by Rommy Ghaly | Have you walked past the repurposed Budget Rent-A-Car lot on the northeast corner of Abbott and Pender in recent months and wondered what the hell? Of course you have.
Back in June of last year, a local videographer named Mairin Cooley took over the building under the auspices of DOVA (Drop Out Video Arts), a local arts and culture non-profit. Inside, she opened The Nines’ Slow Bean & Culture Club. It’s a cafe that doubles as an artist-run center, meeting place and gallery (and vice versa), the intention being “to use this building to boldly express, support, foster, and experiment with the kinds of cultural programming that mostly happens in the underground scene of Vancouver.”
And so, from 11am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, it serves up tasty vegetarian and vegan dishes at ridiculously affordable prices – $5 for a bowl (curry/stew served over rice) and $8 for a bowl and a salad – making it so that anyone who walks in off the street can take some time out to enjoy a good, healthy, midday meal without having to worry that much about cost or clogged arteries.
At night when the food service shuts, DOVA steps up to organize exhibitions, regular game evenings (last Thursday of every month), movie nights, speakers, and pretty much anything else that could be deemed interesting, fun, and in the interests of community building.
Stop and check it out next time. It’s at 99 West Pender — hence the “Nines” in the name.
Rommy Ghaly was born and raised in New York. He’s spent the past sixteen years moving around from city to city and country to country, trying (and failing miserably) to find himself. You may see him out in the streets with his cameras taking photos of people he doesn’t know. The results of those adventures can be found at vancouverish.com.