The Yale Hotel's long-time owner decides to let the blues club go

It was with a heavy sigh that Waide Luciak told the Straight he’s giving up management of the Yale Hotel.

“It tears me apart because I just love that whole scene and I love the people that were involved in it, but what can I do?” he said in a telephone interview. “The reality is, the live music business is just not what it used to be.”

Luciak has owned and operated the Yale since 1987. The famous blues club closed for renovations in November 2012, but recently switched on its old neon sign, and looked to be preparing for a reopening in the near future. Luciak, however, said he’s decided to let the pub go. He added that he’d ideally like to maintain ownership and lease the space, but will consider selling if that’s an option that draws interest.

“It was never our intention to sell the Yale,” he explained. “Things are just really different, and not positive different. We try really hard to put great music acts out there, but audiences just don’t show up the way they used to, and they don’t drink the way they used to.”

The newly renovated building at 1300 Granville Street originally took the name “The Yale” in the mid-1880s. It carved out a niche for itself as a regular stop for travelling blues musicians beginning in the late-1980s, and went on to host hundreds of notable acts including the likes of John Lee Hooker, Johnny Winter, and Jimmy Page.

Luciak said that he’s going to continuing working with FanClub, another live music venue located down the street. But he acknowledged the hit that his decision will likely deliver to Vancouver’s whimpering blues circuit.

“I just had my 60th birthday and I’ve been involved in the music scene for almost three decades, and given it my all,” he said. “But it really is too much to do two, at least for me.”

Comments (13) Add New Comment
Locode
" poll dancers"?? Laura Robinson your new proofreader?
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Martin Dunphy
It's fixed, smartass.
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Pat Crowe
Crushing! This was the only place left downtown for the mature, music, crowd.
The only thing left on the strip at night for "real" music fans is a possible decent show at the Commodore or Vogue. Other than that it's just punk assed aggravation and expense.
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Alan Layton
What a shame.
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Forest
No! No! No! No! No! We've been waiting for years for the Yale to re-open and now our dreams of finally hearing some good blues in a real pub are dashed upon the bloody and soul-less shores of Vancondo-ization. Oh well, there will always be the vomitorium north on Granville street
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James Blatchford
Well, this is a blow to the Vancouver music scene...such a shame if The Yale becomes the late, great music hall in Vancouver. We almost lost the Commodore so maybe maybe another philanthropic rescue? Hope so.

Anyway, Waide Lusiak deserves our gratitude for all the great shows he brought to The Yale over the years.Someone give this man a medal!
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Meathead
What then, pray tell, do they plan on using the venue for now?
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Skebo
What a toilet.
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ACMESalesRep
Forest: I'm pretty sure the condo development next door is the only reason the Yale is still standing, let alone wholly restored (on the outside) and renovated.
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James Blatchford
Skebo -- do us all a favour and go back under the bridge like a good troll.
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Pietro nortoni
Driving by it seems every ounce of soul has been wrung out of the place so like a badly pruned tree the chainsaw is the only answer !
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northvanblues
Thanks for a great run, Wade! The Yale had a great influence on my life and outlook. I will continue to see you at the FanClub, but the closing of the Yale will leave a gaping hole in my heart.
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Dee
Let potential owners know that 300 people recently showed up at the Fairview for Wailin Walker and Blues in the City at the Edgewater has had four sell out shows. The fans are around but maybe not at the Fan Club.
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