Monster heads and memorabilia for sale as Vancouver ‘nerd bar’ closes for good

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Monster heads and memorabilia for sale as Vancouver ‘nerd bar’ closes for good
Sunday was last call at Vancouver's Storm Crow Alehouse nerd bar as its owners struggled to stay open under a trio of pressures and as Grace Ke reports, the public was able to buy some of the quirky memorabilia in order to support the outgoing staff – Jan 16, 2022

Sunday’s last call will mean the serving of tankards of ale, glasses of Klingon bloodwine and pan galactic gargleblasters at Vancouver nerd bar the Storm Crow Alehouse.

The Vancouver-founded chain closed its original location on Commercial Drive in 2020, and is calling it quits at its West Broadway location as well. That leaves the last Storm Crow standing in Toronto.

A combination of factors, including labour and supply shortages, rising rent and construction on the Broadway subway, made it too hard to keep the doors open.

“It’s really been a hindrance on business in the past few months. We’ve noticed traffic is depleted. We’ve been talking with our restaurant neighbors and they’ve also stated they are struggling quite a bit as well,” she said.

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“Everyone’s pretty heartbroken. We’ve tried so hard over the years to create a safe, warm environment.”

The Storm Crow opened its first location in East Vancouver in 2012, and built its brand around being a ‘nerd bar’.

That concept included science fiction and fantasy-themed menu items, TV and movie screenings, board games and loads of memorabilia adorning the walls.

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“The goal has always been to create an environment where just as a sports fan feels happy and comfortable at a sports bar, where somebody who is really nerdy can look around and be like, ‘I understood that reference,’ so they can feel like the things they love are all around them,” said Storm Crow Marketing Officer Jessica Langer.

Focus on the accoutrements of nerd culture is now paying off for laid-off staff. The company is auctioning off its vast stockpile of memorabilia, with all proceeds going to the workers.

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Many items listed on the company’s website sold by Sunday, like a prop shield used in the filming of the Lord of the Rings and a framed autographed photo of Freddy Kreuger.

But Langer said there were still a few big-ticket items left available, like a life-sized Tardis, the British police box Dr. Who uses to travel through space and time, with a starting bid of $5,000.

The priciest item, a severed and wall-mounted replica rancor head, is waiting for a deep-pocketed Star Wars fan.

“It’s the child of the monster that Luke fought in Return of the Jedi at Jabba’s palace,” Langer said of the $25,000 item.

“It’s quite realistic. If you have a look, the teeth are all beautifully glistening. It’s kind of in the old hunting lodge mode, but a big giant space monster instead.”

Langer said there are no plans to open another Storm Crow in the city any time soon, but they aren’t ruling out coming back with another concept some time down the road.

Last call at the ale house is 10 p.m. Sunday.


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