The Celebrities venue at 1022 Davie Street has been an entertainment mainstay in Vancouver for over a century. Built in 1908, the building was designed by Thomas Hooper – one of B.C.’s most important early architects. It became home to one of the city’s first dancing halls – the Lester Dancing Academy (originally called Lester Court), which was run by husband and wife dance-teaching duo Frederick and Maud Lester. In the 1940s, it became the Embassy Ballroom – a “genteel dancing club.”
Rock and Psychedelic Hippie Hotspot
In the 1960s, the venue morphed into the rock club Dante’s Inferno, and then the Retinal Circus, a hippie venue famous for its psychedelic concerts and groovy lightshows. In the club’s basement, Tommy Chong ran an after-hours club called the Elegant Parlour. During this decade, the club played host to music legends like Led Zepplin, Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, the Velvet Underground and The Doors.
After a brief stint as a strip club in the 1970s, the venue was purchased by the Kerasiotis brothers who turned it into its current incarnation – Celebrities – where it became an entertainment hub for the Davie Street Village’s burgeoning gay community. The Kerasiotis brothers are second-generation Greek immigrants whose family opened Olympia Pizza in Kitsilano before moving into the nightclub business. Their first club – Luvafair – was one of the city’s first gay bars before it became an alternative music venue.
Celebrities continues to attract a diverse group of people, with famous DJs and performers from around the world introducing Vancouverites to cutting-edge music and entertainment.
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