first The Well Restaurant Bars.

While I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats but they are our Canadian Football League (CFL) team for Hamilton. One Saturday afternoon in 2018, my sister and I were leaving a Ti-Cats game, and for nostalgia, we decided to drive through our old hood.

We passed our childhood home, and talk about memories coming back! As we continued down the street we noticed a property at 161 Wellington St North for sale, which used to be the old Wellington House – a place that as a teenager I would sell newspapers to the customers inside.

Being a gay man and knowing Hamilton has been needing a venue for anyone from the LGBTQ+ community, I thought what a perfect way to give back to my old hometown by providing a safe space for all community members to enjoy.

We bought the property in December of 2018, and work commenced soon thereafter. It took a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and time to restore the older building and bring it back to life.

While the Hamilton location’s construction was underway, I had the thought “What if we made The Well into a brand, and gave people the opportunity to own and operate their own franchise?”

As of today we now have two fantastic and lively locations, one at 161 Wellington North in Hamilton, and another in the heart of Toronto’s gay village, located at 487 Church Street.  

Also in the works are two more locations:  482 Queen Street West in Toronto which will offer restaurant / lounge vibes, and our fourth establishment at 877 Erie Street in  Windsor, Ontario.  More news will follow soon on their respective openings.

We are an LGBTQ+ company and give many people opportunity to operate their own business under our direction and branding. I know I was very lucky to have one of my very first business partners to take a chance on me. Now I want to do the same thing for people within our communities.

The sky is the limit as we will build The Well brand across Canada and US in the next few years. So please watch for one opening soon by you. Any suggestions or locations you feel would be a good match for our brand please share with us.

Thanks and we hope to serve you soon