10 Things I Hate About Clubbing in Vancouver

London's problem is that all the good clubs are shutting down. Vancouver's problem is that only one can exist at a time.

by Ziad Ramley
Apr 7 2015, 4:00pm

Photo by author

When you hear the words "clubbing" and "Vancouver" in the same sentence, they're typically followed immediately by the words "is shit." There's a good reason for this. Ten good reasons, in fact. Here are all the things I hate about clubbing in Vancouver.

Lining Up While It's Light Out

Shortly before guestlist closed. Photo by Bob Hare, courtesy of Vancouver Is Awesome

Did you have plans for 6PM? You'd better cancel them if you want to get into Celebrities, The Roxy, or whatever weekly is trendy this month. Outsiders reading this: know that I'm not exaggerating—this really happens.

Most People Who Complain About the Waldorf Closing

Photo courtesy of Vancouver Archives

Some people who complain about The Waldorf switching owners are genuine and sincere. Faithfully, they trekked out there every weekend and had a great time. Most people who complain about The Waldorf switching owners are not those people. They never went, haven't supported Arrival Agency since, and won't shut up about how bullshit it was that it went under. If you're going to miss a club, you should try going to it first.

When The Granville Megabite Is Your Only Option

Photo by Bukko Boomeranger, courtesy of Urban Spoon

Let's say it's 3AM, you're leaving Vancouver's main club strip, and you're hungry. You realistically only have one option: the Granville Megabite. This restaurant is unique because nowhere else in Vancouver do people so openly free themselves from the shackles of humanity.

Drunken Irish tourists chant Katy Perry singles, gym rats ask you if their Ed Hardy hoodies are still in (without a hint of irony, I might add), and people all around the restaurant make out so aggressively there's collateral damage. A man could throw a cup of ranch at the wall, try to kiss someone's girlfriend, and then get in a fight outside and nobody, nobody at all, would consider this out of the ordinary. This is what you have to put up with every weekend without fail and when all is said and done, you're still walking away with a shit slice of pizza.

Choosing Between a Jacket or Umbrella

Photo by Tom Harpel, courtesy of WikiPedia

Toque hair and never-ending coat check lines are headaches we share with Montreal. However, rain is a uniquely Vancouver problem. It pours a lot in this city, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights between 8PM and 3AM—and especially if you have a date that night. When this happens, you generally have two options:

1. The Jacket. Pro: Protection from rain. Cons: Arrive sweaty, hold wet jacket all night.

2. The Umbrella. Pro: Protection from rain. Cons: Immediately stolen, get drenched walking home.

Neither of these are sexy.

Location, Location, Location

Photo by the author

Want to go to a club that isn't in, or directly beside, downtown Vancouver? Too bad! While other cities have their clubs spread out across various neighborhoods, ours are all within ten minutes of each other. If you don't live close by, enjoy spending most of your money on cabs.


Photo by author

Gastown is the only nightlife destination in the world where you'll pay $25 for a thimble of cocktail and then get mugged on a piss-reeking sidewalk right outside.

Everything to do with Surrey

Photo by author

If you live anywhere else in British Columbia, you know as well as I do that this joke just wrote itself. And then it tried to start a fight at Republic.

Confusing Club Layouts

Photo by Louis Ybanez, courtesy of Joe's Apartment

It only takes a few nights out to realise that clubs in Vancouver make no sense, and not in the usual "oh, the dance floor is too small" or "there aren't enough bars" ways. Republic has a DJ booth in a stairwell between the ground and second floor. Why? "Iunno," someone must have shrugged when approving the plans. "Fuck it." Portside, a Gastown dance bar, quite literally cooks pulled pork on the premises. This is kind of interesting when you first think about it, but then you realise how sweaty most clubs get and remember how pungent barbecues are and immediately understand this to be a bad idea. Multiply this disregard for common sense across an entire city and you have nightclubs in Vancouver.

The Illusion of Choice

Photo by the author

London's problem is that all the good clubs are shutting down. Vancouver's problem is that only one can exist at a time. When Celebrities is on a roll, Fortune is only booking psy-pop acts. When Venue has Pusha T, the Commodore has Genesis. In any given year, the nights where you're spoiled for choice are few and far between. This means long lines to get in, long lines to get drinks, and seeing the same faces no matter where you go. That, or you could go to 560.

East Van Techno Club

Photo by the author

I love East Van. In fact, some of my best friends are from East Van. Put a PBR in the hands of someone living off Kingsway, however, and they become an entirely different person. God forbid they find out about the showcase at Open Studios.

Ziad Ramley is on Twitter

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