A few weeks ago I got a tour of the newly-renovated Morrissey on Granville and last night Keira and stopped in for a bit to check it out at night. The renovation of this watering hole with a loyal customer base represents far more than a design overhaul; it’s a non-pretentious, laid back, yet really cool place to grab a drink which over the last 20 years or so, was next to impossible to find on Granville.
Anyone who has been to Vancouver knows that Granville street is a pretty interesting place. At night it’s club district is filled with short skirts, egos and testosterone-fueled spats. In the light of day, especially now that the street is undergoing a revitalization, it’s like a blast from the past. The architecture is from a different time, actually more so from various different times.
Art Deco theatres now house night clubs or stores, while hotels from the 1920s have been turned into hostels or parking lots. Piercing shops and tattoo parlours speckle the landscape in between adult novelty stores with neon “25 cent peep show” signs. Just down the block there’s a Burger King, a Payless Shoes, and private parties for things like BC Fashion Week. This eclectic mix of old and new, posh and rough, trendy and edgy makes it an area of the city where you either go to have fun, or avoid like the plague.
I met with the designer of the new Morrissey, Reisa Pollard, who said that the renovation was to be the antithesis of EarlStonesClub. However, it was still supposed to be friendly and welcoming to the hotel guests, as it is a part of the Ramada. A classic live venue that has hosted rock and roll acts for a pint or five, she also didn’t want to lose that part of its history. Taking an Irish-themed hotel pub and turning it into a relaxed tribute with antique highlights was definitely a challenge but I’d say Reisa and her team pulled it off.
The Morrissey is located on Granville between Davie & Drake, and its building – the Austin Motor Hotel, dates back to 1906. Some of the elements you’ll see out in the open, as a part of the design, are either original or throwbacks to that time period. During the renovation Reisa removed the wood paneling from the back wall and uncovered the original wallpaper and you’ll also notice band stickers on the bar stools, funky pillows, and old radios stacked up on the walls.
Music has always been an important part of the Morrissey and they still have live performances and every Saturday night at 10:00pm they will feature current buzz bands, indie, punk, rock, electro, old school hits and rotating DJs.
Keira and I really enjoyed hanging out there last night. The staff was friendly, helpful, and courteous, and the music was simply fun. Once a Beastie Boys song turned into Tears for Fears Keira exclaimed, “I wish they would play some Duran Duran.” I assured her that given what we had already heard that night, it was probably on tap. Sure enough the very next song was Planet Earth. I would recommend checking it out and if you do, I’d love to hear about your experience.