Odyssey Plans to Move to Denman

Comments 58 by Rebecca Bollwitt

I got a note last night from Ariane about a hearing she had attended in the West End with regards to the relocation of the Odyssey nightclub from Howe Street, over to Denman. She said the place was absolutely packed, warranting a second meeting, and a strong majority of the crowd was opposed to the move (check out a few videos she took on her Flickr). As this was the first I’ve heard of this, here’s what else I’ve been able to gather regarding the proposal from around town.

Current location – Photo source: BobMeyers

The Odyssey is looking for a new home because its current location is slated for demolition. The Odyssey had its home on Howe street for twenty-two years.

The Odyssey is requesting operating hours of 9:00 am to 3:00am, seven days a week. However, the area where the Odyssey wants to move is designated as a Primarily Mixed-use are that only allows hours of operation from 11:00 am to 1:00 am on week days and 11:00 am to 2:00 am on weekends. If certain criteria are satisfied, the Odyssey can extend their hours of liquor service to 9:00 am to 2:00 am on weekdays and 9:00 am to 3:00 on weekends. All types of liquor may be served without food consumption. All types of entertainment are permitted [West End Residents Association]

According to a Vancouver Courier article, the club may not be on the move until at least April 2009.

The Odyssey’s extended lease on Howe Street near Davie was to expire Jan. 31, and its owners won’t learn until March 5 whether a liquor licence for its proposed new location on Denman Street will be approved by city council.

Last week the outlook for a second lease extension seemed bleak. [Vancouver Courier]

Proposed location (above Blenz) – Photo credit: iTripped on Flickr

There is also an entire website dedicated to getting the public involved in this decision.

A nightclub is applying to move across the street from the King George Secondary School and the West End Community Centre into #200-911 Denman St, the former location of the Desi Downtown Restaurant. The Vancouver Police Department opposes this move. Don’t think a 224 person capacity nightclub that can operate until 2am is good fit on Denman Street?

Then please take action and contact the city:
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (604) 871 – 6555
Fax: (604) 871 – 6394
Mail: Lucia Cumerlato, Licence Coordinator, Permits & Licences Department, 453 W. 12th Ave., Vancouver, BC, V5Y 1V4.
[Denman Nightclub]

The website also urges, “This is your chance to have a voice on the matter, so no complaining about the late night club related noise after the submission deadline of Tuesday, February 10, 2009.”

The proposed location is the Bay Theatre (recently known at the Starlight Theatre) building just above Blenz, which has been designated a heritage building.

Denman street is amazingly quiet after midnight, same goes with the lower end of Robson street (except after a playoff win by the Canucks or during the fireworks in the summer). I haven’t lived in the West End long enough to know if there have been nightclubs in that vicinity before but as for right now, I think it would definitely re-shape that corner.

I’m curious to know what others think about this proposed move — from residents in the area to even those who frequent the Odyssey — is this a good move or a bad one for the business, the community or the city?

Update: This is on the City Council’s agenda for Thursday March 26th at 2:00pm.

58 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. VictoriaFriday, February 6th, 2009 — 9:24am PST

    Let them have their fun.

  2. JP HoleckaFriday, February 6th, 2009 — 9:26am PST

    Wow thanks for the heads up. I live right behind where they are proposing the Odyssey move to. My five year old son, as well as my wife and I actually live here because the West End is so nice and quiet. I am neither old not dislike clubs as I have frequented many over the years but the second story floor on Denman makes no sense.

  3. Jason LeeFriday, February 6th, 2009 — 9:45am PST

    Although I don’t live in the West End, I agree with the previous post. The West End has an aura about it thats unique from the rest of downtown Vancouver.

  4. TylerFriday, February 6th, 2009 — 9:51am PST

    If I lived there, I might have an issue with it going in. As with nightclubs most can get a bit loud later in the evening/night. People hanging around being loud and obnoxiously drunk outside etc.

    I’ve heard it can be a bit of a raver type scene too. Robyn does like that ‘ShowerPower’ will be closer though. lol

    I personally like how Denman quiets down for the night. Though I’m 3 blocks from the Blenz location so I wouldn’t have an issue 😉 Unless I’m getting coffee at Blenz at like 1-2am or something odd.

  5. Miss604Friday, February 6th, 2009 — 9:56am PST

    Yeah I was thinking it may open up a whole other type of business in the West End – catering to a later crowd. I know I can’t get so much as a slice of pizza after about 10pm in this neck of the woods (except for 7-Eleven or delivery) hehe.

  6. dr_iqmalFriday, February 6th, 2009 — 10:15am PST

    Hello, NetChick sent me here…

  7. WillFriday, February 6th, 2009 — 11:37am PST

    While I feel for the residents who have grown accustomed to the quiet the fact is that Denman St. is a major street for both traffic, shopping, and life. It gets way too quiet at night and needs something a little more exciting. Whether Odyssey is it, I don’t know. What I do know is that the commercial tenant turnover on Denman is appallingly high so bringing in a club (a popular one, it would seem as it has lasted 22 years) would bring more money into the street’s merchants, restaurants, and cafes.

    But can they really get a license to sell liquor at 9am? With the school across the street I would hope they wouldn’t take advantage of that nor would any of our residents.

