A building that has stood for more than a century at the corner of Granville and Nelson is about to get a refreshed identity. The historic site that now houses Doolin’s Irish Pub, the Belmont Bar and the Comfort Inn will close at the end of the day on Oct. 31 to make way for a boutique hotel.
The new project, called Hotel Belmont, actually harkens back to one of the property’s prior identities. The building was erected in 1912 by Major James S. Matthews, who Vancouver history nerds know as the city’s first unofficial and official archivist, founding the city’s robust archives.
Previously, 654 Nelson St. has been the Hotel Belmont, the Nelson Place Hotel and the Nelson Beer Parlour — which stuck around until the 1990s when it transformed into a tapas restaurant called BaBalu. BaBalu was known for being where an undiscovered crooner named Michael Bublé had a regular gig. A fire knocked the restaurant out of business for good, and the property eventually was sold and redeveloped to house the businesses we know there today.
And there’s more to the building’s storied past: Below street level, where the Belmont Bar current sits, used to be home to the exotic nightclub Champagne Charlies. By the mid-’90s, Charlies gave way to Granville Entertainment’s the Cellar.
Pacific Reach is the Vancouver-based hospitality group that is redeveloping the site into the boutique property Hotel Belmont. They’re bringing on another project in their portfolio, Yaletown’s the Banter Room (home to the city’s only champagne vending machine) to handle what Pacific Reach promises will be “a truly unique entertainment and dining experience for its patrons.”
“The city over the past twenty years has evolved beyond what any of us could have imagined,” says Azim Jamal, president and CEO of Pacific Reach in a media release. “The decision to close these storied venues was not an easy one. But, we want to focus on the future of the city and what we believe will be a renaissance for a new and invigorated Granville Street. We are very excited for what’s next and to do our part to rid Vancouver of its ‘No fun city’ moniker.”
From now until the end of October, Doolin’s customers can take part in several events and parties aimed at celebrating the season and the shuttering venue.