FanClub opens its doors on Granville Street
By Laurel Borrowman, Life & Style Editor
In the quest to build meaningful, loving, and worthwhile forms of comradery—that is, friendship—one must be careful not to accidentally make friends with the wrong folks. There are many ways to go about picking and choosing friends, and filtering people out at the get-go is one of the most important steps. While it’s not always the best plan to judge a book by its cover, there’s no reason to read a book by Stephanie Meyers if you hate books by Stephanie Meyers.
I have a few filters that I can apply to about 75 per cent of first encounters that will tell me immediately if this new acquaintance could shift into friend territory. If you hate Portlandia, it’s not going to work. If you don’t care for proper grammar and correct punctuation, it’s not going to work. If you love hanging out at bars on Granville Street on Saturday nights, it’s definitely not going to work.
So what do I say when I was invited to opening night at FanClub, 1050 Granville Street, the heart of Vancouver’s Ed Hardy-laden, mini-skirt-riddled Mecca? I say yes, of course. Free drinks, free food, and a bunch of friends involved in opening the joint? You’d do the same, whether it was your jam or not. Here’s the report on Vancouver’s newest dining, dancing, New Orleans-inspired live music venue.
The owners (also proprietors of under-construction blues bar up the street, The Yale), spent about two million dollars renovating the venue, and it shows. Aesthetically, FanClub is beautiful. The main floor centre bar is a square island, lined with bar stools and 14 brass taps that glimmer under large, globe-shaped lamps dangling from the ceiling; across the mezzanine floor are a smattering of cocktail lounge tables circling the dance floor; about 25 steps up a rather majestic staircase are the balcony and catwalk—with another bar and DJ set up—that wrap around the second floor, giving everyone on it a bird’s eye view of everyone below, including the stage. It’s a colourfully lit, wrought iron fence-lined, people-watchers’ paradise.
Admittedly, I spent more than half my time leaning on the railing just soaking in the company, whether anyone was about to be a lifelong friend or not.
The food was gone by the time we arrived, so I can’t comment much on that. Once in full-swing though, the menu will tout a list of house-smoked meats, seafood, and vegetarian selections, with an array of desserts, a true French Quarter meets West Coast fashion, as Yelp says. Many are liquor-infused, and if the Bourbon Room is any indicator, a main ingredient across the board at FanClub will be both whiskey and bourbon. Which brings us to the main attraction, the drink menu.
Three free drinks came with each entry. As a pretty big fan of beer, I was more than stoked when I heard the main bar alone had 14 taps, mostly local. This sounded great in theory, but unfortunately they weren’t fully stocked. My first three tries were quashed (I heard they were proud to be serving “small batch” brews, but this?), leaving me to try two beers from Tin Whistle Brewing Co. in Penticton: the Scorpion Double IPA and the Killer Bee Dark Honey Ale. My first reason for ordering these was that I’ve never seen them in a liquor store, so kudos to FanClub for serving something different. They were delicious, and I was happy. The cheapo in me remembered to check the normal cost of the beers, and for $6-$7.50, you can get any pint on the menu, which in my books is reasonable given the setting, and the finer details of the place, like the textured black wallpaper and killer sound system.
Finally, I think the main leg-up this place has is the Bourbon Bar, a sequestered dimly lit and cozy room tucked away in the back, easily mistaken for a VIP area. With a three-page list of bourbon and whiskey—again, pretty reasonable prices that start at $8—it’s tough to slam the joint. The crowning achievement? In-house smoked Bulleit Bourbon.
While it’s probably not tops on my—or any Douglas student’s list—to become a regular hangout, I’d bring visitors to FanClub, if just for the scenery. Add on live music by a variety of bands every single night, and the place is likely to be a hit, even if you don’t become BFFs.
For more info on FanClub, 1050 Granville Street, visit vancouverfanclub.ca.