Address: 1300 Granville St | Neighbourhood: Granville | Established: 1950s | Currently: In position, lights out for renovations
Image of The Yale Hotel sign

Named the Colonial Hotel when it opened in 1889, what’s now known as the Yale was originally built to house Canadian Pacific Railway workers who moved to the city for work in the 1880s.

Waide Luciak purchased the Yale just under a century later in 1987, cementing the downstairs pub as a venue for live blues. By then, Luciak family members were still finding straw in the basement from the Yale’s old horse paddock used by loggers, who would ride down to the former bath house and saloon after work in False Creek.

The Yale closed for renovations in winter 2011. The challenge moving forward, Luciak family members say, lies in honouring the blues tradition that has blossomed in the bar while staying relevant for new generations of patrons.

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Joe Luciak
Joe Luciak said…
“These are my aunts and I want to give them the world, but I want to make sure that the Yale’s there tomorrow for everybody…"
Dal Richards
Dal Richards said…
“Liquor laws were completely different in those days. There was no beer or spirits sold in a ballroom. But the Yale had their beer parlour..."
Joe Luciak
Joe Luciak wrote…
“Robbie King lived in the Yale. He requested that he live above the stage. On nights that he wasn’t on stage, he was above listening to the music…”

“There was a fellow at the Yale, Robbie King, who was very important to the Yale, to live music in Vancouver, and to Motown as a sound on the whole. He was one of the first guys to start developing that Motown funky sound with the Hammond B-3 organ. He was also one of the first musicians to come out and say that he was gay.

Robbie King lived in the Yale. He requested that he live above the stage.

On nights that he wasn’t on stage, he was above listening to the music.

And if he didn’t like it, he’d throw on his housecoat and come down into the bar in his funny old housecoat and slippers, and kick the guys offstage. Quite often, the songs that [other musicians] played, [Robbie] would have written the originals for, so he would hear that it wasn’t up to snuff.

Robbie King died a number of years ago. By the sound booth at the Yale since the day he died, there’s been a shrine for him and also up on stage by the Hammond organ. You know, it’s pretty cool.”

— Joe Luciak, Yale Hotel music director


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See what others have to say. The stories below were shared by users just like you. Please note: this content is user-submitted and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the MOV
The Yale's signs are lit up again.
Posted by 
Hugh Lindsay 
Sat 19 Oct 2013
Love this part of Vancouver.
Posted by 
Tue 09 Jul 2013
Thank you to the designers of the "white lights" . I love them! I have lived in this crazy, vibrant, wonderful area since 1979 and almost every sign on Granville evokes a memory. I now love looking down and photographing the row of very Art Decoish lighting that has bright a fabulous glow to this very....... confused street.
Posted by 
Sun 26 May 2013
I love this old sign Looking forward to it coming back.
Posted by 
Tue 23 Oct 2012

Photo gallery

Get a closer look at this sign and the business it represents. All photos are provided by the MOV.
Yale Hotel Street View 1953
Poster Signed by David "Honeyboy" Edwards
Yale Hotel Exterior 1975
Dal Richards Poster for Yale Hotel Closing Celebration
Yale Hotel Bar 2011
Yale Hotel Bar
Yale Hotel's Closing Celebration Ad
Yale Hotel Interior
Yale Hotel Sign
Yale Hotel Sign

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