Earlier this afternoon, the owners of the historic Railway Club announced that they'll be closing the venue for good, effective immediately.
After an effort to find new owners came up short, management says high rent and a lack of business are to blame for the club's downfall.
The Owners and Management of the Railway Club are sorry to announce the closure of the business, effective immediately. We would like to thank our wonderful employees, customers, promoters, suppliers, and especially the performers that have made the Railway Club much more than just a business these many years. A concerted and very public effort to sell the club over the last few months has seen no buyer come forward.
Unfortunately, the long-term and persistent combination of relatively high expenses, in particular rent, as compared to business receipts has left the business unable to continue. We deeply regret this outcome and the effect it will have on all the stakeholders, as well the cultural scene in Vancouver.
Regretfully, the city has lost music venues and nightclubs over the past couple of years and we hope this trend will see a reversal. Again, our thanks to everyone who at one time or another climbed the steep stairs up to the Railway Club; we wish the best going forward to all those affected.
The Railway Club has occupied 579 Dunsmuir Street since 1931, when it functioned as a after-work watering hole for local railway workers who were employed at the CPR Station on Seymour Street.
In 1980, the club was purchased by former NDP MLA Bob Williams, who converted the space into a live music venue. Williams, his stepdaughter Janet Forsyth, and their family ran the club until 2008, hosting an impressive list of musical acts that included names like Blue Rodeo, Barenaked Ladies, k.d. lang, Sarah McLachlan, Los Lobos, The Tragically Hip, and more. Ownership changed hands once again when Steve Silman purchased the club eight years ago.
The Forsyth family went on to open the aptly-named Off The Rail Brewing Company in early 2015.
In December 2015, the business was put up for sale with an asking price of $299,000. The listing stated that purchasing the business would create "a rare opportunity to take over a historic Vancouver location". It also stated the the club was "priced to sell".
Silman could not be reached for comment.