Legendary Vancouver music venue relists with asking price reduced for former Railway Club

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      An iconic live-music venue in Vancouver has returned to the market in another bid to get a new owner on board.

      The former Railway Club, now Railway Stage & Beer Café, listed again on May 20 with a reduced price of $449,000.

      A previous offering for the downtown establishment for almost half a million dollars, or $499,000 to be exact, did not land a buyer.

      The Straight reported about the earlier listing for the 579 Dunsmuir Street spot on January 28, 2022.

      The business’s owner, Donnelly Group, has since rebranded.

      On March 16, the hospitality group that operates pubs in Vancouver and Toronto announced that it is taking on the new identity of Freehouse Collective.

      “Freehouse is perhaps less of a rebrand and more of a refounding,” the company stated.

      It explained that the “change comes with a newly minted yet always existing belief system, core values and philosophies to ensure our legacy sees many more bright decades of service and empathy”.

      “We believe good hospitality is seen, and great hospitality is felt. Because of this belief, we aspire to make people feel at home in our house.”

      Except for the reduced price of $449,000, the text of the two listings for Railway reads the same.

      And as the listing by realtor Jean Seguin’s Restaurant Business Broker agency says, the club has been “known to Vancouverites for ages”.

      In a November 9, 2006 report, Straight contributor Aaron Chapman recalled that the 1931 archives register of the City of Vancouver shows 579 Dunsmuir as the “home of the European Concert Café, part of the Laursen Building, which also housed a number of commercial units”.

      Chapman noted that it wasn’t until 1934 that the register lists a name change to “The Railwaymen’s Club’”.

      The spot became a watering hole for “railway workers from the nearby Canadian Pacific station—the current home of the SeaBus”.

      Canadian artists like Sarah McLachlan, k.d. lang, and the Tragically Hip performed at the venue.

      Local Vancouver musical legends such as Dan Mangan, Rodney DeCroo, and Rich Hope also have a lot of memories from the Railway Club.

      When the venue closed in 2016, the Straight reported that the “city shook a little”.

      “It was the closest thing to a nightly Mardi Gras that No Fun City ever mustered,” the paper stated.

      The club reopened in 2017 with the Donnelly Group as its new owner.

      The upstairs establishment has a liquor licence for 156 seats, plus 40 seats on its rooftop patio.

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