About The Narrow Group

We're all about offering Vancouverites eclectic spaces and places for food, drink, dance, art and music, rife with character and history. We encourage people to unshackle themselves and let their creativity run wild.

All of our projects are a little left of centre. We believe that remarkable things happen when creative-minded people join forces to forge new-fangled artistic paths. It is our mission to give agency to this grassroots artistic movement in Vancouver.

Our Role in Vancouver Culture

We love the way Vancouver continues to evolve and grow. Rather than tearing things down and building something new, we take pride in maintaining the architectural integrity of the buildings we inhabit. Our restaurants, studios, and venues have been lovingly restored through refurbishment and reinvention, allowing for our guests to appreciate the beauty of Vancouver and its history.

The sad fact of this is that not everyone thinks this way. Below are some of past projects; The majority of which were shut down due to the gentrification and redevelopment. Nevertheless, we are so proud of all of these previous projects and the central roles they played in their community.

Past Projects

ACME

Founders, Owners, Operators

The ACME is an 18,0000-square-foot collection of artist-only studios located at 108 East Hastings Street in the heart of Vancouver’s DTES. ACME housed over 60 artists in 18 affordable studios. A former department store, the building had been vacant for 24 years and had fallen into serious disrepair when we took over the lease in late 2008.

Photographers, painters, sculptors, jewellery designers, textile artists, clothing designers and musicians perfected their craft at ACME, while two galleries on the main floor featured working artist collectives. These galleries, the Remington and the Gam hosted a variety of events every month.

ACME was a hub of artistic activity within the DTES. It was at the centre of the annual Eastside Art Walk, SWARM, when over 1000 art enthusiasts wandered through ACME.

ArtWalk Vancouver

Founders, Owners, Operators

The vibrant art scene in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Chinatown and Gastown neighbourhoods were put on display during ArtWalk in 2010. As an artistic counterpoint to the 2010 Winter Olympics, thousands of attendees were invited to explore the galleries, retail spaces, studios and temporary ‘pop-up’ galleries. Over 250 artists from an array of disciplines participated in the event. The compendium of talent was as diverse as the neighbourhoods involved.

Cartalero Talent House

Co-Founders

Cartalero is a 4,000-square-foot artist co-operative that was started in the spring of 2007 on the top floor of 1888 Main Street. During the year long process of constructing The Narrow, we couldn’t help but notice that the full top floor of our building was empty and up for lease. Since so many of our friends were constantly complaining about the lack of affordable art space in Vancouver, we decided to jump at the opportunity. We were astonished at how quickly artists filled the space.

The landlord took over the lease at the end of our term and continues to operate the space as artists’ studios.

The Fox Cabaret

Co-Founders. Former Co-Owners

The Fox Cabaret is a 200-seat live music venue and cabaret located on Vancouver’s trendy Main Street. The project began as a partnership between The Narrow Group and the people behind the revamping of the Waldorf Hotel, Arrival Agencies.

Initially our role in the partnership was to oversee day-to-day renovations and business operations. In addition, we were responsible for negotiating the lease agreement and securing a liquor license and permits from various municipal and provincial agencies.

Fox Cabaret is now operated by Arrival Agencies and we are very proud of our role during the launch of this project.

Grace Gallery

Founders, Owners, Operators

From its inception in 2007 till its closure in 2011, Grace featured an exciting roster of emerging and established talent from across North America and beyond. We encouraged artists to take risks and push the creative envelope. With over 50 exhibitions a year, the art at Grace championed a range of styles for audiences within a unique and welcoming environment. We presented a diverse collection of exhibitions and Grace quickly became a catalyst for artistic discourse and cultural development in Vancouver.

The Hindenburg

Founders, Owners, Operators

The Hindenburg has many aliases. Known throughout its colourful past as John Barley’s, The Hungry Eye or Club 23, the Hindenburg never disappoints. This expansive three-level nightclub boasts a full cocktail lounge area, a live music stage, and a private pool and games room in the back. There is even a cavernous basement party space with nooks and crannies for more nefarious activity.

