In an unexpected post on October 29, SBC Restaurant's Facebook account (which is presumably maintained by the venue's owner, Malcolm Hassin) announced a sudden end to live music at the Downtown Eastside space.
Although SBC's licence has not been suspended, Hassin is scheduled to meet with inspectors from the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch on Monday (November 4) to discuss the venue's compliance with the conditions of its food-primary licence, which limits the space's capacity to 50 people and specifies that shows must end by 1 a.m.
From 1953 until the early 1990s, 109 East Hastings was occupied by the Smilin' Buddha Cabaret (the initials of which gave SBC its name), which over the years played host to acts including the Kingsmen and Jimi Hendrix. The Smilin' Buddha is perhaps best remembered, however, as the epicentre of Vancouver's early punk scene, hosting shows by D.O.A., the Subhumans, and the Young Canadians, among others. The venue's iconic neon sign is now on permanent display at the Museum of Vancouver.
For the past few years, SBC has been run by Hassin (initially in partnership with Andrew Turner), presenting live music and laying claim to the distinction of having B.C.'s largest indoor skateboard ramp.
In a follow-up post, Hassin noted that running the venue has been a rewarding but stressful experience. "My mental health has taken a toll over the past almost decade and [I] need to hang up gloves for the time being," he wrote. "I am running on empty. just need to let everyone know I tried my best all good things come to and end, with every window closing another ones open."
While that makes it sound as if SBC will actually be shutting down for good, the Facebook post went on to say "Will keep everyone updated on meeting with the Liquor board on monday hopefully all goes well."
Hassin has not responded to the Georgia Straight's request for comment.