Some places and organizations are so naturally notorious in popular culture that their reputation even outlives them. Hells Angels are by no means the only motorcycle gang around, yet their reputation is so big that they are typically the first one that comes to mind. There is a certain allure to their way of life, and one can’t help but be curious, which is exactly the reason why it is so exciting when you get the opportunity to take a sneak peek into their world. So let’s take a look at one of the most forbidden aspects of the gang, their clubhouse.

Years Of Notoriety

In the years and years since Hells Angels first came on the scene in California, they have acquired thousands of members, spanning over dozens of countries.

Source: Wikimedia/Lee Brimelow

But as the CBC reported, their largest presence outside of their original U.S. chapters exists throughout Canada, where they constitute the nation’s largest motorcycle gang.

Completely  Displaced

Reports from The St. Catherines Standard, the partial destruction of this chapter and the decimation of this chapter was the result of an arrest of the chapters president Gerald “Skinny” Ward and his closest lieutenants.

Source: YouTube/The Mob Reporter

However, other notable outcomes from Project Tandem was a police seizure of the Hells Angels local clubhouse in Welland, Ontario.

They Take Pride In Being “1 %ers

According to CBC, the term 1 %er comes from a claim made by the American Motorcycle Association that during the 1960s that 99% of the people that owned motorcycles and members of the majority of motorcycle clubs were law abiding citizens.

Source: Pinterst

“It’s not unusual to see motorcycle gang members sporting patches like this that make reference to being a 1%er. ” Wearing a 1%er insignia is a sign of honor for groups like the Hells Angels, they take great pride in being a part of the remaining percentage.

It’s Complex

The CBC noted that this obvious outlaw pride doesn’t usually match the official statements made by notorious groups like the Hells Angels or the Outlaw Motorcycle Club.

Source: Motorscostume

Both organizations claim that they aren’t involved in any criminal activities, and state that they are just groups of motorcycle enthusiasts. However, law enforcement remains skeptical, citing evidence that clearly shows systemic violence and unlawful business.

Big Efforts Made To Eradicate The Gang

According to The Niagara Falls Review, these suspicions caused a province-wide crackdown in 2006 on Hells Angels organizations throughout Ontario known as Project Tandem.

Source: Pinterest

Although this investigation required the efforts of police departments all over the province, it seems to have come down on the chapter in the Niagara region bordering the United States the hardest.

How The Clubhouse Came To Be

In a report from The CBC, the building that is now the club house was once a machine shop, until it was purchased by Ward, his brother Richard, Tim Panetta, and Randy Beres in 2001.

Source: YouTube/The Mob Reporter

The building was quickly painted in the iconic Hells Angels red and white brand colors, and heavily fortified, which gained police interest.

Creating A Fortress

Per court documents that were acquired by the Niagara Falls Review, the property was equipped with high fences that were fortified by opaque sheeting, and the building’s first floor windows were replaced by cement blocks.

Source: YouTube/The Mob Reporter

There were other modifications made to the building, including a steel door filled with cement, and numerous security cameras to watch over the property at all times. Once the property was seized they ordered that it all be removed.

Not So Simple

Detective Staff Sgt. Scott Wade from the Ontario Provincial Police explained to The St. Catherines Standard that the civil forfeiture legislation that was utilized to confiscate the building may lead to it being demolished as well. However, delays in obtaining internal approval caused this process to slow.

Source: YouTube/Ontario Provincial Police

Verbatim “The civil remedies are an efficient tool for law enforcement to use, but they are complicated, and they take time.”

Postponing The Inevitable

The appeals court pointed out that the prosecution, the Crown in Canada, merely had to provide proof that the mortgage on the building was partially paid by illicit money.

Source: YouTube/The Mob Reporter

And because it was easy to provide evidence that supported the theory that the mortgage was primarily paid by monthly membership dues, it was very easy for the civil forfeiture to be upheld.

The Hells Angels Retaliate

To complicate matters further the Hells Angels ensued a legal battle to reclaim the property. Their lawyer argued to the Ontario Court of Appeal that the Superior Court ordered the forfeiture in error.

Source: Britannica

According to The Niagara Falls Review the motorcycle club’s legal representation argued that there was insufficient evidence to support the clubhouses mortgage being paid through ways of illegal activity.

No Refunds

The convictions brought upon Ward and his lieutenants’ consisted of narcotics trafficking, which allowed for the Crown to make an argument that the dues received by them, which paid at least half of the mortgage on the building, were subsequently paid by ways of illegal acts.

Source: Pinterest

Because of this the Ontario Court of Appeal decided to uphold its ruling for forfeiture, making sure that the Hells Angels would never be able to regain ownership of their clubhouse again.

Last Opportunity To See It

With the court’s decision set in stone, it was only a matter of time before the clubhouse would completely cease to exsist.

Source: YouTube/The Mob Reporter

However, the building had sat abandoned for years while the court sorted out what decision would be made, allowing for one videographer to have plenty of time to preserve the well kept secrets that lay within the clubhouse walls.

Not An Exaggeration

Before the videographer even entered the inside, they could clearly see that the building was as fortified as law enforcement had previously described.

Source: YouTube/The Mob Reporter

At the entrance security cameras, met by the sturdy steel door that was locked with two deadbolts. After moving past the threshold they were standing at the opening of all the well kept secrets of the Hells Angels Clubhouse.