Housed in an historic Gastown site, this is one of Vancouver’s most celebrated multi-use venues. The scene at The Hindenburg is comfortable and casual, yet exciting and explosive. Oh, the humanity!

Hoppy Hop Craft Brewery Maps

Creators, Owners, Curators

Like a pub crawl with prizes, The Hoppy Hop was a fun way to taste some local beer with buddies and do some trivia. The free printed and web-based package included a map of local craft breweries on and around Main Street as well as super fun scavenger hunts and those golden trivia questions. After ordering a pint at each brewery district location and completing the trivia mission, participants had a chance to win super rad prizes and, of course, bragging rights.

 

Olio Festival

Curator

The Olio Festival was an annual collection of events in Vancouver featuring music, film, art, fashion, comedy and skateboarding over five action-packed days. This diverse festival showcased local and international artists and attracted huge crowds. As curators for the festival, we brought together a broad set of exhibitions for display across the city. Olio exploded in Vancouver from 2008 to 2013 and we loved being part of the show.

 

Omaha Art Studios

Founders, Owners, Operators

The Omaha Artist Space was founded in the winter of 2013 in a former mattress factory right in the centre of Vancouver. The building was originally established in 1926 and had been empty for several years. However, we reconfigured the space into fifteen artist work units on the top two floors and one large gallery on the main floor. The entire building currently housed around forty working artists in the vibrant community of Mount Pleasant. The Burrard Arts Foundation currently occupied the gallery space on the main floor.

The Rickshaw Theatre

Founders. Former Owner & Operator

Initially the site for Kung-Fu movie enthusiasts, the original Shaw Theatre was a hub of activity in the 1970s. Aptly re-named The Rickshaw Theatre as a nod to its Kung Fu celluloid heritage, this theatre re-emerged as a live music powerhouse in 2009. The Rickshaw Theatre features brilliant sight lines and exceptional acoustics.

Today the 600-capacity site is a popular venue within Vancouver’s lively music scene as well as a destination for international talent. This modern space, replete with historical cachet, has become a vibrant symbol of revitalization in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

This Monkey's Gone to Heaven

Owner, Curator

Oddities, Trinkets and Scientific Interests – This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven has a variety of products available in store to keep the mind curious and encourage exploration! Through the shop, classes & workshops are available for enrollment, and are hosted in the studio space attached to the store front.

 

Weirdo's Holiday Market

Creators, Organizers, Curators

Weirdo’s Holiday Market is Vancouver’s one-stop-shop for all things unusual, unique, and out of this world. The market unites BC’s most BANANAS artists and vendors, who create gifts from the kooky to the macabre for rad folks looking for quirky gifts while holiday shopping
45 West

Founders, Owners

Housed in a former pawnshop, 45 West sats in a heritage building in Vancouver’s Gastown. We decided to take this building in a different direction by creating a larger space that could be rented out to big groups. The cathedral ceilings, timber and exposed brick provided an impressive backdrop for co-operative studio space. Five spacious rooms in this 7,500-square-foot venue proved to be ideal for rehearsals, performance and workshops in dance, yoga and photography.

165 East Hastings

Founders, Owners, Operators

As the first of our artist buildings refurbished on the DTES, 165 East Hastings came packed with an illustrious history. The structure housed everything from an after-hours speakeasy to illegal-immigrant sweatshops. In 2001, the retail storefront, a pizza joint, was shut down by the city for selling crack over the counter instead of pizza. Additionally, the roof was plagued by an enormous hole that allowed water to pour through the structure and flood the basement every time it rained.

Initially we obtained the lease in 2007 with our eyes firmly fixed on the emerging cultural scene in Vancouver. We developed 10 affordable artist studios upstairs and an art gallery collective known as Plank on the main floor.

After our three-year lease expired, the landlord chose to reclaim the building and continue to operate it as a cluster of studios.