A new “gentleman’s club” scheduled to open on Southwest Marine Drive in Marpole is being modelled after upscale strip clubs found in Las Vegas, says a spokesperson for the project.
“There’s nothing similar to it in the city,” Mike Pajic told the Courier. “It’s going to have a classy burlesque-type atmosphere with chandeliers and high-end service.”
And just as in Vegas, Pajic said private rooms and bottle service will be available. He noted provincial liquor laws don’t allow bottles to be left on tables in bars, so a compromise is in the works.
Pajic said the Gallery Show Lounge, slated for the site of the defunct Wild Coyote nightclub at 1312 Southwest Marine Dr., was scheduled to be open by now. (The venue later opened for a brief time as Motel Nightclub.) The show lounge is also not far from the former site of the Fraser Arms Hotel, which operated a strip bar for years until 2004.
Pajic added while all of the company’s licences are in place, there have been some delays with work permits from the city.
“The Wild Coyote was already zoned for a nightclub so there were no issues there,” said Pajic. “We already have the liquor licence and now we’re just bringing the place up to code and doing some renovations, but it’s been taking some time to get the permits in place.”
The Liquor Control Board of B.C. confirmed the venue has a valid liquor licence.
The renovations include the construction of two VIP rooms, which will eventually accommodate private parties of up to 15 for stags, stagettes or simply for customers seeking discretion.
“Say some of the Vancouver Canucks want to visit but don’t want everyone to know,” said Pajic, who argued the show lounge will be an ideal location for privacy-seeking celebrities such as Justin Bieber to visit when in town.
Also involved in the project is Vancouver promoter Mike Shear of Solid Events, who Pajic said has a long history of working with the city on organizing large functions, including a successful, sold-out New Year’s Eve party at the Pacific Coliseum three years ago. Pajic noted the Gallery is a show lounge so the music won’t be as loud as that found at most nightclubs.
“But it might be more upbeat Friday and Saturdays,” Pajic said of the club, which is expected to be open nightly from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m.
When asked by the Courier why the business partners would choose to open a strip bar when these types of venues have all but disappeared in Vancouver, Pajic said it the move was about the timing.
“The location itself is a great spot available at the right time,” said Pajic. “There’s really nothing around there.”
The location is just metres away from land, which in 2012 and 2013 was at the heart of a lengthy protest by the Musqueam Indian Band after the discovery of ancestral remains on a site planned for a condominium complex.
Musqueam media spokesperson Johnna Sparrow said the band is not involved in the show lounge.
“This is of course on our territory as is most of the city,” Sparrow told the Courier in an email. “But this particular building is not one of our projects. We do not have an opinion on this strip club.”
Initially the city told the Courier the Gallery’s building permits were on hold pending a review from Vancouver Coastal Health, but the health authority said that is not the case.
Anna Marie D’Angelo, senior media-relations officer for Vancouver Coastal Health, said there was never any health approval required for the project so she’s confused as to why the city would suggest that.
After a second request for information, the city’s media department sent this email: “The building permit is in process. The applicant was sent a list of outstanding items to address, and the city is not in a position to issue the permit until they do so.”
Don Barthel, from the community group Marpole Matters, said he didn’t have enough information to comment at this time.