Revelers turned out in spades Saturday night to bid farewell to a Vancouver nightlife institution, the Lotus Hotel, and its suite of popular bars Lotus Sound Lounge, Honey Lounge and Lick Club.
News that the clubs were to close broke late last week with the announcement that the hotels owner, real estate magnate Mark James, had sold the property and that the clubs would be shut down and the space leased out.
Ethan Wilson, bar manager for the Mark James Group Ltd. told WE he received news early last week that March 26 would be the final night of operation for the three venues that had been longstanding fixtures in Vancouvers club scene.
It sucks, Wilson said of the closure.
The Lotus venues were beloved to fans of Vancouvers alternative nightlife culture because they offered something different from the mainstream clubs on the Granville strip, Wilson added. Honey Lounge had been popular for its soul-themed Mod Club nights every Friday, while Lotus Sound Lounge was one of the only venues dedicated to house and electronic music. Meanwhile Lick Club was Vancouvers only lesbian bar. The way I would describe it is, if you like Granville, you like Granville. If you dont like Granville, you like us, he said.
The closure has left about 30 people out of work, added Wilson, 27, who has been working at the clubs since he was 18. Wilson added his primary concern at this stage was informing bar staff, many of whom had worked at the clubs for years. Our newest person that we have working here has been working here for six months. When you work here, youre like a lifer, he said. Its really tough on us as a team because weve all been working together for so long.
As news of the closure circulated on Facebook last week, Wilson said he was inundated with calls from venue regulars dismayed at the loss of the multi-room venue that provided a little bit of something for everyone.
Dave Pastie, promoter of Honey Lounges Mod Club night, lamented the loss of the alternative club spaces in the Lotus. Its not just about my night, its more that it just seems like another place in Vancouver that might wind up being a sports bar, he said. Im just kinda bummed out that another fun place in Vancouver will be gone, he said. Pastie has been holding the Friday night Mod Club at Honey for the past eight years.
Pastie added he was 90 per cent confirmed the hotel had been sold to Steven Lippman, who recently purchased the American Hotel and the Golden Crown Hotel in the Downtown Eastside. Pastie said he believed the club space had been leased out to a separate company. Calls to two businesses registered to Lippman, 928 Main St. Holdings Ltd. and 116 West Hastings Holdings Ltd., went unanswered.