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Here’s what makes this historic Vancouver venue a popular nightlife location

What makes it a go-to for bars and nightclubs?
These are all the bars, nightclubs, lounges, and businesses that have occupied 1240 Thurlow Street in Vancouver, and what the address was before it was a local nightlife hub.

Vancouver nightlife is dispersed throughout the city, trailing down the Granville strip, clustered in Davie Village, and hidden within Gastown's cobblestone streets.

Yet, there's one venue that has consistently housed dancing, music, and evening entertainment for the past century. 

In fact, the city's newest nightclub recently opened at this venue, located at 1240 Thurlow Street. 

This is what makes the historic venue so sought-after for local nightlife. 

Before it became a nightlife hub

When the corner of Davie and Thurlow streets was first given an address, it was for a house built in 1894 located at 1074 Davie Street, according to the Vancouver Heritage Foundation.

The house was owned by the Wintermute family until 1917 and in 1926 a commercial building with an address of 1098 Davie Street, which remains, was built in front of the house. The address for the house then changed to 1240 Thurlow Street and it was used as a rooming house from the mid-1930s to the late 1960s after which it was likely demolished.

All that currently remains of the house is a parking lot. An addition was also added to the back of the commercial building at 1098 Davie Street but its address remains 1240 Thurlow Street. 

Davie Street was lined predominantly with houses and it wasn't until later on that commercial buildings began replacing the homes. The corner of Davie and Thurlow streets, therefore, marks one of the oldest commercial buildings in that area.

Over the years, additions and upstairs floors have been occupied by bars and clubs while other businesses resided on the main floor.

Which bars, clubs, and businesses took place here?

The Oasis Ultra Lounge was one of the first nightlife businesses to occupy the space. 

In two City of Vancouver council administrative reports dated July 12, 1999, and June 7, 2000, Oasis Restaurants Ltd. operated on the second floor as a social club with an ancillary restaurant, directly above Denny's Restaurant which resided on the first floor at the time.

The lounge had applied for endorsement to sell beer, wine, and coolers, which would have turned the lounge into a pub. 

"The proposed pub will offer typical pub entertainment such as dedicated games area with pool table or dartboard, television monitors and quiet background music by way of a pianist or guitarist," reads both reports. 

However, Oasis Ultra Lounge closed permanently and in 2017 a new nightlife venue settled into the space. 

Playhouse Nightclub boasted an outdoor heated patio, unlike other nightclubs in the city, and a unique LED lighting system. The nightclub closed before a bar took over the space in 2019. 

Kiss & Tell Bar kept the former nightclub's heated patio but replaced the entertainment with live music, comedy shows, drag performances, and other talents. The bar was short-lived as well.

Now, another nightclub has taken over the second floor; Elysium, an EDM nightclub that also plays hip-hop tunes on Friday nights. 

Before the space became a go-to for bars and nightclubs, other businesses had resided at 1240 Thurlow Street:

  • Bill's Barber Shop (1949-1966)
  • Victory Shoe Repair (1946-1971)
  • Wong Sung Laundry (1938-1948)
  • Union Dyers and Cleaners (1929-1935)
  • Dunker's Do-nuts (1948-1971)
  • Black Angus Restaurant (1972-1985)