Help me avoid having the Dallas club experience while I'm in Vancouver
August 28, 2009 8:45 AM   Subscribe

Techno in Vancouver? Is there such a thing? If no techno, how about a really good blues bar? Help me find it before September 6.

I'm about to be in Vancouver for a week (returning to US September 6). My mother is coming along; she likes live blues, I like techno. When I say techno, I don't mean remixes of top 40 music, I mean stuff like The Black Dog, Heartthrob, Drexciya, Rob Hood, Cybotron, that sort of thing. I also like tech-house and electro, even DnB, but kind of can't stand vocal or deep house or bad dubstep being drowned out by a crappy MC.

I see that Mark Farina is playing while I'm there, and that Lotus might be a good venue. But all the club listings look like they do here in Dallas; there's a lot of hype talk on flyers and all-caps Twittering, but I can't tell crap about the sound system or what style of music the djs play there. I don't care about the crowd or how much it costs to get in; I want a good sound system and a bar where I can get a decent drink without waiting 45 minutes or ordering bottle service for a few hundred just to sit down.

Alternatively, I'd also like to know what DJs to look for by name or if there are underground parties (I see there is an afterhours scene there too).

If there's none of that to be had, a dive bar with a jukebox would be just great. I'm not super-picky, but I don't want to pay $30 to go into a place that sucks, you know?

My mom would like a place where we can sit and hear local blues musicians play, or at least hear blues and jazz of some kind if it's not live and possibly eat dinner.

If anyone has suggestions on how I should dress for going out fashionably in Van, it'd be welcome, too; I see that "dress code" is listed on some clubs' pages. I'm sort of the anti-jeans and tshirt girl to begin with; I'm just trying to avoid being gauche, I suppose.

We will be staying near Robson and Granville.

Shout-out, Vancouver MeFites! If you see this and want to meet up, MeMail me. I won't have my laptop but I'll have my Blackberry which is always reliable for hitting up MeFi. :) I'll be wearing my Metafilter shirt at least once, so if you see a super-short girl walking down the street with one on, it might be me. Say hi!
posted by Unicorn on the cob to Society & Culture (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You can subscribe to the plain-text only 313 list and pose this question there. They are techno grumps lie you and me, and one of the current members of the Black Dog even posts there occasionally.
posted by mkb at 9:42 AM on August 28, 2009

The Yale for blues ... last time I looked.

Don't know about dive bars but if you're looking for a cool joint with great music that's generally free of assholes, try the The Railway.

As for techno, 313 makes sense. The best stuff is usually underground ... as it should be.
posted by philip-random at 9:59 AM on August 28, 2009

The best source for info on parties/clubs/peeps in the northwest scene is It covers everything from VanBC down to EugeneOR, and out east to Idaho.
posted by nomisxid at 10:44 AM on August 28, 2009

Response by poster: Excellent tip, mkb. I'm on the list already and email sent :)
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:45 AM on August 28, 2009

Doesn't look like they have anything scheduled until the 19th, but nevertheless you could check back on the Lighta! group and what they have planned ... not exactly techno but proper underground parties and sound systems abound.

The Yale -mentioned above- is definitely the place to go for authentic blues in the city.

And, since you mentioned dive bars, I recommend checking out karaoke at the Princeton on a Sunday night. Kind of out of the way in the North-East part of Vancouver (at the intersection of Powell & Victoria) but highly, highly entertaining.
posted by mannequito at 12:44 PM on August 28, 2009

I don't go to many clubs and don't know much about techno. I do know that a new club just opened up a few weeks ago and is claiming to have the best sound system in North America. Fortune Sound Club.

Along the Granville strip downtown there are loads of big clubs which are really expensive aggressive meat markety places. I have a hard time imagining you'll fine good music or a relaxed vibe here. I can only guess what the Dallas club experience is but Granville is probably it.

The Lotus Hotel and the associated venues in the same building (Honey lounge and something else) might be a good bet. They always have a party on the Sunday of the long weekend (Sept 6th, Labour Day weekend, maybe you're in luck?). I have a friend who liked electronic music who always goes.

The aforementioned Railway Club is a Vancouver institution and a great place to grab a beer and hear some relatively unknown local bands. On Tuesdays in the fall they host Shindig, which is a local battle-of-the-bands, it's usually fun times. I'm not sure when it starts up, probably soon.

Dive bars: There are several to be had in the downtown eastside such as Funky Winkerbeans, Pat's Pub, The Astoria; many of these have started hosting live shows and dance night and might on a given night be packed with hipster kids, or might be emtpy except for some bleary eyed old First Nations people who've been there all day. I generally like these places since they're cheap and honest and not trying to be in your face about how cool they are. Though the best place for a slice of the city is the Vancouver Legion on Main St and 20th; come on Thursday or Saturday for some karaoke.

There are a number of places in Gastown as well which range from upscale loungy (Steamworks microbrewery, Shine nightclub) to dingy (The Met, The Bourbon). The latter two sometimes host bands and DJs, though unlikely to be anything good.

Oh, you should think about going to the Cobalt, Vancouver's only legitimate punk venue. The place is going to be evicted in one month unless things change, which is fucking tragic, since it's one of the few places that people outside of Vancouver have actually heard of. The Brickhouse bar across the street is a pretty nice hangout and it's where I went to my first Mefi meet-up.
posted by PercussivePaul at 1:17 PM on August 28, 2009

You'll definitely want to be at the Lotus for the lotus long weekend, they connect the bars together, you'll get electro, tech-house, etc. etc.
posted by imaswinger at 3:19 PM on August 28, 2009

Response by poster: Great, thanks everybody for responding! I'm so excited. Anything to get a break from the 90+ degree weather here in Texas... ack, in Fahrenheit. I better figure out Celsius and sundry other metric measurements.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 1:28 PM on August 29, 2009

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