It's game over for Storm Crow Alehouse, as Vancouver's well loved 'nerd bar' closes
Pandemic, supply chain, staff issues, construction all contributed to demise of pub, owner says
The Storm Crow Alehouse in Vancouver, where patrons can grab a pint and play board games, is closing down as the pandemic, supply chain and staffing issues all take a toll on business, its owner says.
Jason Kapalka had already shuttered the Storm Crow Tavern, the original location on Commercial Drive, in 2020.
Now Kapalka says it's no longer possible to keep the Alehouse on West Broadway open, mostly due to issues linked to the pandemic.
"For restaurants, it's just been — oh boy, it's been really brutal," he said. "It was really hard. We've been thinking about this, to some degree, for the last two years."
Problems such as hiring staff, finding supplies and construction for the SkyTrain expansion have all harmed business, he said.
We have a sad announcement to make. Please read. Then give us a hug. Then go bid on some of the cool memorabilia we’re auctioning at <a href="https://t.co/zpzypekXhM">https://t.co/zpzypekXhM</a>, with proceeds going to our staff.<br><br>We love you, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Vancouver?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Vancouver</a>. Thank you for a great run. ❤️ <a href="https://t.co/OTx6TAjGUa">pic.twitter.com/OTx6TAjGUa</a>—@crowalehouse
A decade ago Kapalka opened the Storm Crow Tavern on Commercial Drive as a unique, so-called nerd bar where patrons could eat, drink and play from a large selection of board games. The Alehouse followed a few years later.
"It wasn't just some standard cookie-cutter pub," he said about both locations, which were readily supported and well loved by locals.
Jane McFadden with the Kitsilano West 4th Business Improvement Association says many local businesses continue to struggle in the face of compounding obstacles, including the recent restrictions brought in to stem the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
"I think it will be a really long recovery, especially with this next round of COVID restrictions," she said.
She encourages people to support local businesses so they can make it through the pandemic.
Kapalka says he'll continue to operate the Storm Crow Manor in Toronto, and he's not ruling out a return to Vancouver post pandemic.
"Hopefully we'll be back again somehow," he said.
With files from Joel Ballard