  8. NicoleFriday, February 6th, 2009 — 11:41am PST

    I want to say that, while I don’t frequent this bar (or any bar, for that matter), I have been to Odyssey on a weeknight for my girlfriend’s stagette and I had a lot of fun. It was a weeknight though, and I am sure that weekends are crazier just as they would be at any bar. That night’s show was very entertaining, and I enjoyed the mood created by the mix of seating and tables with the stage/dance floor. The bar was not even close to full so we all had our own space to dance, the music and DJ-ing were awesome and we had a great time. I found the patrons to be very respectful of one another, and as a result I would not hesitate to return to Odyssey again. Proceeds from the cover charge that night went to charity as well, and I feel that the management has done a great job.

  9. rboFriday, February 6th, 2009 — 12:23pm PST

    Having visited the club a few times, I feel like I should note that the Odyssey (at least as it currently stands) has much more of a community club feel than any sort of definable scene feel (tyler mentioned ravers, which I can’t say applies very well to this establishment). Many people go for a few drinks, to hang out and talk on the outdoor patio, and then get on with other plans for the evening. Because of the clientele and the other reasons above, this is a bar I don’t mind going to on occasion (even though I don’t drink and am not big into the bar scene)

    As far as the new site goes, I think it would be a great fit for the neighbourhood, although I do agree that the 9am liquor service opening may be a bit early considering the school across the street. As others have said, Denman needs something to liven things up a bit at night, and at least you can be sure Odyssey won’t bring the granville strip-style fights with it.

  10. Blair SmithFriday, February 6th, 2009 — 12:33pm PST

    I will address 2 main points, and have invited others to chime in later.
    First, last nights meeting was held “by invitation” from the city. They invited residents who had formally opposed the application to come and meet the “applicants” and to discuss their concerns. That’s why it was one sided. We asked our supporters to stay away after another blogger made it out to be a public meeting. The owners planned a respectful evening. Which it was.
    Lastly for now, The Odyssey has clearly and publicly stated that they are not applying for a 9AM opening. Their specific plans are for 9PM, with possibly an earlier opening on a rare occassion like Pride Parade Day.

    West End residents who support this application are encouraged to call or write the City before Feb 10th. Your name and adress are important.
    I will make sure that Miss604 gets updated about the Public Meeting once the City has secured the location and date.
    Fair enough?

  11. Miss604Friday, February 6th, 2009 — 1:42pm PST

    Thanks for the note Blair, it’s great to get various perspectives and additional information. As you can see, I have quoted and linked my sources ie. the WERA stating the 9:00am opening, so I’m glad you were able to add to that.

  12. KalevFriday, February 6th, 2009 — 3:15pm PST

    I think it’s important to note this is not just some regular night club–it’s a gay club, and yes, that makes a difference. I think the worst altercation I’ve ever seen in a gay club was two people who shoved one another. And I’ve spent a fair amount of time in gay clubs over the years. Gay clubs are far less problematic in terms of rowdiness and violence than any straight club I’ve ever heard of, and I suspect the VPD can attest to that, however much they may “oppose” the move (I’d love to see the official statement on that).

    As for noise, well… as someone above said, it’s Denman Street, which is hardly a side street. If the proposal was to move it into the west of Denman area, or somewhere deeply ensconced within the West End far from one of the major West End arterial routes (Davie, Robson, Denman, etc.) then I could understand the objection. But however much the people living near Denman might like to delude themselves, Denman is a major thoroughfare.

    The extent of NIMBY-ism in this city is just super-disturbing. Yes, Vancouver has an extremely livable downtown core but it’s still a downtown core. People living downtown should not (and really cannot) expect it to be as quiet as living in the suburbs.

    The Odyssey is an important community resource for and institution of the city’s gay community. I know the idea that a nightclub is an important institution might seem weird to people who don’t know much about the gay community but when you have less than half a dozen “safe” social spaces, losing even one can be a huge deal. Vancouver is relatively gay-friendly, sure, but there’s no way I could go to a straight bar and hit on some cute guy I met there (or at least I couldn’t do it unless I was prepared to duck the ridicule or punch that quite likely would come my way). Even in the age of the Internet, gay spaces are critically important to us gay folk because they give us the chance to relax and let down our guard a bit. The West End, like it or not, is Vancouver’s gay village, and the Odyssey needs a new home in the West End.

    The fact that people have pointed out the new location is across from a high school is an incredibly nasty red herring. Given that school lets out FIVE to SIX HOURS before the Odyssey opens it doors, I fail to see any relevance at all. And I’m shocked, just shocked, that WERA would state the club wanted to open at 9am. I’m sure it was just a typo, albeit one that suspiciously makes the Odyssey’s application look far more problematic than it is in reality. But seriously, does anyone know ANY drinking establishment in Vancouver that opens in the morning, gay or straight?

  13. crsFriday, February 6th, 2009 — 5:23pm PST

    For the record, the people in attendance were largely not invited by the city. The city had not sent notices. I was informed informally by a concerned person from the neighborhood who posted a sign by my buildings buzzer.

    I moved to this area for the relative quiteness. There are many older people on a fixed income in the neighborhood who are unable to relocate and will most definately be affected by the noise. Not only would the Odyssey go out of business by next winter if they move down here it is just plain inappropriate for this area.

    I’d like for the Odyssey to survive, so please, someone find a better location for them to move to. Surely there is a space in Gastown, Granville or Davie? From the owner’s admission, they think there is nowhere else for them to move, but they are not considering anything outside of Denman and Davie, since they think they will not be gay friendly. That seems wrong to me. I think, rather, they are not interested in Gastown, ’cause it’s a bad business move (but so is denman), and they are not interested in Granville since it’s too much rent. Thats my opinion anyway.

