Michael Brennan of Strathcona neighbourhood bar, The Heatley, teams up with Christian Chaumont, Justin Cameron and Dan Uhrich (not pictured) to open ‘The Painted Ship’ – a new full-service bar, restaurant and music venue at 2884 West Broadway.
Before the four partners took over the 2500 sqft space (previously Yagger’s Sports Bar) near the corner of Broadway and Macdonald in October, co-owner Brennan logged in more than a few hours reacquainting himself with the neighbourhood, acting as a patron to many of the restaurants and bars in the area. His chief observation was that people on the West Side tended to travel east for more of an ‘experience’, after which they would return to their home turf for an end-of-the-evening drink (or two). For Brennan, the observation begged the question: why not bring a little ‘East Side experience’ out West?
Brennan, who opened The Heatley back in 2015, knows a thing or two about what it takes to create an inclusive and unpretentious environment – the foundation of any successful neighbourhood bar. So, with the addition of a solid chef and some experienced partners (Cameron is the owner of Habitat Coffee Co.; and Uhrich is part owner of Mum’s the Word on Commercial Drive with Cameron), he decided to put his theory to the test.
A deal was struck, and in October 2022, the team began gutting the space: ripping up old flooring, refurbishing the washrooms, stripping back the low-hanging ceiling to expose skylights and long hidden windows, and adding some fresh paint – ultimately transforming the old sports bar into a community-forward gathering space, complete with a stage.
As for the name: The Painted Ship is borrowed from a late-60s Vancouver-based psych-electronic folk rock band, who were a short-lived but popular outfit that played around Kits back in the counterculture heyday of the area. As Brennan explains: “The goal is to bring a little bit of that vibe back to the neighbourhood.”
Earlier this week I stopped in to take a tour of the space, and from what I saw, the necessary pieces for this goal to become a reality were quickly falling into place. The room – with its retro colour palette, on-point and carefully sourced vintage light fixtures, bold 70s-style line work running the length of the west wall, and a massive, slightly trippy surrealist mural behind the bar – has fully embodied The Painted Ship aesthetic. Although sawdust is still on the ground and tabletops have yet to be fixed into place, it looked to be 80% done.
The menu – in development by Chef Christian Chaumont (Cuchillo/Mount Pleasant Vintage & Provisions) – will be ‘Tultepec-inspired.’ (Tultepec is a Mexico City borough famous for its pyrotechnics, so think bold Mexican cuisine with “explosive flavour, that sparks over the rooftop of the mouth”.) To drink there will be a nice selection of BC beers and wines, alongside a small cocktail list of just the classics.
If all goes according to plan, the 80-seat room (with a 25-seat patio) will be ready to host live music, DJs, dinner and drinks in March of this year.
Stay tuned for news of opening day. For now, have a look at the gallery below for hints of what is to come…