SAVE THE O

save-odyssey-night-club

Serious time. 

Sadly, one of our beloved spaces has lost its battle for the location on Denman Street, but is that it? 

Definitely not. 

It is time for us to speak up my beautiful gays and friends of! We weren’t successful is securing the new Denman location, but we can still try to keep our current location for a little bit longer. So far, the city has granted the O three extensions, what’s one more between friends right? 

The Odyssey is more than a bar. The Odyssey is another one of our homes. In my last post about the O, I went down the cheeky sarcastic avenue talking about how we’ve all had fun dirty times there, but I’m going to take it down a little bit more of a personal road this time. 

The Odyssey is a place that did something really huge for me. It was there that I discovered that yes I was 100% gay, and that it was totally fine. Ok, I know what you’re thinking, why would I go there at all if I wasn’t gay? Well, I grew up in an Eastern European Catholic family, I was the first born prodigal son, I COULDN’T be a homo. It wasn’t in my programming! Boy, was I wrong. I always had tendencies, and knew I was different, knew that I think I liked guys…but I HAD to marry a woman and HAD to have babies. It wasn’t until I started to let myself go, and head to the gay bar with my gay friends that I finally realized how I wanted to live my life. 

The Odyssey is more than a bar to me. The Odyssey is the place where I found out who I was. It’s a place where I met all of my friends, it’s a place where I wasn’t ashamed to be myself, and it’s a place where I felt safe and more accepted than anywhere else in this city, and I know that I’m not alone in those feelings. 

We recognize the fact that sometimes people are afraid and don’t have the time to write directly to the council. What we at Homorazzi want to do, is create a place where you can post your own personal comments about the Odyssey and what it means to you. We are then going to send these comments to the City, and hopefully this will help them out! There is strength in numbers, so let’s show them exactly how many of us can rally behind this cause.

Post your comments directly on this article- Tell your story; Tell them why the Odyssey should be saved; Show your support in any way you can! If you want to send your own letter then email [email protected], and try to keep it as professional as possible! 

News from Will, is that the City Council has been awakened by all the letters, so let’s keep them coming people!

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  • I do not see the rush in destroying a historic venue and source of income for so many people, when it isn’t necessary until down the road when there is actually a plan / funding in place for the social housing. The Odyssey is a great club – only of only a few we get to choose from and it would be disheartening to see it destroyed when it’s time is not up yet.

  • Thursday nights will never be the same. No disrespect to the other clubs in town but the Odyssey had a special caché about it. Not only do the Vancouver boys love this club but so do the out-of-towners. It’s a historic gay establishment that every gay Vancouverite has been to at least once and had at least one memorable and unforgettable night of partying at. It should be allowed to remain open until the city approves another suitable location. Please keep this venue open. It will be a dark day in Vancouver if this club closes down forever.

  • When I first moved to Vancouver, I would have been totally jacked without the Odyssey. I had just moved to the city with basically no friends and the Odyssey was the perfect place for me to go out, listen to great music, dance and meet new people. It’s “come-as-you-are” attitude and lack of pretentiousness was exactly what I was looking for and I owe a lot of my great friendships to the Odyssey. Don’t let it die!!

  • TO

    Wow, this is super sad. I can’t imagine Vancouver nightlife without The Odyssey. Not only was it my first gay bar, but it was the bar I took many of my straight friends to dance and drink. Thus, it has become the source of a great times over the last few years and I will miss it incredibly everytime I visit from Toronto.
    I’m really disappointed in Vancouver City Council and those involved in the decision making process, for they fail to see the popularity and importance of this place, not only to those in the GLBT community, but to club-goers in Vancouver.
    Also, Vancouver NEEDS the O. Compared to cities like Montreal, Toronto, Seattle, and San Francisco, Vancouver is lacking the the gay club/venue department.
    A few years ago, Vancouver promoted itself as a popular gay vacation destination, but why would gay tourists bother traveling to Vancouver now if there’s only a handful of venues to party in?
    Thanks for reporting on this issue, keep us posted.