  14. crsFriday, February 6th, 2009 — 5:28pm PST

    Oh, and I forgot to add that if we are to completely disregard the NIMBYs in the neighborhood it would be unfair to the other establishments, like the Dover, who have respectfully earlier hours. Not to mention that the Dover clientelle and the Odyssey are like oil and water.

  15. DarrenFriday, February 6th, 2009 — 5:47pm PST

    Downtown Vancouver is only going to get more dense, and I suspect that that’s particularly true of the West End. Speaking as a long time downtown resident, I find it dubious to protest such developments in the city’s core. When you choose to live downtown, you agree to certain compromises.

  16. realtorblairFriday, February 6th, 2009 — 6:56pm PST

    Just to clarify, WERA is not wrong. The whole liquor application process is very cumbersome. My understanding of the license application is that the initial application states the maximum number of hours allowed under that type of license.
    Then further into the application there are shorter hours that the applicant must observe before applying at a later date to extend their hours to the full extent. This is part of the city’s control over quality. Also, should the club choose to open earlier, they would have to close earlier.
    Keep those cards and letters coming!

  17. WestenderFriday, February 6th, 2009 — 7:07pm PST

    A couple of points regarding the process and the proposal. Regardless of whether this is a gay club or that it is an institution in the gay community or that it is presenting itself as being evicted from its current home by an insensitive landlord, the business still needs to “play by the rules.”
    I don’t support the Odyssey locating in this space – I think it’s the wrong space for a dance club. A pub? A restaurant? Either could probably would work well. A nightclub that relies on some components of its business taking place in nearby public areas (line-ups, smoking, chat before and after the club) doesn’t make sense. I suspect there will be significant disturbances for neighbours. The exterior balcony facing Barclay Street is a recipe for disaster.
    Denman used to have a club – it was called Denman Station, in a basement location just north of Haro. It was a small club and worked fine. But it was small, it was in a basement, and it wasn’t in a space that was cheek by jowl with an apartment building. The space in question is in a heritage-designated building that was originally approved (in 1997) for a Class 1 liquor licence. Class 1 allows a restaurant. In 1999 the owner applied for a Class 2 licence to allow for live (jazz) music. The acoustical report that accompanied that application indicated that the building could not meet acoustical standards for this type of music. Now the application in question is for a Class 3 licence to allow a nightclub. The proposed entertainment is likely to be significantly louder than live jazz music.
    The Odyssey needs to continue as a viable business, but the convenience of this vacant space is not the right reason to wedge a square peg into a round hole. Regardless of the club’s best intentions, they are not going to be able to tell customers not to smoke in the back lane, and at 3 in the morning this is going to result in complaints from the many residents in close proximity. (And the suggestion by the Odyssey that they are pleased to remain in the West End is bogus – the current location is not in the West End, it’s downtown.)

  18. DFriday, February 6th, 2009 — 11:31pm PST

    As someone who frequents the Odyssey quite often, I have to say I agree with both sides.
    I agree the Odyssey needs a new home, I agree that it should not have to be in the residential area. I live in the downtown core and am VERY much aware how loud people can be, but the staff at the Odyssey are very professional and deal with noise accordingly and with no issue whatsoever.

    It makes me sad to even think that the O may not have a home anymore, for this is a second home for some people. This place is also the only or the integral part of many people’s income.
    Take away the loud music, the liquor and you have a family, you have a community.
    You can enjoy a show and forget all your problems. You have a place where you feel you’re safe, where you feel you are loved and can hang out with your friends.
    The Odyssey has been a place of triumph, of sorrow and love for twenty two years and I would hate to see it go.

    Just a note to crs: It’s not a bad business move, they are more concerned about safety. Think about it, if you were a gay male or a drag queen, I doubt you would want to be alone in Gastown or on Granville street on a Friday or Saturday on your way to a show. Even Davie isn’t safe anymore, so where SHOULD we go?

  19. Derek K. MillerSaturday, February 7th, 2009 — 12:18am PST

    I’m sure there are sections of the Downtown Eastside that would love to have a club as vital and fun as the Odyssey move there, noise concerns be damned. Heck, it would make our stretch of Kingsway near Metrotown a lot more interesting too. I think if I lived in the West End, I’d welcome it, but I certainly understand why others wouldn’t.

  20. SSaturday, February 7th, 2009 — 2:08am PST

    I live near by this loctaion and personally I am sick of all the rif raf that hang out at these night clubs.

    The later in the evening it gets, the louder and more obnoxious the people and the streets become.

    So if my vote counts for anything where our great leader (GC) is concerned, then I vote NO>NO>NO>NO>NO to allowing yet another one of these dens of alcoholism to fester in this neighborhood.

    S –> (Local Resident)

  21. Peter BreezeSaturday, February 7th, 2009 — 9:13am PST

    I can understand why people would be opposed to the move. The Denman area is quite and beautiful and a safe distance from the current “club scene” which is an attraction for a lot of the people who move there.…
    There is a huge young demographic who also occupies the area and it’s surrounding area and I think its important to take that into consideration too. One club will not destroy our beautiful Denman Street. If fact I think it will give people who don’t frequent the area a new appreciation for it. Nightlife is a huge part of Vancouver and it shouldn’t be ignored because some people want to keep their fridays and saturday nights quiet and smoke free. As an Odessy regular I fully support the move. Im young, I love the Club and its important for people like me to have a place like the O up and running. The current location is surrounded by business as well..and apartment buildings…and hotels….I’m sure over the 22 years the current Odyssey has seen its fair share of neighbors but it still lasted. I hope people can take into consideration that Nightclub doesn’t equal Bad Situations…
    Does anybody care about the millionth Starbucks that opening on denman and Robson?
    Probably not.
    it’s quiet and smoke free and closed by 9 pm.

