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‘The Flamingo Room’ Opening Soon On Commercial Drive

Flamingo Room Team | Managing Director and Partner: Reuben Major; General Manager: Dhruv Sahay; Brand Director: Ksenia Dempster; Operations Leader: Rich Charrois; Head Bartender: Alexa Greenman; Executive Chef: Andrew Hounslow

A performance venue and cocktail bar project is taking shape in the space attached to Havana, set slightly aback from Commercial Drive.

Havana Theatre was established in the 1980s as “Little Mountain Theatre”, a venue for music and alternative/experimental theatre productions. The business changed its name to Havana Theatre in the 1990s, but continued its tradition of being a space for live performances including theatre, comedy, improv, music and spoken word. When Havana changed ownership in 2017, the new owners needed to prioritize making improvements to the main restaurant before turning their attention its adjoining theatre space. However, once Havana regained its pre-Covid groove last summer, the team began to develop their plan.

THe SPACE

As you can see from the images above, The Flamingo Room is still very much a work-in-progress, giving few hints of what the finished product will look like. But from what the team described to me during a recent tour of the space, a major transformation is coming. As we walked around and discussed the concept, the picture gradually filled in until I could imagine myself standing in a sultry courtyard in Miami, surrounded by plants and lanterns, sipping rum-based cocktails while watching a jazz trio or comedy show on the stage in front of me. It was a pretty lovely picture. I’ll be pleased if even half of what I envisioned comes to fruition.

Guests will enter through the ‘service door’ at 1214 Commercial Drive (between Havana and its neighbouring building – formerly Fets Whisky Kitchen) and follow a “vibrant corridor, reminiscent of a warm Miami night” to pass through an arched threshold, landing in a 900-square-foot space characterized by a prominent raised stage and well-positioned bar.

The reimagined version of the venue will have 58 seats, including a flock of four-tops down the centre of the room, burnt orange banquet booth seating against the south wall, and six stools along the bar. A “Miami Vice vibe” will be achieved (under the direction of Vancouver-based interior design duo, Swoon Studio) through rich and layered colours, wood accents, hanging lanterns, wall-mounted lamps, textured walls, and a feature mural. During my visit, light was streaming from a pair of overhead skylights, but upon completion, plants will obscure the light for a more muted, gentle “sun falling through a dense jungle” feel.

THE MENU

The food program at The Flamingo Room (designed by Chef Andrew Hounslow, with an assist from Head Chef Gavin Yokoyama) is all about  shareable snacks and Latin influence, such as watermelon (blended, reduced, and compressed) finished with tajine, queso and fresh mint; Cubano skewers; and house made chips and dips. According to Chef Hounslow, “The dishes we create for The Flamingo Room will be developed to compliment and elevate whatever Alexa [Greenman] does with drinks. Her cocktails will be the star of the show. We’re here (and excited) to support her vision!”

THE BAR


Head Bartender Alexa Greenman comes to The Flamingo Room after time spent working at BNA Brewing Co. in Kelowna, as well as in the coffee industry – both experiences she credits with teaching her to enjoy and deeply respect service and hospitality. I’ve previewed her menus and even tasted a few drinks, and as a cocktail enthusiast, I’m stoked that she is on board. Not only is Greenman a capable and creative bartender, she also loves to geek out on ingredients, and brings what she learns into service in a most enthusiastic and endearing way.

When progress on the project (originally started in 2022) experienced a series of starts-and-stops due to permit hold-ups, rather than sit on her hands, Greenman used the time to do a deep dive into rum. The results shaped into a solid line-up of clever and rum-forward cocktails with backstories and balance: from playful takes on the traditional daiquiri to transportive tropical punch over crushed ice. But there is more than rum going on here; Greenman’s program includes a cross-section of cocktails plus a nice collection of wine, local beers and zero-proof beverages (make sure you try Merlin’s Salted Cucumber Marg). The approachable and informative menu will include descriptions of drinks by flavour profile, ingredients, and shape of the glass…and the option to add a cheeky beer to your order (a reminder that you that you are in a low key place where you can let your guard down and have some fun). As Greenman summarizes it: “If everything about the Flamingo Room goes as designed, we will have created a space that is equally as disarming as it is inviting. You’ll open the menu and see us for who we are: equal parts hospitable, driven and ridiculous. We really want people to have as much fun with us as we have with each other every day.”


The Flamingo Room aims to be open Wednesday to Sunday, from 5 p.m. to late – hopefully before the end of the year. I’ll have more on the project as it progresses. For now, take a look at the pictures below to get a sense of what is to come…

  • A Delicious Tropical Punch at the Flamingo Room
    A Delicious Tropical Punch at the Flamingo Room
  • House Made Chips and a Spin On French Onion Dip
    House Made Chips and a Spin On French Onion Dip
  • Tall and Refreshing
    Tall and Refreshing
  • Compressed Watermelon Salad With A Sprinkling of Cheese and a Dusting of Heat
    Compressed Watermelon Salad With A Sprinkling of Cheese and a Dusting of Heat
  • Flamingo Room Chef Andrew Hounslow and Head Chef Gavin Yokoyama
    Flamingo Room Chef Andrew Hounslow and Head Chef Gavin Yokoyama
  • Deviled Eggs With A Latin Twist
    Deviled Eggs With A Latin Twist
  • Trio Of Chips (Plantain, White Corn and Blue Corn))
    Trio Of Chips (Plantain, White Corn and Blue Corn))
  • Head Chef Gavin Yokoyama
    Head Chef Gavin Yokoyama
  • Late Night Snack Lineup at The Flamingo Room
    Late Night Snack Lineup at The Flamingo Room
  • El Jardín at The Flamingo
    El Jardín at The Flamingo
  • Merlin’s Zero Proof Salted Cucumber Marg
    Merlin’s Zero Proof Salted Cucumber Marg
  • Flamingo Room Bartender Lex Greenman
    Flamingo Room Bartender Lex Greenman
  • Can't Wait!
    Can't Wait!
  • Walking Toward The Stage
    Walking Toward The Stage
  • Flamingo Room construction
    Flamingo Room construction
  • Flamingo Room Bar
    Flamingo Room Bar
  • Down The Stairs
    Down The Stairs
  • Cubano Snack Skewer
    Cubano Snack Skewer
  • Merlin's Zero Proof Cucumber Marg at The Flamingo Room
    Merlin's Zero Proof Cucumber Marg at The Flamingo Room
  • Cocktail With a Side of Crickets at The Flamingo Room
    Cocktail With a Side of Crickets at The Flamingo Room
  • Tall and Tropical
    Tall and Tropical
  • Dragon Fruit Drink at The Flamingo Room by Scout Magazine
    Dragon Fruit Drink at The Flamingo Room by Scout Magazine
  • Team Flamingo Room
    Team Flamingo Room

Neighbourhood: Commercial Drive
1212 Commercial Drive
604-253-9119

There are 2 comments

  1. it looks promising. I check the food and the drinks and the end, I want to try them out. it is not boring what so ever. please open up so I can go experience this hospitality concept.

  2. I won’t lie, I will miss the theatre, but this does look intriguing. Best wishes.

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