    Ryan

  • For those of you that don’t know me (and for those that DO), the truth is I am sooooo NOT a nightclub guy. I’d rather chill at home with a small group of friends then be out pAArtying until 3am. Just a personal preference.

    However, The “O” as we lovingly call it, is one of the only places I’ll make an exception for. I always have fun! From the laid back atmosphere, to the music, all of my friends being there and the great staff, it’ll be sad if something isn’t done.

    Working in media grants me a few extra privileges to go out (a grand opening, special events, etc) and I’m flattered for the opportunity. I must say though, the Odyssey still stands at the top, and I hope the community/leaders don’t let it fall.

  • Dinosaur

    I’d be lieing if I said I hadn’t e-mailed city council once or twice in the last week, so surely after several e-mails I would have nothing left to say right?
    So wrong.
    The passion I felt for saving The Odyssey is as clear and strong for me as it was the day the Denman St. location was denied.
    This has really woken me up to how much there is to be done in the gay community, and how much support is needed. I can’t rest knowing that a venue as historical and influential as the Odyssey could quite possibly cease to exist.
    This is the first gay club I ever went to. A club where, as many have said, I met my first gay friends, I accepted myself, I came out. This is a social gathering place that means more than $5 cover and double long islands. It’s never been about that, but every other club (and by that I mean the other two), IS about that. It’s about the drinks and the cover and the dancing. The Odyssey exists on a higher level in the gay community, as a place without pretenses, without a “way to be”, where just being yourself, whether it’s sitting in the corner sipping, or taking your shirt off and dancing for hours, is all okay.
    The loss of the Odyssey would leave such an empty void in a city that boasts not only one of the highest gay populations per capita, but an acceptance and celebration of the GLBT community. The closing of the Odyssey would go against everything that has been fought for in Vancouver in the past, to help me be allowed to be who I am without question.

  • Clement C.Blaze

    The Odyssey has been the one of the few places where I feel safe as an individual but also as someone who is fustrated with the number of gang violence and gay bashing that has been happening in our community. Not to mention the numerous amounts of memories and the very close friends that I have gained from there. The Odyssey serves as a second home for a lot of people, including myself; and it would be VERY fustrating to see this place lose their current location without getting a new one. I don’t think the city council see it as this… but the Odyssey does take part in fundraisers to give back to the community… OUR community. I don’t know what the exact dollar numbers are for the past number of years but i’m pretty sure its a sufficiant one. Why take our home, our club, our family, and our friends away? It would be a very devastating time if the Odyssey did shut down. Its a well known place for the locals as well on the international level (my friends from New Zealand and Australia knows about this place)… Where would we go if it shuts down? Don’t get me wrong as the other “gay” clubs out there can be fun… but will never have the Odyssey vibe that we all love.

  • Don

    After coming out, I was still very unsure of myself. The Odyssey played a huge part in easing the path towards self acceptance. I’ve met such amazing, friendly people there; it’s always been such an great place to be.

    I remember shortly after coming out, I went to a different “gay friendly” club with a friend on a Friday night. Although my friend was straight, we both felt like the vibe was very unfriendly, so we went down to the Odyssey. As soon as we walked in the door, huge grins appeared on our faces. The place was packed; every single person smiling and so many dancing – good dancers, bad dancers, nobody cared. So much positive energy; so many happy people.

    That’s how I always think of the Odyssey. A place where everyone, straight or gay, could go to just be happy and have fun. I’ve not yet found another place like that in Vancouver, and always wondered why. It would be sad to see the one we’ve got go away.

  • Tim

    I come from a small Northern town and one of the best things about coming to Vancouver is my ability to be myself down there. The Odyssey has, and is, a big part of that. The best friends I have made in the last 16 years of my being out have been made because of the Odyssey and who it allows me to be. It would be a shame to lose a place that means so much to me, and so many others.