  22. Adele KirwerSaturday, February 7th, 2009 — 9:39am PST

    Three out of the last four businesses (all 4 businesses went under) have attempted to have either live music or night club style entertainment. All caused major disturbances to the 2,000 residents who live within 1 block of the location. It is a VERY POOR choice of venue for a night club. One other night club location (at Haro & Denman) is located in the basement of that building and when it was Denman Station it was a low-key night club – when it switched to Club Da Bong there were shooting and stabbings at the location – the venue has been vacant since that last club was there (over 5 years).

    The residents opposed to any night club relocating (not just the Odyssey) to 911 Denman Street have lived in the neighbourhood anywhere from 1 year to over 70 years. We understand we live downtown and we’ve happily dealt with the fireworks, pride week and just the general throng of tourists that visit our neighbourhood every year. We chose this area of the West End because it has always been a quiet, residential area of downtown. The building at 911 Denman St is surrounded on all sides (within 1 block) by high rise buildings – it creates a canyon like effect that makes the sound (even just street sounds) reflect off the buildings and amplify as they move higher. This makes this location an extremely poor choice for a night club because even though the Odyssey has the best of intentions to be a good neighbour they simply can not control the elements surrounding their venue.

  23. crsSaturday, February 7th, 2009 — 11:37am PST

    I’d like to reiterate the fact that many older people live in this neighborhood. I’m 36 and have only lived in the hood for a little over a year, and while I love the penthouse that I rent, I could always move if the noise bothered me. I have met many people that have lived in the neighborhood for decades. They have affordable rent due to rent control. The fact that they have fixed incomes means they are here for the long haul, if they move it will be a pretty big downgrade. Hopefully that helps you to understand why many of them are adimantly against a club that caters to a much younger and less considerate generation. Are we less considerate? Hells ya. Particularly when it comes to noise. Walk in to the library (where its supposed to be quiet) and watch the older people. Then watch the younger people. Now add alcohol.

  24. westender for 12 yearsSaturday, February 7th, 2009 — 11:58am PST

    I think this is a great idea and it would be good for all the other business in this area. I cant wait to see this happen so exciting for all. for other locals get over it it will happen

  25. Vancouver VideographerSaturday, February 7th, 2009 — 2:05pm PST

    I fully support the move. The Odyssey has been a great club that’s been an integral part of the West End for 20 years. They’re only applying to move because the city needs the current location for something else and there aren’t really any other options of locations for it to go to in the West End, which is where it needs to stay to be successful.

    I do think it’s also important to note that a gay club is not at all the same as a straight club when it comes to clientel so the noise factor, fighting, etc will be considerably less than if a straight club were to be applying. When was the last time you saw loud rowdy drunks start brawling at a gay club? I never have. However the last time I got dragged to a club on Granville it was a whole different story and not something I’d want near my home either.

    The fact of the matter is that many people will always have a “not in my backyard” attitude when it comes to things like this, but it needs to go somewhere and I think this proposed location is a great fit overall.

  26. realtorblairSaturday, February 7th, 2009 — 3:02pm PST

    Our fair city needs mixed communities that learn how to live together. Take a look at the downtown east side or the Granville strip to see what happens by pushing a concentration into one neighborhood.
    We need to have walkable communities (and transit) that serve all residents. That includes day and night, young and old, advantaged and disadvantaged. Ghettos don’t work. People new to Vancouver marvel at how well all of our “different communities” live together. Generally, Vancouverites see more of our similarities than our differences. That makes a greater community of all.
    Businesses and development are going to move to Denman and the West End. Community input is vital to the process. And that is where the process is at right now. Listening and learning. Respectfully.

  27. ArianeSaturday, February 7th, 2009 — 5:42pm PST

    Hey, thanks for the great post. 🙂

    I live at best a third of a block from the proposed location, and though I have absolutely nothing against the club itself or its patrons, I really think it would not be the right location for a club, when it’s such a quiet neighbourhood.

    It may be downtown, but this area (especially west of Denman) is one of the absolute quietest areas of downtown, and the people who’ve chosen to live there have done so largely for that reason. Like others have mentioned, a lot of the seniors would not be able to afford to move, having had rent controlled apartments for years, and to be honest I don’t think residents *should* have to leave their long time homes for such a reason!

    The West End IS different from other parts of downtown. The community likes it quieter and calmer, and most of the buildings are very old and very poorly sound proofed. Denman is (aside from on Canucks playoff nights and fireworks) usually totally quiet by midnight, and there is an unwritten understanding among residents regarding the population density and being respectful of others’ rights to quiet and not being sleep deprived.

    I’m not saying that it would be a 100% chance that it would be an issue if they did move in, but I think chances are quite high that it would seriously degrade the quality of life for a lot of people, and that once they moved in, the level of accountability for any problems would be low. What responsibility would there really be to the residents?

    The VPD rep stated very clearly that he thought it would not be an appropriate location to bring a club to, being that currently there are no such establishments in the area that require extra attention. And I have to agree, is it so bad to let one of the “main” streets on the peninsula remain peaceful?

