Photo Credit: Grant Hutchinson
555-579 Dunsmuir St, Vancouver BC
The Railway Club is one of Vancouver’s longest continually operating stand-alone music venues, occupying the same premises uninterrupted since 1931 and hosting music events since 1981. “New social headquarters of Vancouver’s railwaymen will open at midnight New Year’s Eve” (Vancouver Sun, December 30, 1931).
The Railway Club began as a members-only card club for railway workers and occupied space once belonging to the European Concert Cafe on the upper floor of the 1926 Laursen Building. Known initially as the Railwaymen’s Club, it was one of many membership only workingman clubs opened in the city after prohibition was lifted.
The club operated with a rare “red circle” license where card clubs like the Marine Club and Logger’s Social Club were given a choice by the government, stop the cards or the sale of liquor. In 1981, the old club entered a new era when it was revamped as a live music venue presenting some of Canada’s best talent and breaking new acts.
Changing Vancouver blog, VHF's Places That Matter plaque project