  • Stephen

    I totally agree. The Odyssey has been my one constant since I came out and started exploring my sexuality. I have had so many memories there, the good, bad, and ugly! I know it sounds so cheesy, but this club has impacted my life immensely, it was always that one place that you would end up, that place that you can always go at any time and feel welcome. It’s not trying to be something that it’s not.

    And some of the other posters are right, it is a club that is well known and respected throughout the international gay community. It will be a very sad day when these doors close for good.

  • Calan

    The O is the place where I had a lot of firsts as a gay man. It isn’t just a bar to me, but a place where I know I will always have fun with lots of friends around. I hope everything works our for the best in the long run.

  • As both the GM of The Odyssey, and an Ontario transplant living in BC for 5 years now, it’s interesting how many of these posts and sentiments like them contain the line “I moved here from…” It indicates what an important “first impression” The Odyssey is for our community and our city at large. If you know of just ONE gay club in the city, it’s likely The Odyssey – exploration of other venues often branches out from here.

    As others have indicated, it’s a place of firsts for so many people; first gay club, first gay friends, first truly supportive space, first love interest… but those who work here have seen a lot of other firsts. It’s the first place those new to town often find someone to talk to. It’s the first place much local talent debuted their craft. It’s the only place that bothers to open for people going through their first Christmas alone.

    Believe it or not, I was not a bar person. If I didn’t work at where I do, I still wouldn’t be. When I first moved to Vancouver I was dragged down from UBC by a local friend to check out a weekend at The Odyssey. What struck me as an East Coast transplant was the diversity in the room, and the sight of so many subcultures existing in a single space, all doing their own thing–*and getting along*… I was intrigued enough to return the next weekend, and somewhere between a few drinks and a PG-13 calendar I was managing the joint. And I can’t tell you how proud that makes me. I’m proud of the way our staff conducts themselves and gets genuinely invested in our patrons’ wellbeing, even after they’ve left the club. I’m proud of our owners who have consistently made business decisions based on what’s *right*, not necessarily what’s popular or profitable. I’m proud of our patrons who are among the most well-behaved and kind people I know, and whose loyalty and support over the past few weeks has been unimaginable.

    Should The Odyssey close, something special will have been lost, and the City will be the poorer for it. No one is suggesting there won’t be other clubs that come and go, but consider that it might just be the limited lifespan of many of these venues that contributes to the lack of any sense of continuity or connection between a younger gay generation and the community in which they grow up. The Odyssey has been that anchor point in this city for more than two decades. In the past weeks that our plight has come to the forefront, I have seen people sharing memories about The Odyssey who are literally two generations apart, but have found a point of commonality in this space. That doesn’t happen anymore.

    It’s a rare and special thing to find a business with staff who care about their customers, owners who are in it for the right reasons, and management who know enough to balance business with compassion. The Odyssey has all three. It’s the values we operate by that give this place the “vibe” everyone talks about. It’s why there has been such a passionate response to the idea we might not be around. These reasons and a thousand others we’ll never hear about are why, even if you don’t frequent The Odyssey that much anymore, it’s important to support its continuation for an ever growing generation who needs it as much now, as many of us did in years past.

  • james

    I would agree that the building should not be torn down until it is ready to be built. Look at the space on West Pender where Club Vancouver was it is one of the sites that is part of the BC Housing plan. It has been an empty parking lot all along and yet that buildings going nowhere. If they tear it down the Odyssey and leave it vacant it will look like it was more about getting rid of Vancouvers last downtown gay space before 2010.

  • Kelly

    Just so you know, I’m for the O.

    The parking lot where Club Vancouver was, is under development this year.
    The reasoning for the long delay at that site was because of the fire there of 2003 and the lawsuits from the 44 business owners and their insurance companies pertaining to that site afterwards.
    Apparently the last of the lawsuits was just completed in the courts this past year.

