Is Vancouver Really a No Fun City?Many locals don't want to admit it, but Vancouver has earned a reputation as a "No Fun City" over the years. Other residents are more vocal about this title, and complain about Vancouver's lack of venues in community newspaper articles and on online forums.
There was even a documentary film recently released called "No Fun City."
Vancouver has been called No Fun City since about 2001, but why?
Here are the 3 main reasons:
> Vancouver real estate prices are extremely high, so bar owners who are renting a space often get priced right out of the market by land developers, who want to turn the property into condos. For example, the longstanding bar Luv Affair and the much-loved live music venue Richard's on Richard's were both demolished to build condominiums.
> There are so many rules around licensing and permits that many people who want to start a venue can't get past the red tape.
> Vancouver has more restrictive late-night bylaws than many other large cities such as New York or Montreal. For example, many patios must close at 11 pm, restaurants must close by midnight, and there are a number of rules around performing live music in restaurants and lounges.
The No Fun City distinction has nothing to do with the closing time of bars: they can stay open until 3 am. However, most Vancouver nightclubs are concentrated in the downtown core, on Granville St., and cater to drunk 20-somethings.
People who would like to see a live band play, who don't want to listen to top-40 music, or who don't want to fight for expensive parking or take a cab ride home from downtown are out of luck.
While restaurant, bar and lounge owners and locals have been fighting the bylaws for years, they still remain in place. Some locals, fed up with No Fun City, have started a sub culture of people who attend illegal, underground parties in spaces like warehouses, basements and even alleyways. For about $5, people who are in the know can get into late-night live music and dance parties. These underground parties are usually accessible through members-only online forums and closed Facebook event pages.
Many visitors to Vancouver are surprised that it is something of a No Fun City.
With so many diverse cultures, people expect it to be more laissez-faire, with plenty of open patios, eclectic live music shows and restaurants where they can grab a bite after midnight. However, this is not the case - at least for now.