Pub 340 has quietly made its return as a full-time venue.
For a live music hub to take such an approach may seem confusing on the surface, but it’s a very much a calculated move for bar manager Jayme Black.
For starters, noise complaints were the primary reason music was forced out of the Cambie Street joint seven years ago. But above and beyond that, Black wants to stress quality over quantity.
“We can technically have shows any time now, but I’m not opening it up to anyone or any gig,” Black told the Courier. “If there isn’t something good happening, we’re not going to just put something on for no reason. I want to create a demand for entertainment.”
Located near Victory Square and up the street from the Cambie Pub, Pub 340 staged its first two gigs over the Easter weekend. The bar offered weekly karaoke nights during the live music absence.
Pub 340’s live music offerings ended around 2009 and 2010 — the same period that saw The Cobalt, Richards on Richards, the Brickyard and others go silent.
“A lot of places got shut down around that time right before the Olympics,” he said. “I don’t want to point fingers, but I think somebody wanted those shut down. Vancouver was known as a real rock town in the ’80s and even in the ’90s to a lesser extent. We’ve had a really detrimental decline in not only venues, but also live acts coming here.”
Black has spent years in bands, managing bars and promoting shows across Vancouver, Vancouver Island, the Interior and in Toronto. He said it took four years to get to where he’s at now: dealing with red tape at the city, soundproofing the room, getting acoustic consultants in and putting together a feasible business case for the both the previous owners and the city.
“We’ve had zero problems on our band nights,” Black said. “Everyone is well behaved, they’re super happy to have the shows back. It’s been nothing but positive.”
When he can’t accommodate a show — Pub 340’s capacity is about 110 — it’s Black’s intent to link touring acts with promoters in town who can. He points to locally-grown and locally-promoted events like Taco Fest, Pysch Fest, Burger Fest and the upcoming Modified Ghost Festival as examples that prove live music is still viable in the city.
“There are amazing musicians here and I want to have a place for them to showcase their talent,” he said. “I love the scene, I love the music and I love people getting together. They just need a place to play that’s affordable, feasible and in a location that’s not too far out of the way.”
Pub 340 gig listings are online at www.pub340.ca.