Goodbye strippers, hello live music: seedy bar to get makeover as arts venue

Before the Flamingo bar on the corner of 108 Avenue and King George Blvd. in Surrey is turned into condos, it will get one last run as a neighbourhood hotspot.

Developer aims to make area 'Yaletown' of Surrey

The Byrd, a strip club on King George Boulevard, will eventually be torn down to make way for a new development. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

Before the Flamingo bar on the corner of 108 Avenue and King George Blvd. in Surrey, B.C. is turned into condos, it will get one last run as a neighbourhood hotspot.

Flamingo Managing Partner David Geertz — who also heads up a non-profit arts society — wants to transform the old bar and former strip club next door into an arts hub for the community.

"We talked about the use of culture, music and a public space that could be used, even though it is a liquor primary venue,"  Geertz said.

"We talked about an idea of openness and allowing third-party promoters, event planners and people who wanted a place to play."

Geertz says the new bars will address the region's critical shortage of live music venues.

"We haven't opened the doors yet and we're booked all the way into May," he said.

"I mean two or three shows per week, special events, fundraisers, teen dances."

Future development

Eventually, the bars will be turned into condos.

Developer Charan Sethi has described his vision for the area as 'the Yaletown of Surrey.'

"To me, that is a feeling where you can be living in an apartment and if you want to go to a grocery store or go have a beer, it's downstairs," Sethi told CBC News in 2016.

It's expected the Flamingo will continue to operate until it is torn down in five or six years to make way for highrises.

The first live show at the new venue will be held on January 12.