The wait is over.
Yes, it's true—the much-beloved and much-missed nightlife institution The Odyssey, a longterm fixture on the West End LGBT scene, has finally reopened its doors to the world.
The new reincarnation, at 686 West Hastings Street (formerly inhabited by Pop Opera), opens five years after the location closed at 1215 Howe Street, prompting a lengthy search to secure a new venue.
On July 28, the club opened to clubbers, in advance of its first ticketed event on Thursday (July 30) for Pride Week.
Fans of the previous location can rest assured that the spirit and feel of the old Odyssey is evident in this reinterpretation.
That's particularly true of the dance floor, which remains intimate with wooden floorboards and a DJ booth overlooking it.
A new shower stall, a throwback to the old Shower Power featuring wet and wonderful male go-go dancers, is situated next to the DJ booth off the dance floor.
The versatile stage area can be used either as a performance space or a dance floor, with a removable railing.
Although there isn't an outdoor enclosed patio like the previous location, there is a sunken lounge with its own bar that provides a more intimate space for those who want to chat or chill out.
The main bar is semi-circular, providing a broad reach to patrons.
The 5,000 square feet room retains the intimate feel of the former version. However, décor flourishes, an industrial-chic look, and the business-area location lend a more cosmopolitan feel to the club. It's as if the Odyssey has graduated and gone to the big city.
"Tonight, the best thing I've heard is people say that the Odyssey looks like it has grown up," owner Bijan Ahmadian said in a speech to the assembled crowd during a special preview reception. "It's like Odyssey 2.0 and…I'm really happy to hear that."
Ahmadian thanked everyone for their support and he talked about how they strived to incorporate all the feedback they received from the community.
"I got a call two years ago from our generous financier who asked me if I wanted to help get this process started," he said. "We went through lots of designs and I hope that we've created a space that's indicative of what the community wanted. I've always said that the Odyssey is a community hub first and a bar second, and I hope we've accomplished that."
You can judge it for yourself during its Pride weekend lineup that features DJs, drag queens, and go-go dancers. For more details, visit the Odyssey website.