For nearly a quarter-century, The Irish Heather has been welcoming patrons for drinks and eats in a convivial atmosphere on Carrall Street in Gastown.
But those days are coming to an end, as owner Seán Heather announced this week the veteran spot is packing up and moving to a new location elsewhere in Vancouver.
"After 24 amazing years in Gastown, we have decided to move to a new neighbourhood," reads a social media post from the Irish Heather. "Thank you to all of our loyal customers, & amazing neighbours. We look forward to welcoming you all once we get settled in our new location."
Details about the Irish Heather's new location have been kept under wraps, however, a plan is in motion, according to a follow-up post from the gastropub.
"We are moving so that we have a better chance to survive and rebuild when COVID is done with us," Heather said in an e-mail to V.I.A.
"By moving to another location, we can reduce our overheads, including rent, insurance, property taxes, etc.," explained the chef and restaurateur.
Heather could not divulge the exact location of the new Irish Heather, but did indicate it would "east" of the current spot.
According to the Vancouver Sun, the new location will be in Chinatown. There are a number of vacant restaurant spaces in Chinatown which could potentially the destination, including those previously belonging to Mamie Taylor's, Campagnolo, and Bestie, among others.
As for what to expect at The Irish Heather 2.0? "We are aiming to create a mixture of the original Irish Heather and the most recent version…..the best of both, if we get it right," added Heather.
"COVID knocked us down but it didn’t knock us out. We have a plan to reduce our costs, and our overhead..... stay tuned for details of our new home," shared The Irish Heather Tuesday on social media.
Business has been in survival mode for a year
It's been a tough go for The Irish Heather and its sibling ventures this year. Heather took to YouTube back in April 2020 to share a video of himself singing a COVID-19 parody of Gloria Gaynor's might "I Will Survive."
Heather has been in business in Vancouver since 1997 and has been determined not to let the COVID-19 pandemic and its surrounding economic fallout take him, his businesses, and his staff out of the game.
"We are fighting for the life of our business right now, and all depending on its survival; our staff, our leases, our community, our reputation, our family, our suppliers, etc.," explained Heather via the Irish Heather website last spring.
To address the businesses' financial struggles, Heather introduced an "employee pricing" program in order to encourage customers to order from his restaurants when possible.
In addition to the Irish Heather, Heather operates the Shebeen Whisk(e)y House (located at the rear of the Irish Heather) as well as neighbouring Salt Tasting Room on Blood Alley Square in Gastown, and Open Outcry, the cocktail-focused restaurant located in the old Vancouver Stock Exchange building in Downtown, and other endeavours under the Heather Hospitality Group banner.
The Irish Heather's last day of business at its Gastown location is set for April 4.