Reported by Orvis Noel
Nothing brings people together like cheap beer and Bohemian Rhapsody. Every Wednesday aging veterans and young hipsters alike gather to drink cheap beer and sing karaoke at a hopping private military club.
The Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans Taurus 298 club is located on Main Street, and has been a hub for veterans for over 30 years. Over the years the club has opened its doors to more than just veterans, and encourages young people to engage with the veteran community.
The legion has become a cherished community space
“This space is unique, the club offers memberships to veterans and youths. The younger members join in karaoke every Wednesday, our biggest night,” said Emery Warner, the night manager for the club.
“Everyone comes here,” said 92-year-old veteran Verna Gropp, a member for the past 37 years and a resident of the neighbourhood for 46 years.
Bridging the gap between citizens and veterans
Greg Andruff, who has recently moved to the neighbourhood, said “Socializing with the vets here is very cool. The beer variety is just great.”
The Vancouver venue is licensed as a private club, and with B.C.’s new liquor regulations the club can create programs to attract new members while helping veterans in the process. For example, there are socials on Mondays, jam night Tuesdays, trivia nights Sundays, and the most popular, karaoke, is on Wednesday nights.
Inclusive atmosphere and modest drink prices bring on the good times
“I like that every person feels comfortable, very friendly, and [there are] cheap drinks,” said Sean Lind, a young man who has been going to the club for the past six years.
Adam Dobell and his girlfriend Luna Kozaczuk are younger members that live in the neighbourhood. “We came here once before and just love it,” said Kozaczuk. “Cheap beer brings us here.”
Roy Lundaard, an ex-Navy veteran of 33 years, said that it is his second home and he is there all the time. He added that the venue needs young people to “take over the club.”