Colony Bar Offers Eatertainment with Local Flair

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Colony Bar was first conceived when Blueprint — a Vancouver-based lifestyle and event company — recognized the need for a modern entertainment space in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood. “[We] felt like there wasn’t anything serving the community at that time,” says Colin Canning, director of Sales and Marketing at Blueprint. “[Our] objective was [to open] a small neighbourhood pub [that was] community minded. And it was met with a lot of enthusiasm.”

With the goal of creating a space where locals could come together and have fun, the first 105-seat Colony Bar opened in 2013. Its success fuelled a second location, which opened on Main Street in Mount Pleasant, Vancouver in 2015.

“It had the same sort of impact on the community — where it was met with a lot of optimism — and people enjoyed it. We operated those two [locations] for three years before opening our third location in North Vancouver in September 2018 [and], more recently, our fourth location in downtown Vancouver [in September 2019].”

Canning says each Colony Bar location is unique and caters to its individual neighbourhood. “For example,” he says, “Kitsilano was a historic venue; [it] was a pool hall for years. [It] has video games [to] pay homage to the former space.”

At both the Kitsilano and Main Street locations, old bus and street signs from the surrounding neighbourhoods are incorporated into the decor.

“Northwoods Colony is nestled at the base of Mt. Seymour and is a little more outdoorsy,” says Canning, so the 4,000-sq.-ft. bar’s design was inspired by a modern ski lodge and features themed decor such as retro skis, boots, poles and snowshoes. It also boasts the largest patio of all the Colony Bars, at 2,000-sq.-ft. “Of all our locations, [Northwoods] is a little more food focused,” says Canning.

Colony’s menu, Canning explains, features approachable comfort food. “It’s pub food — there’s nothing overly fancy about it, but it’s done right and it’s good quality at a good price.”

Its drink program has also gained recognition. “We’re known for beer because Kitsilano and Main Street have 18 taps and Northwoods and Granville have 20.” Six of the 20 taps at the two new Colony locations are rotating and only feature offerings from local B.C. breweries. “Whether it’s beer or cocktails, [everything] is priced fairly. We see ourselves not as a discount brand, but as a value brand.”

Colony’s newest location on Granville Street aims to be as interactive and fun as the Entertainment District it calls home. “Granville Street is one of the thoroughfares in Vancouver for entertainment,” says Canning. “There’s everything from theatres and bars to restaurants and diners, so we wanted to offer the entertainment factor to go along with the pub, drinks and food.”

The Granville location is the brand’s largest bar at 15,000 sq. ft., with seating for 405 people. It features an indoor bocce court, ping-pong table, shuffleboard, foosball tables and an arcade equipped with new and old favourites.

Since its opening, the Entertainment District Colony Bar has attracted a wide variety of customers. “On any given night, we’ll have 600 people — mainly a young, party demographic,” explains Canning. “We [also] get a lot of corporate clientele for lunch. It’s actually kind of funny; there are a lot of guests in their 30s and 50s that [come] in on their lunch break to play Star Wars pin ball.”

While Colony Bar has no immediate plans to expand, concentrating instead
on solidifying its presence at its Northwoods and the Entertainment District locations, Canning says it’s a brand to watch in the future.

“What’s different for us is we’re a young, approachable brand,” says Canning. “And that’s where we want to remain. It’s going to be loud and boisterous and a good time. It’s not stuffy. You can come to [Colony Bar] in flip flops from the beach or from work in your suit and you’re going to get the same service and experience.”

Written by Shelby O’Connor

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