photos: Photo courtesy of Man Up

Is it goodbye forever for the Cobalt?

Cobalt Cabaret operator says “I think that’s it” for beloved bar.

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The Cobalt Cabaret, Vancouver’s beloved bar and performance space, could be closing for good, Megaphone Magazine has learned.

The announcement about a temporary closure was first made in February via an Instagram post that explained the popular gathering spot would be closing its doors while the building’s first floor underwent urgent repairs. The post didn’t offer any specific dates for the renovations, but it was clear on the fact the bar and music venue was “not closing forever.”

An official closing date – April 30 – has since been determined, but some believe the Cobalt might never re-open.

“To be honest with you, I don't think the Cobalt is ever opening up again. I think that's it,” said Cobalt Cabaret operator Patryk Drozd over the phone this week during an interview for an arts feature that will be published in the April issue of Megaphone Magazine.

Part of the concern, according to Drozd, is that he hasn’t had any communication from the Sahotas, the family that owns the Cobalt Hotel building – as well as the Astoria and the Balmoral, the latter of which has been sitting empty since June 2017 after the City of Vancouver deemed it unsafe and ordered repairs.

“The Sahotas have put up no money to get the Balmoral fixed and I think they're going to do the same thing at the Cobalt. They're going to start (repairs) and it's not going to finish,” said Drozd.

Several calls from Megaphone to Sahota family member Pal Sahota for comment were not returned.

According to a story published in the Vancouver Sun on Feb. 22, the City of Vancouver confirmed there is a permit in place and that the Sahotas intended to start construction in early May. But the same story quoted a former employer of the Sahotas who said the city is underestimating the extent of the repairs needed.

The permanent loss of the Cobalt would be a huge blow to performers in Vancouver, especially for local musicians and the city’s LGBTQ community. While Cobalt performers and patrons are still optimistic about the bar’s future, based on the Sahotas’ track record, Drozd is already preparing to say goodbye.

“Think of all the music and awesome drag performances that came out of the Cobalt,” Drozd says. “It's sad for all the things in the future that are not going to happen.”


For a more in-depth look at the impact venue closures have had on the local indie performance scene, be sure to purchase the April 2018 edition of Megaphone Magazine, on the streets and available from vendors starting Friday, April 6.

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