Muschamp Rd

An evening out in the DTES

August 29th, 2009
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Will our relatively new Australian born employee figured what would solve all our problems was to go drinking on Friday afternoon. So gradually staff tore themselves away from work to make their way to the Metropole which I selected because it was being updated/gussied up and we’d never drank there. It is on Abbott right across from Woodward’s.

I was ready to go home after a token two beers. But Will, well we had two more then Brian wanted to migrate to Pivo which admittedly does have a better selection of beer and cuter waitresses. So after a few more beers, Will is finally summoned home. Me I got nobody. So Brian and I had another beer or two.

We then walked back towards our offices because Brian wanted to pick something up. Along the way I showed him one of the more interesting discoveries I’ve made working in the DTES.

On the back of a building on Hastings is a large neon sign, one that is over a foot tall and 25-40 feet long yet only visible on Pender from certain angles. It says “Everything is going to be alright“. Who put it there and why is a bit of a mystery? It is directly behind the Bob Rennie owned building but I don’t think he did it (but yes he did), the building the sign is actually on is quite possibly owned by BC Housing. How visible the sign is, is also a mystery? You can see it from the Chinese Garden, but can you see it from Olympic Village or City Hall?

Metropole Pub Gastown

After that mystery we came to Fortune Sound. We stood outside a while talking about the business, the clientele, their marketing and promotion, even their security. At some point I told the VIP list woman we worked next door and knew the owners. Of course they go by GMAN & Rizk and as I told Brian anyone could Google that. They actually have other names and I could see one of them sorting out something a few feet away.

We continued to stand by our tree speculating how far people had traveled to line up on Pender Street that night? A limo showed up and I explained to Brian how there were two lines, but really if you were important or just really pretty you could get in and that the line was necessary to encourage other people to line up because obviously the place was hoppin’. It is Night Club Door 101.

Anyway eventually the owner does notice me as we’ve really chatted on several occasions and we were discussing his business in our meeting that very morning. Lots of people want to see them do well including: BOB, VCBIA, CMA, etc. He comes over shakes my hand, I introduce him to Brian who had never been inside. He was all set to let in the people we were talking to as well…

We were really done for the night, but we went in bypassing everything and all was fine until we got to the top of the stairs. I had my backpack on because as I wrote above I wanted to go home hours ago and I’d been at work before this whole episode. A large black gentleman insisted I check my bag, but I had no cash. Eventually I got smart and got money out of my bag. Brian and I had one $6.50 Heineken each and I gave him a mini tour of the place.

Line up on Pender Street

The VIP rooms aren’t ready for prime time, but the rest of the club looked great. It is a lot different at night with people dancing and drinking and having fun. I explained various features and how the staff was arranged for security and coverage.

The Commodore is the grand old lady of the Vancouver Night Life but even though I’m not a real clubber, I’ve been to a lot of Vancouver establishments and I’ve been to clubs in Tokyo, Paris, Prague, Beijing etc. Fortune Sound Club in addition to being Vancouver’s newest night spot is also one of the nicest. A lot of the finishings and custom woodwork isn’t apparent in the dark, the place actually looks better in the daylight, that is something you can’t say about most clubs.

Maybe someday my MBA classmates will realize how you treat people matters, both going up and coming down. I really don’t know GMAN & Rizk well but we’re trying to help them out and they know how to run a club, maybe someday I’ll roll up with a crew… I was on the guest list at the Commodore before, but some people were too suspicious to go to a show for free. I mean how often do you get on the guest list at the Commodore, not many times, but I kinda knew the band…

Anyway after talking to staff and estimating how many people and how much money the place was making I ran into the cops outside. I walked up and asked them how the new night club was affecting their beat. Turns out I knew the cops too. They were on patrol and perhaps unaware that a new night club had opened. I think it was the 6th night it had been opened, I talked to one bouncer, that was his second night working there. The officers apologized for not returning a co-worker’s call and went off to see if anything was amiss. I told them I thought the crowd was pretty well behaved and the security was tight, who knows maybe Otis believed me.

Building Opportunities with Business

Fortune is still going, but I was on Granville the other day and a lot of places have shut down or been reimagined. Granville wasn’t looking so great when I took the bus down it, a lot of Vancouver is extra shiny now, but not Granville Street and the DTES. I’ve been living in Shanghai. While there I don’t think I went to a single club, I did drink a lot of craft beer though. I even managed to pass all three CFA® exams but most everything else didn’t work out. Apparently I used to know a lot about Vancouver nightlife.

Returned to the hood in 2023

I actually was in town for the UFC. I never blogged about that initially or my trip to Vancouver. One thing I did do was walk all over Vancouver. I got blisters, I went to many of the old neighbourhoods I lived and worked in, including going down to Chinatown where Building Opportunities with Business had their offices. A lot of business mentioned in this post are gone, but Fortune Sound Club was still there. I actually did get dragged into a nightclub on Granville Street, the security is even tighter, they scanned my driver’s license.

Building Opportunities with Business

Not sure when I’ll be back in Vancouver, but I’m going to try to make it every year or other year to see friends. Most of my family lives on Vancouver Island so I always go back there, but Vancouver, Chinatown, East Van, the DTES, I hadn’t been there for many years until 2023, so if you have thoughts or bar recommendations you can leave a comment below.

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