  28. SSHSaturday, February 7th, 2009 — 11:00pm PST

    There are numerous reasons why Denman and Robson is not the proper location to open up a nightclub of any type, gay, techno, strip or what have you. The fact is that no matter how professional managed, socially or community conscienious, or discreet the owners are with their establishment there will always be certain undesirable elements which, like fleas on a dog will invade the neighborhood surrounding the establishments building.
    A big thing to keep in mind is that within an approximate area of 10 blocks 3 schools(elementry, middle, and senior), a community center, public library, and a large wilderness park with a diverse population of wild animals can be found. These alone should be no brainer for preserving and respecting the calm and quiet enviroment this neighborhood has.
    Think about it. A large majority of the people living here have kids of all ages who need to be able to get a good night sleep, wake up rested in the morning so the kids can get safely to school, the parents to work etc.
    The owners of the Oddesy and the liquor control branch MUST ask themselves this:
    If I put a nightclub in this neighborhood can I guarantee its residents will never be woken up by police sirens for needing to for example- pulling over a drunk and dangerous driver leaving my establishment? Will the children be able to walk to school without encountering discarded condoms left behind by either the male or female prostitutes which is beyond my ability to stop from hanging around outside waiting for my patrons to leave my establishment? Can I guarantee these kids won’t encounter someone who tried to walk home after leaving my establishment and ended up passed out on the sidewalk instead?
    I hope I’ve gotten my point across without having to venture into the subject of the wildlife.
    For all the valid arguments that exist for not opening a nightclub in this particular I would hope that parties involved in considering this ridiculous idea take an honest look at this on and rethink their location to a more appriate spot.

  29. SSHSaturday, February 7th, 2009 — 11:22pm PST

    And a final word to D. Ihear you on safety, but as a 37 yr female I’de like to say that I don’t really think its safe for anyone, straight or gay, male or female anywhere anymore. No matter who you are and where you are its wise to stay vigil of your surroundings at all times. And as long as the police keep up the policy ofwatching and knowing about the activities of criminals and letting them to continue uniterupted so that they can watch them and know about what their doing some more and occasionally even give them a helping hand so as to make that criminals activity a little more criminal so that they can know about that too instead of just stopping the crooks the moment they do an illegal act its only going to continue o get worse.

  30. ATTENTION DENMAN STREET RESIDENTS « No Denman Street NightclubSunday, February 8th, 2009 — 11:17am PST

    […] http://www.miss604.com/2009/02/odyssey-plans-to-move-to-denman.html […]

  31. realtorblairMonday, February 9th, 2009 — 12:45pm PST

    Monday morning update:
    The City is holding an Open House Wednesday Feb. 18th at the WECC from 6:30 -9:00pm.

  32. StevieCTuesday, February 10th, 2009 — 1:56am PST

    I’ve lived in the Gay community for 25 years now. I’ve been going to the Odyssey since it first opened 22 years ago. I’ve encountered hundreds of people in that time, and heard many life stories. The most common connection with all these people , is that so many of the Odyssey’s patrons first came out at the Odyssey. It was the only place they felt safe at, and the only place where they could develope a sense of family. For so many of these young men and women, whose families chose not to support their sexual orientation, or, for those who felt they simply could not tell their families, they have thus lost those family ties, and feel as if they no longer fit in anywhere.

    A sense of family and a sense of belonging are important to anyone within the Gay community. The Odyssey is considered by many, especially young individuals first coming into the Gay scene, as a refuge. A place to go to meet people, feel safe, feel protected, feel like you can fit in. It’s hard enough for them now, it will get even harder if the Odyssey has to shut its doors forever. With no other location available, this is the only option left.

    The clientelle at the Odyssey is extremely diverse. Ages range from 20 to 60 and older. For many, the reguler shows provide a place to unwind, get away from life’s problems for a brief time, socialize with friends. For most of these people, they would not feel comfortable anywhere else. Not to mention the fact that the existing clubs could not hold all of us once the Odyssey closes. In these tough economic times, this community can’t afford to lose the income the Odyssey generates year round, and the charities that it’s contributed to can not afford to lose it’s much needed donations. As a diverse community, we should all be willing to help each other, not alienate one another……

  33. BobTuesday, February 10th, 2009 — 6:05am PST

    On denmannightclub.com they are suggesting that 2000 people will be affected. Did they ever consider that perhaps over 100, 000 have attended the odyssey over the past 20 years and support it? So who cares about 2000 people…

  34. Adele KirwerTuesday, February 10th, 2009 — 11:11am PST

    I just got confirmation of the details about the Open House as provided by City of Vancouver:

    “Open House” for Feb. 18th at the West End Community Centre. The City of Vancouver will be mailing out notices to the residents (700 foot radius from 911 Denman) regarding the open house and will also be advertising in the Westender this week.

    The open house format will give everyone attending a chance to speak one-on-one to staff and the applicant regarding the application. The city feels this set-up will work better by allowing more people to express their views to staff and accommodate those who may be reluctant to stand up and speak in front of a large group of people.

    Attendees will need to provide their name, address, etc. when they speak with the city staff on Feb. 18th so that it is clear if they are a local resident or not.

    You are not required to attend for the full 2.5 hours in order to participate. This is a drop-in open house so come in anytime between 6:30 PM and 9:00 PM to voice your opposition or support as a resident affected by this relocation application to city staff.

  35. Adele KirwerTuesday, February 10th, 2009 — 11:14am PST

    Just to clarify, you can still attend even if you are a resident of the West End outside of the 700 foot radius from 911 Denman but you won’t receive a notice in the mail from the city.

