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Nightclubs

A look back at Vancouver’s most popular nightclubs, Town Pump

Styles change and some say that’s why The Town Pump died.

But before the era of multi-million dollar liquor licenses and Donnelly Bars for days, Vancouver had many more independent venues, including the Pump.

It was the 90s and rock was all the rage.

RELATED: A look back at Vancouver’s most popular bars of the 80s, 90s and 00s

Nirvana and Tragically Hip played their first Vancouver shows there.

When Pearl Jam played there in 1991, they won $1,794 and the venue at 66 Water St. was packed.

No Doubt also played there, Alice In Chains, Wesley Willis, Sublime and the Dayglo Abortions too, to name a few.

They weren’t massive arena shows either, with designated seating and security guards everywhere. They were bar shows, where the band mingled with the crowd after the show.

Just because a band played there doesn’t mean they were successful, but having a mix of obscure bands and rising stars marks an artist’s space. A place where culture really germinates and grows.

But fans of the venue say that when dance music gained popularity, the Town Pump couldn’t attract the crowds it needed to stay open. Some nights were full, but many were empty. When the empty nights became too many, the bar then closed.

It sat empty for years, then it became Sonar, then it became Rain Ultraclub. That closed too, and it’s empty again.

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Richard Dement

The author Richard Dement