Donnelly Group to open new pub at site of former Railway Club
Live music 'not going to be a core element' of new pub, bar chain says
Vancouver's Donnelly Group is planning to open a new pub at the location of the former Railway Club, a historic music venue in downtown Vancouver.
The group says live music will not be the focus of the new establishment.
"We've hosted lots of live music at our pubs over the years, but unfortunately it's not going to be a core element of this new pub," said Donnelly business partner Chad Cole in a news release.
The Donnelly Group owns a number of bars in Vancouver including the Lamplighter, Cinema, Library Square and the Bimini.
The company insists the new pub will not necessarily be following the usual Donnelly Group format which is a modern take on the traditional public house.
"We're looking at some authentic ways we can pay tribute to the history of the location, and we're going to work with the local live music community to keep the spirit of Railway Club alive," Cole said in the release.
The new owners say they plan to donate some of the historic fixtures and interior elements of the former Railway Club to the Museum of Vancouver.
Closing of Railway Club left void in scene, artists say
A fixture of the Vancouver music scene for decades, the Railway Club closed in late March, 2016 after failing to find a buyer for the business.
Joe Keithley, frontman of long-lived Vancouver punk rock band D.O.A., said the Railway Club was a pillar of the local music scene for years, particularly for up-and-coming bands who couldn't fill larger venues.
"It had a super great tradition of bands starting out," Keithley said.
"It's a total drag that they wouldn't have the vision to make it [back] into a live room."
Maya Miller, drummer for the Pack a.d., said the lack of smaller rooms in Vancouver is becoming a major challenge for smaller bands — especially venues like the Railway Club that had a built-in audience.
"[The Railway Club] created a lot of opportunities to be seen that I think are missing now," Miller said. "I can't think of another one in Vancouver that's really like that."
"We're just losing venues all the time."
The new pub will no longer be called The Railway Club, but the Donnelly Group has yet to decide on a new name. The company expects to open the pub in the spring.