  36. crsTuesday, February 10th, 2009 — 11:25am PST

    A lot has changed in 22 years. Even within the gay community there is mixed feelings about the need for exclusively gay spaces…


    But, again, let’s keep on point here. This is not the only option, as quite definately Vancouver is gay friendly enough to have an exclusively gay bar outside of Davie or Denman. I’m not going to argue the necessity of a gay club, but the location? That’ a stretch. The owner admitted that they considered this the only option on Davie or Denman. They aren’t even looking outside of those streets. This is purely a business move, since just another bar on Granville will be very expensive in rent. Also, they could buy out club da bong and not even have to go thrugh this process. But that would probably be very expensive as I understand it is condemned and has a license attached to it.

    I would actually support them being at the Denman Station/Da Bong location, since it would be smaller in scale (82?) and a more appropriate setting for noise (nestled instead of on a pedestal with several sound corridors to many buildings).

  37. DeanTuesday, February 10th, 2009 — 2:24pm PST

    As always, change will bring frustrations,and disagreements. But then, in one first nite of party, everybody will be happy..! Except the neighbors! Haha

  38. Adele KirwerTuesday, February 10th, 2009 — 3:44pm PST

    The word from city hall is that the March 5th decision on the Odyssey’s liquor license is being postponed to March 26th in order to accommodate the West End residents feedback from the open house on Feb. 18th.

    See my post above on details for participating in the Open House.

  39. crsTuesday, February 10th, 2009 — 6:00pm PST

    I wonder why this is even being debated? I just read about this detail…

    4.4.6. Relocation of a liquor primary establishment
    The general manager may approve an application to relocate a liquor primary establishment provided the
    proposed new location:
    • is within the same community as the existing establishment; and
    • is within a reasonably close distance from the existing establishment
    and meets site and community assessment requirements in policy 4.4.3.
    A community is not necessarily synonymous with the same local government or First Nation jurisdiction.
    In general, to meet the requirement of “same community,” the relocation will be within the publicly
    recognized area in which the establishment is already located (e.g. the commercial core of a town or
    within a residential neighbourhood).
    In determining whether the proposed location is within a “reasonably close distance”, the general
    manager will consider whether the location is within comfortable walking distance from the existing
    [Liquor Control and Licensing Regulations, section 8(4) and Liquor Control and Licensing Branch


    I looked up the walking distance in Google maps from the current location to the proposed location and it’s 2.0km (up/down hill) and a 24 minute walk. That’s not a reasonable distance, but I guess that’s a relative call, but it’s definately a different community. License relocation is really for the purpose of within the same community. And we’re not talking about the LGBT community here, were talking about different zones. A zoning map link follows…


    Denman is a C5 district:
    Commercial Districts (West End)
    The intent is to provide for retail and services uses and forms of development which are compatible with the primarily residential character of the West End, and to provide for dwelling units designed compatibly with commercial uses.
    Emphasis is placed on requiring the external design of buildings to be oriented to the pedestrian in terms of scale and functional considerations.

    And the Odyssey is considered to be the DD district (Downtown).

  40. m_starTuesday, February 10th, 2009 — 9:15pm PST


    your statement about Granville street being a viable alternative made me shake my head a little.

    Granville is where my partner got chased by a group of men while exiting Granville Station all the way through the club district. I’ve heard of many similar altercations from other local members of my community.

    Granville is NOT gay-friendly. ESPECIALLY on weekends, it is a place that myself and my queer friends steer far clear of. We simply do not feel safe, and our chances of being subjected to verbal slurs and physical harm are just too great.

    It makes sense to stay near the demographic that you serve, and as much as Gastown seems like a great alternative, it’s simply far away for those queer west-enders who don’t feel safe taking their cars to that part of town (if they own cars at all).

    is there no provision in the request to move to this new location sound dampening materials, such as the kind used in recording studios? having some experience with those materials myself, it’s amazing how much of a difference they make…

  41. Todd SielingWednesday, February 11th, 2009 — 11:59am PST

    Great post, and great discussion here. I go to the Odyssey sometimes and can see both the pros and cons of the proposed relocation site. Denman St. has long been one of two central streets of the gay community in Vancouver, along with Davie, making it an ideal place for keeping the community space intact.

    Part of the reason that gay establishments tend to cluster geographically is that it does create a safer space for club-goers. Vancouver is a tolerant city by many measures, but both the Gastown and Granville St. nightlife crowds have elements that are far from gay-friendly, and relocating to either nightclub district is a recipe for trouble, unfortunately. The things I’ve seen outside the lesbian bar Lick in Gastown, and the number of reports I hear about abuse and assault on Granville St. leave no doubt in my mind about that.

    That said, the proposed relocation wouldn’t be without its own problems. There will be noise, and smoke, and I can sympathize. If the license is granted, neighbours will have to see what happens and make their decision about whether they can live with it, just like residents of Cambie St. and much of downtown have had to do in the absurdist frenzy of redevelopment these past few years.

  42. Todd SielingWednesday, February 11th, 2009 — 12:00pm PST

    Duh – the main reason I stopped to post was to share this from a friend at city hall:

    Odyssey Cabaret Relocation

    An application has been received to approve the relocation of the Odyssey Cabaret from 1251 Howe Street to 200-911 Denman Street.

    To learn more about this application and meet with the applicant and City staff, please attend:

    Wednesday, February 18, 2009 6:30 – 9 pm West End Community Centre Auditorium, Main Floor 870 Denman Street

    For more information: 604.871.6555 or e-mail [email protected]

  43. Adele KirwerWednesday, February 11th, 2009 — 1:47pm PST

    The Open House has been posted a few times now 🙂

    Please also note from the city:

    Attendees will need to provide their name, address, etc. when they speak with the city staff on Feb. 18th so that it is clear if they are a local resident or not.