In Shambles

Unfortunately, the person could tell that because the clubhouse had sat abandoned for so many years it was succumbing to the elements.

Source: Flickr/William Thalmus

While some of the building was able to sustain itself throughout the years, other areas, like the stairs were clearly being affected by the neglect.


It was clear at the sight of the fully stocked bar that the organization had equal priorities for partying as it did for hard work.

Source: YouTube/The Mob Reporter

And as the photo shows the bar’s mirror was marked with the Hells Angels irrefutable insignia.

Some Nice Digs

Knowing what they know about the club, the environment of the clubhouse was surprisingly comfortable, especially in the common area.

Source: Vancouver Sun

The area was decorated with multiple leather couches and other aesthetic decor. The Hells Angels had clearly taken pride in their space, and put money and effort into making it feel almost like home.

Obvious Decor Theme

Most notable amongst the room’s decor was the shield with a sword mounted behind it that was hung on the common areas wall.

Source: YouTube/The Mob Reporter

This combined with other decorative displays makes it obvious that they had a lot of pride in their iconography.

Further Exploration

As the videographer moved about the building, room and room, they found other intriguing items that had been kept on the premises by the club.

Source: YouTube/The Mob Reporter

Custom-made signs exhibiting specifically detailed variations of the Hells Angels insignia. This one even illuminated.

And Another One

It’s worth noting that the latter red-and-white shield that was found in the common area wasn’t the only one to be found in the clubhouse.

Source: YouTube/The Mob Reporter

Multiple were located, varying slightly in display and material.

A Grim Surprise

The clubhouse explorer didn’t cite much about what did or didn’t intrigue them about the place, but they did bare mention to the fact that there was a coffin resting in one of the back rooms.

Source: YouTube/The Mob Reporter

Whether this person decided to avoid looking inside or found nothing after opening it makes no difference to the intrigue that comes from knowing there is a coffin inside that building. What exactly was it used for?

What Was Expected

To little doubt of what anyone was expecting, a trip to the garage revealed an abundance of motorcycles left behind.

Source: Wikimedia/David Shankbone

I mean what better place for members bikes than the Hells Angels clubhouse garage. Clearly a few members are missing a set of wheels.

Logoed Merchandise

As they continued to explore the grounds they uncovered racks of T-shirts, most with the Hells Angels trademark colors.

Source: YouTube/The Mob Reporter

Unlike the other clothing seen in this house, these shirts don’t bear the Hells Angels logo, nor do they make any other explicit references to the club. So this “support Niagara” slogan comes across as a way for their unaffiliated friends to fly under the radar.

Intriguing Patio Theme

When the explorer ventured outside, they found a patio decorated with its own name “insomnia” branding.

Source: YouTube/The Mob Reporter

The assumption is that the clubhouse must have had a smaller lounge that must have been so special that it was given its own name branding. It’s worth mentioning that the name can’t be found anywhere else in the clubhouse.


Reports noted that When Project Tandem seized the clubhouse, much of the Hells Angels memorabilia was confiscated.

Source: YouTube/Ontario Provincial Police

While the decorations we’ve seen are an indication of what the clubhouse explorer was describing, it’s clear that the raid happened before one of the members was able to take this jacket with him.

The Clubhouse’s Final Days

The person who documented and explored the clubhouse had very little time allotted to them to do so before it was no longer possible to do so. The St. Catherines Standard reported that law enforcement had the building demolished before this person was even able to post their video.

Source: YouTube/Ontario Provincial Police

Once the Hells Angels lost their appeal in court, there was nothing preventing the authorities from tearing down the building, and they wasted no time in doing so.

It’s Forbidden To Go Inside Now

The department stated in a video posted on the Ontario Provincial Police Youtube page, that the clubhouse was destroyed in efforts to ensure that no further criminal activity would take place.

Source: Unsplash/Kyle Glenn

Also mentioned was that the destruction of the building represented the first-ever successfully litigated seizure of a Hells Angels clubhouse in Canadian history.

Major Setback For The Niagara chapter

Per reports from The St. Catherines Standard, the combination of the demolition of the clubhouse and the arrest that were a product of Project Tandem pretty much crippled the Hells Angels in the Niagara region.

Source: CP PHOTO/The Winnipeg Free Press-Phil Hossack

Wider organization did their best to keep the area active with the help of members from other chapters; it all but failed and the Niagara chapter was eventually abandoned altogether.

Not Many Details

Wade would not disclose to the St. Catherines Standard just how many active Hells Angels members are in the Niagara region, he did note that the gang’s internal rules require a chapter to have a minimum of six members.

Source: Pinterest

In Wade’s words, “I can tell you there are more than that.”

It’s Never That Simple

Despite the clubhouse being demolished, the Hells Angels have slowly started to regroup over the years.

Source: Pinterest

According to The St. Catherines Standard Niagara chapter is keeping a low profile than they had previously. However, there are enough members to take notice of their presence.

Taking A More Subtle Approach

Wade also explained that the resurfacing Hells Angels aren’t using a traditional clubhouse this time, most likely to avoid a similar outcome from happening again.

Source: Pinterest

Instead, he said they have confined themselves to visiting gang affiliates clubhouses, none of which display Hells Angels iconography.