I don’t blame spirits for what happened to me the last time I was at the Irish Heather. It *was* spirits that took possession of my body, true, but these ones were invited in, by way of a 2 oz. shot glass, not demonology. But had I not been bent over double at the end of the night ‘exorcising’ them out of me, then I’d suspect I may have noticed any of the other ones that might have been present in the old Vancouver pub. This spot has had the gentle murmurs of the past etched into it’s beams and walls which you can catch a flicker of if you listen carefully.
While I don’t know if these presences are born out of violence in the past or patrons who had a hard time letting go, but I did a little research on 210 Carrall street. This beautiful Victorian Italianate style two-story building was built in 1887. Called the ‘Abrams Block’ it was born a year after Vancouver’s Great Fire and was a desirable mixed-use building. With retail downstairs and a hotel upstairs, the building served as a contributor to the active downtown life of many of the seasonal workers who were in the resource trade mining and fishing for work , then returning to spend their money on women and booze. In the beginning, it was advertised as Vancouver’s first brick-clad hotel, the Tremont. With many of the frontier hotels having non-ornate balconies made of wood, 212 featured window pediments and bracketed cornice of the Victorian Italianate Style, giving it a rather grand look. Which was nice if you had a lady of the night joining you in your room that evening.
Publicans Sean and Erin Heather have both had various experiences in their pub which now sits at 210 Carrall. Everything from vague feelings of discomfort to phantom footsteps. A number of staff and patrons have also reported hearing footsteps and feeling like they are not alone. Although never malevolent, the feeling from the happy haunts tends to unnerve those of us with a corporal form. But should you feel the desire to see if a spirit will appear so you may lift your glass with it’s spirit, you can visit the Gastown pub. It’s warm high ceilings let the laughter in the bar echo, and the menu has interesting takes on traditional pub fare. My favourite is the Okanagan goat cheese cake.
Backing into Blood Alley and a hop, skip and jump away from the non-defunct Club 23 West where I whiled away many a happy hour at Sin City Fetish nights either on the dance floor or on the stage. If the buildings have memories in the mortar, brick and wood, then I one day hope all of the buildings of Gastown tell me their secrets…
Little Miss Risk