Bottle Club | societal phenomenon, historical | Prior to 1954 all Vancouver cabarets and nightclubs operated as “bottle clubs”. They sold ice and soft drinks while allowing patrons to bring in their own concealed bottles of hard alcohol. The VPD’s “dry squad” would regularly raid clubs looking for contraband liquor, so nightclub owners devised various systems to hide the presence of liquor from the police – from hidden ledges and drawers under tables to the long-standing use of teapots (see Cold Tea). After the liquor laws relaxed, some upscale clubs and hotel lounges were finally granted liquor licenses, but establishments across the Downtown Eastside (including Gastown, Chinatown and Hogan’s Alley) didn’t see a proper license until 1969.
Usage: ‘If you think Vancouver is a ‘No Fun City’ now, you should be glad you weren’t around during the bottle club era!”
The images below are from inside the Logger’s Social Club, the long defunct bottle club and gambling establishment on East Hastings above The Only Seafood restaurant. From the personal collection of Andrew Morrison.