    You are not required to attend for the full 2.5 hours in order to participate. This is a drop-in open house so come in anytime between 6:30 PM and 9:00 PM to voice your opposition or support as a resident affected by this relocation application to city staff.

  44. StevieCThursday, February 12th, 2009 — 2:58am PST

    Statistics show that criminals are far more likely to target neighbourhoods where businesses close early, and streets are dark and quiet. The fewer people on the street, the less likely there would be witnesses in the case of an assault, burglary, or vandalism to property. I work nights, and am very thankful to be in a neighbourhood where businesses are open late, or 24 hours. I would think that people living west of Denman, between Denman and Stanley Park, would welcome having an establishment where there are numerous people congregating, deterring any would-be criminals.

  45. Adele KirwerThursday, February 12th, 2009 — 9:07am PST

    The West End has a slightly above average rate of crime according to the Vancouver Police Department statistics for 2008:


    The rates seem to go down in areas with LESS businesses rather than in areas with more businesses. The crime rates also seem to increase dramatically in areas which have lots of late night businesses operating like the Central Business District, for example. It appears with there being more people in those areas, there is more opportunity for crime.

  46. MichaelThursday, February 12th, 2009 — 5:06pm PST

    Umm Kalev, there are many, many, many places in Vancouver that start serving liquor in the morning.
    Morning means before Noon in my world, and just because said establishments might be in and around YOUR DTES, doesn’t make them UN-worthy or acceptance.

    Kinda like The Odyssey.

  47. BruceWednesday, February 18th, 2009 — 4:04pm PST

    I have lived in the west end for over 20 years, during which time I’ve watched a once vibrant gay scene atrophy to the point where we have 3 or 4 clubs left. I fully support the O’s move to Denman St and have made my views known to the city.

    There are only two streets in the west end where gay clubs can be safely located, and one of them is Denman. The city’s ‘entertainment district’ is a completely unsafe alternative for gay people.

    The west end is not a bucolic little english village – it’s the epicentre of Canada’s third largest city. I’m tired of people buying their ‘little piece of paradise’ and then attempting to trap the city in amber so that no further development occurs.

  48. joecdnThursday, February 19th, 2009 — 12:04am PST

    I’ve read all the replies to this post, and I have a few things to add…

    @realtorblair: Weren’t you the same guy that marketed the Alto development, right next to the current Odyssey location? The same development that told potential buyers that the Odyssey would be gone soon (before it was formalized)? The same development that marketed itself in a very un-neighbourly way by basically putting down the Odyssey and it’s clientele the entire time? I seem to remember receiving emails from you (that were unsolicited) marketing this project, so to have you campaigning against the Odyssey’s proposed relocation seems hypocritical and mean-spirited.

    @s (local resident): I think you need to take a long, hard look at the people that visit drinking establishments before you start calling us all “riff-raff”. I go to bars and guess what? I also pay taxes, donate to charities, work hard to make my community a better place, contribute positively to society, and mentor others to do the same. It’s people like you, who cry NIMBY day and night, that ruin communities and contribute to their degradation.

    And to whoever made that comment about schools being in the area – give your head a shake. It’s people like you that perpetuate sterotypes of gay people being sexual predators. There is absolutely no room in this world for any of that crap.

    Lets be clear here, Denman Street is part of the DOWNTOWN PENINSULA. As such, and as somebody pointed out earlier, one must expect there to be a significant increase in the amount of noise experienced by residents living in the area compared to their counterparts outside of the core. If you want complete peace and quite, move to the country, Mission is fairly affordable these days. And there’s no noise!

    I am completely in favour of the Odyssey’s relocation plans. They have proven themselves to be a good corporate citizen through their charitable sponsorships, and their efforts and building and binding the community through times of joy and hardship. Vibrant neighbourhooods are created with a mixture of retail, residential and entertainment. Look at every major city in the world and you’ll see this. StevieC’s comment earlier about crime reduction in areas where there are people around all the time hold true. Denman Street will be a safer place as a result of this move. And the VPD’s representative saying that the move to Denman is not a good thing reeks of irresponsibility. As an area resident, I’d be shocked to hear those comments coming from a police officer’s mouth. Reading between the lines, it seems that the VPD would prefer to not visit Denman St. if they didn’t have to. Frankly, that disgusts me.

    Those are my two cents…

  49. ClubGuyWednesday, February 25th, 2009 — 9:32am PST

    Wow, I have to say that I agree with joecdn’s post 110%. What valid points.

    I really hope the Odyssey does move to denman!

  50. david andersonWednesday, February 25th, 2009 — 2:47pm PST

    After reading a number of submissions about the nightclub on Denman issue, I feel a couple of points must be clarified. The area is not really “downtown” but is the West End which is, not only a residential neighbourhood, BUT ‘the most densely populated residential neighbourhood in the country.’
    There at least a couple of thousand residents living within a few hundred feet of this proposed nightclub location.
    Would the city consider putting a nightclub in the Kerrisdale or Shaughnessy neighbourhoods of Vancouver?
    Obviously not. Why then would one be considered for the residential neighbourhood containing the most residents. We have lived in the neighbourhood for about 2 years. However we have met people who have lived in the west end residential neighbourhood for 50+ years.
    Nightclubs are great and there are some we patronize regularly. This neighbourhood however, like every other residential area is not the right place for one.

