Let’s Make This Night Last Forever (Goodbye Wunderbar)
I WAS going to post about something fun today dear readers. But that’s not in the books anymore.
I learned something really sad and now I am really sad myself, and so I’ve decided to write about this timely event instead. Mere hours ago I found out that my favourite bar in all of Edmonton is closing in the next two days. Thanks to Vueweekly and The Gateway for filling me in. And on Halloween of all days. If you already knew this information, please let me how you’ve managed to keep yourself composed after the initial shock wore off, okay?
I’m in serious need of emotional support and I could use a hug or two dozen.
The NEW Wunderbar Hofbrauhaus is closing it’s doors. And yes, that’s not a misquote, two days from now Wunderbar is closed. Just writing that sends chills down my spine. Especially after amazing music venues like The Artery and The Pawn Shop have shut down so very recently as well.
I have so many good memories of that place too…
Now I’ve been going to Wunderbar for years myself, which explains all of the memories. See I was a patron back in my university going days, well before it was acquired in 2010 by Craig Martell, Levi Christensen and Chris Janke.
This was the bar that allowed to cut my teeth on import and unconventional tasting beers. It was also the bar that I first thought about how to make a business for myself by both writing about the arts and participating in them. It was the place where one of my friends threw up in their Christmas tree, it was also the place where I saw some really weird art house adult themed videos on old format projectors. And did I mention it was the place where I learned about and tasted my first das boot? Just kidding, I mean a bierstiefel (beer boot).
Turns out that they just don’t receive enough repeat business for the small venue, which only holds about 85 people. I had heard about this problem previously, and there have already been a few attempts in our community to rejuvenate the business. And interestingly enough, the crowdfunding did work, enough money was raised to keep Wunderbar open longer than originally anticipated, but the bar is closing all the same. I imagine it has a lot to do with how the business was managed and the challenges it constantly faced which prevented it from breaking even.
If you are curious about what those challenges were you can read about in more detail via this Edmonton Journal article from the summer that I’ve linked to.
Let’s get super real for a minute.
The hole is going to be there in my heart for a while I imagine. You see, this isn’t the first bar I’ve lost to the hard and unforgiving nature of Edmonton’s bar scene. There have been a few casualties along the way.
Remember New City? Yeah, that club that moved locations a few times? I used to go there all the time too, back when it was downtown. But it eventually got swallowed alive by our harsh winters and our need for the new and novel. Just like the Sidetrack Cafe, and apparently others. Check out this article by Gigcity.ca for a post that fleshes that idea out a bit more.
Having said that, I think it might be a blessing in disguise (groans will come sentences later) that we always get new locations and new venues for music because one that is getting some more exposure is Studio 96. Studio 96 used to be a church by the name of St. Stephen’s, converted into a venue and saved from demolition and is one that might be worth checking out.
I don’t know if Studio 96 or others will ever replace Wunderbar for me, but I will leave you with this idea – If you’ve watched How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM) ever, which ended its series run last year, than you may have seen the episode where Ted has a dialogue with Klaus, a man whom he had been in competition with for Victoria’s affections. When Klaus reveals that Victoria is wunderbar, but not lebenslangerschicksalsschatz.
Now, Lebenslangerschicksalsschatz, is not a real German word, but it represents the idea of an instantaneous attraction and something which is not earned but felt. Now I’ve not been to Studio 96 yet, so I can’t see if it gives me the feels, but Wunderbar was my Lebenslangerschicksalsschatz. And so I will rename it thusly in my heart and raise my glass high whenever I think of her.
In case you were wondering how I’ll be spending the rest of my Thursday night, I think I’ll have a drink with an old friend. Maybe share some war stories and come up with some new theories.