Celebrities Nightclub: Celebrating 32 Years of Vancouver Nightlife

For over a decade, the building sitting on the comer of Burrard and Davie street (now named Celebrites Nightclub) has been the epicenter of entertainment and nightlife for Vancouver. From weekly events to some of the biggest names in electronic music, Celebrities has become one of the city’s hottest clubs. While 1/3 of the building’s life has been host to progressive house music, it has seen a mixture of people from all walks of life. The building’s history stretches back all the way to 1914 when it was first built, giving Vancouverites it’s first legal cocktail establishment.

Architect Thomas Hooper originally designed the building in 1911 for Maud Lester, owner and operator of the Lester M. Dancing Academy. The building would later see a name change to The Embassy Ballroom, and remained so until briefly being known as a teen dance club called The Grooveyard in the early 1960s. Its true claim for fame wouldn’t come until later when it was known as Dante’s Inferno, and later Retinal Circus. The venue was host to acts such as the The Grateful Dead, The Velvet Underground, and The Doors. Adding more to the building’s already growing history is Tommy Chong’s underground afterhours named Elegant Parlour.

Lesters Court - Thomas Stuart (1922)

Lesters Court – Thomas Stuart (1922)

The building would remain quite quiet after Retinal Circus final show in 1968 until it’s rise back into the nightlife in 1984. It’s at this point, the building dawns the name Celebrities Nightclub, and transforms into a LGBT club in the heart of Davie Village. Eventually, by the late 90’s, the club would be known for accepting all forms of sexual orientation, while providing a safe place, free of judgement and prejudice to the city of Vancouver. Celebrities has been noted for being one of the the premiere venues in Vancouver for electronic music.

In 2013, Celebrites would see a massive overhaul with intentions of making it an international destination. The $1 million renovation would transform the venue into a “high-tech chameleon” including wall to floor LED lighting, state of the art Funktion 1 sound system, and improved layout. As Blueprint Events flagship club, the venue has played host to some of the biggest names in electronic music including Porter Robinson, Datsik, REZZ, and every Blueprint Afterparty… just to name a few from this year.

Photo: Brendan Leong Photography

Photo: Brendan Leong Photography

Despite having the unfortunate nickname of “The No Fun City,” Vancouver’s Celebrites Nightclub has continued to carry the torch for providing the city with entertainment for 32 years. The building’s deep roots, extending all the way to the turn of the 20th century, only adds significance. It’s seen countless changes, numerous musical acts, and likely millions of visitors. A crucial facet in not only Vancouver’s nightlife but the cities history itself. Helping celebrate 32 years of Celebrities history is non-other than German house hitmaker Robin Schulz on November 17th. We congratulate Celebrities on their 32nd birthday and look forward to what the future may hold!

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