  51. crsThursday, February 26th, 2009 — 10:06am PST

    Actually it is a perfectly fine neighborhood for a liquor primary. Denman is zoned for it. It is exactly the same zoning as Davie Street (both the street itself and the neighborhood beside the street). There are other establishments with a liquor primary already on Denman. While they may not be clubs, that’s beside the point. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a club coming to the Former Coast Plaza Hotel. That would be fine, since it will be large enough to support an interior lobby for lineups and a somewhat sheltered smoking area. If an establishment applies for that location, and gets the Vancouver police behind them with promises to put security guards around the surrounding block I can’t see any reason for the city to deny it. Anyway, long story short, the Odyssey has never made any promises of the sort, and the proposed location is not suitable for many reasons. For example, they are not willing to have an interior lobby of a suitable size, much like Richards new club has, since it would require giving up some of the headcount in the club proper. Also, no solutions were ever offered for dealing with neighborhood noise after closing or from the smokers who literally have no where legal to smoke other than in the alleys.

    I welcome a club on Denman, just not this specific location and this applicant. It will take the right finesse to get it past the many vocal residents, but I do believe it is possible, and perhaps long overdue for the area.

  52. Polaroid GirlThursday, February 26th, 2009 — 11:38pm PST

    Why does Vancouver need to be so unreasonably uptight? It’s a nightclub being moved to another location in DOWNTOWN Vancouver. Anyone who lives downtown – whether that be in the westend or in coal harbour should be willing to anticipate a certain level of noise.

    The westend is the heart of Vancouver’s gay community and it’s unfortunate that the sense of community in this area has nearly vanished. The Odyssey is by no means an exclusively gay establishment but it does play a role in supporting the gay community by providing a space where people of all kinds can come together and have a good time.

    I think a lot of you are quite oblivious to the fact that there was an afterhours lounge located where the Odyssey is moving. Two years ago there was a lounge called Ambrosia that would stay open until 4-5am and serve alcoholic beverages. None of you seemed to be complaining then – seriously let loose a little!

  53. crsFriday, February 27th, 2009 — 11:59am PST

    Actually Ambrosia was a Restaurant. If they were staying open beyond their license they did it under the radar and with few customers, since people surely do complain in this neighborhood and the cops would shut it down.

    The fact that it is a gay establishment has no bearing on the LCLB’s decision. Here is a quote from the Richards on Richards application… “The City of Vancouver has no authority to regulate an operator’s clientele/target market. As a result, commenting or basing a decision on Market Analysis is an unproductive use of staff time.” I would think that this policy applies whether or not bias is considered positive or negative to the applicant.

  54. BlissfulGirlTuesday, April 7th, 2009 — 9:09am PDT

    UPDATE on Night Club Relocation Application for The Odyssey Moving to 911 Denman Street:

    Council DID NOT make a decision on March 26 … it has been postponed until April 9 at 2PM. You can still affect change!!!

    APRIL 8 12:30PM TO 2:00PM
    Quiet Protest Against Night Clubs On Denman Street
    Organized by West End residents opposed to night clubs
    Wednesday, April 8, 2009
    12:30pm – 2:00pm
    Odyssey Relocation Application Site
    911 Denman Street
    Vancouver, BC
    **Why a “quiet protest”? Because the main reason so many neighbours oppose night clubs on Denman Street is due to the noise.

    April 9th City Council Meeting
    The Planning & Environment Committee will debate and vote on the night club relocation to Denman St. application
    Thursday, April 9, 2009
    2:00pm – 5:00pm
    Council Chamber Third Floor, City Hall
    453 West 12th Avenue
    Vancouver, BC

    If you can not attend either of these events you can still email Mayor and Council and make your position known. These emails are HUGELY important, you can (and should) submit your opinion to mayor and Council at:
    [email protected]
    Phone: 604.873.7276
    FAX: 604.873.7419

  55. JP HoleckaFriday, April 10th, 2009 — 10:39am PDT

    I was contacted last night by Raymond Louie on the subject of the relocation:

    “Thank you for taking the time to write to Mayor and Council regarding
    the relocation of the Odyssey Nightclub.

    I am writing to inform you that Council considered the application for
    a Primary Liquor License at 911 Denman today and Council did not endorse
    the application, the only Councillor voting for the application was
    Susanne Anton.


    Raymond Louie

    Councillor, City of Vancouver”

  56. BlissfulGirlFriday, April 10th, 2009 — 11:04am PDT

    It is true, they did not get approval for their application.

    But, an amendment was added by City Council to the motion to deny their application to help the Odyssey find a more suitable location than in a residential area. Their amendment also mentioned possibly allowing them to remain where they are while the City helps them find a more suitable spot.

    That motion with the attached amendment is what passed, so I think there is more to come on this story. The City also told the Odyssey that they would could relax the 100m restriction between primary liquor license locations if they found a suitable venue that was closer than 100m to a current primary liquor license venue.

  57. realtorblairFriday, April 10th, 2009 — 11:53am PDT

    Someone jusy brought the comment from joecdn in february to my attention.
    Ever heard of fact checking?
    I was never involved with Alto, or its marketing.
    I also do not send unsolicited emails btw.
    @realtorblair is my twitter name, but my full name is Blair Smith which is available on my twitter page, as is my contact info. I have never hidden my identity, and have nothing to hide nor be ashamed of.

  58. Guy BabineauWednesday, April 15th, 2009 — 12:56am PDT

    Until a few years ago, there was a gay bar on Denman Street called Denman Station, which was a block and a half closer to Georgia than the proposed–and now vetoed-location of the Odyseey. I don’t recall any problems. Most American cities, and, in Canada, Montreal, have neighbourhood get-together spaces where alcohol is served, making those neighbourhoods better places to live and socialize. I really don’t understand the fuss.

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