    Work in a law office, thats how I found out.

    Maybe the O should look for spaces in that area?

  • gay person

    well, seeing as several people have mentioned the non-juedgemental aspect of the Odyssey, i, as a closeted, “omg what are they going to think, i had a bad experience already, and dont know where to go or who to talk to” reading that this has been a place for a lot of people to feel comfortable for myself….well, i am already sad to see that this place is only there for a little while, shows that i have to hurryyy…but i mean, im just one person amongst several hundred or however many that are lookin for a similar venue where they can feel at home. no quite tears in my eyes, but just the though that another door would close on me, makes me like oh shit, where the hell do i go now. so, i mean, please leave it open and if the government can do anything fund/lobby/support, do it, cause otherwise, a lot of people will get to the ‘i give up on life’ place and the people closing this “place of comfort” or promoting this close, well, what if it was your kid/bro/etc who needed some help and no one else could help them and they decided to go down to the Odyssey, and when they got their it was closed and bam, they are hopeless and feel unbelievably alone. please do not close it so that all of us who are slowly getting the courage (thanks to homorazzi) to come out, can do so and not end up as a ‘killed himself cause he didnt know where to turn to’ statistic.

  • gay person

    and tommy thanks for the post, makes me feel better, knowing that someone who was in the same ‘catholic-y’ predicament is now happy and doing his thing. u and many of the other homorazzi members are seriously inspiring. thanks again. xo.

  • Celestial SEasons

    Where im from there is no support people like us PLU from the goverment. Either we get cane,caught, jail or our name appear in all local newspaper.Shaming us and being degrading becuz of what we are .What im tryin to say is CANADA safe haven, where all PLU lives harmony , fun, save and freedom of speech & express. Having say this… to see Odyssey in turmoil make me wonder why MAyor&Council being hard on us while there so much problem out there to concern with. Don’t they realised that what westend are known for not just for VAncouverites but all over the worlds know us.I felt that we started to lost our rainbow colour one at the times.In past The Duff shut down , Now Odyssey then who will be next..??To me whover you are far n near,old or young, straight or gay regardles of colour, religion n race..Pease voice your thought . ..PS: Im bad in english .hahah well as long you understand it , im kool.Cheers

  • Colin

    I have to admit, the first time I walked into the Odyssey, 6 years ago, my immediate reaction was “This is it? That’s all? Where’s the rest? I thought Vancouver was a big city?” But I got over myself, and finally gave in – the Odyssey is always a great night.

    I definitely agree there is no reason to close it unless the shovels are ready to go. I also agree with city council on not allowing it in that location on Denman. It is too close to too many residences, and would have just caused problems for the club. On top of which the space just isn’t right with it’s low ceilings. I think it may end up being a blessing in disguise for the O.

    That being said, we need to find it a new home! Any ideas guys? With the economy down, this is about as ideal a time as you’ll ever get to look for a new location…time to really start the hunt!

  • joe

    Try living across the street and trying to goto sleep with all the bass echoing through your condo, vibrating walls, windows, and your head!

    I dont wish it gets shut down, but they need to address the noise pollution its causing for all the neighboring residents.

  • Downtown Guy

    Joe, you live downtown in an international city . . . there always is noise pollution. I suspect you live in the condo that was built, like many others after these bars. If you really want to go experience what real noise pollution is, take a trip to NYC to help you put it in perspective. Hey, if it really gets to you, go back to the valley or Surrey or wherever that nice quiet place is that you long Vancouver to be like.

    I personally I think that the O should be saved and moved to a new location that fosters a sense of safety from the neighbourhood, not fear (i.e. Granville District), and that a win win could be agreed upon for both the O and residents.

    Tip for you Joe, if the noise is too much . . . there is this great invention that I found and you can get them at any drugstore. Check out the amazing earplug selection with so many varieties these days you are sure to find a perfect fit!