One of the Davie Village’s few remaining gay pubs has bucked the trend and more than doubled its capacity.
After nine months of renovations, a revamped and expanded PumpJack Pub launched its new look June 13.
Vince Marino, who co-owns the pub located at 1167 Davie St, says the popular gay venue doubled in size after taking over its neighbour’s space last August, most recently operated as the Cho Pain bakery.
The expansion increases the pub’s seating capacity from 107 to 244 seats, along with a 19-seat patio, Marino says.
“We heard quite a bit from the community constantly asking us if we were ever going to take the space next door or would we expand,” Marino says. “We heard that people were looking for something a little bit bigger, a place to dance and sort of a games area, and we felt we could do that,” he says, noting that “the gay spaces have been becoming fewer and fewer.”
Marino says the idea to expand was “10 years in the making.”
“We’ve been working with all of the plans that needed to go through city hall and liquor licensing and everything else,” he says. “I think all of the departments in the city worked very well with us. They assisted whenever they could.”
A Nov 21 administrative report from city staff to Vancouver City Council supported the PumpJack’s application to increase its capacity, and, on Dec 18, council endorsed the request after examining issues like noise impact and adherence to council policy. The report also noted that the pub’s hours of operation would remain unchanged and that the establishment has held a liquor primary licence at the location for 14 years without any enforcement issues.
City staff also noted that 55 comments, all supportive, were received in response to the neighbourhood notification process.
The PumpJack expansion is also one of the first projects to fall under the city’s newly adopted West End Community Plan, which includes a commitment to “enhance Davie Village’s distinctive character as a hub for the LGBTQ community through the use of colour and lighting, and as a space for nightlife, celebration, events, gathering and community programming.”
The renovations include new bars, a large new dancefloor, an integrated pub and club space, a new liquor off-sale area, a new sound system, a games area, a new patio in the back for summer lounging, more washrooms and an accessible bar.
“Part of the new code is that we had to have a wheelchair-accessible bar so that people who are handicapped can roll up and get their drinks and not feel that the bar is too high,” pub manager Harvey Carey says.
Marino won’t reveal how much the renovations cost. “It was expensive but not an overbearing amount,” he says. “It was six figures.”
“Let’s just say it was a few pints,” Carey says with a chuckle.
Marino hopes the new and improved space will help give back to the community. “We’ve always been involved in community fundraising, and this will probably give us a chance to expand that side of it.”
“There’s lots of stuff we can do here,” Carey agrees. “Maybe live bands? Who knows? The options are endless.”