Vancouver — By thevancouverguide on February 5, 2011 at 6:11 pm
Filed under: cafe, music, Restaurant. bar

Music and Memorabalia at the Prophouse Cafe

Tucked away off the corner of Commercial Drive on Venables Street in Vancouver’s East End, there’s a small, intimate cafe chock full of fabulous memorabilia.  The Prophouse Cafehas been around for the last two years and is probably one of the East End’s best kept secrets. I only recently discovered it after a musician friend told me how she’d gone in for a coffee out of curiosity, saw the 1957 Heinzman piano,  a showpiece in the cafe, and sat down to play it.  The cafe is full of curious, interesting objects out of the past,  from the array of colourful retro lamps that hang from the ceiling, the glass cases of ceramic cats including the ubiquitous black panthers popular in the ‘50’s, furnishings, ornaments and even a stack of old LPS that you’re welcome to put on the record player.

The congenial owner, Ross Judge started collecting all this memorabilia back in 1996 which he rents out to movies such as Cat Woman, TV shows like the popular series X Files, music videos or whoever may want to rent props for productions.  The whole upstairs area of the building is jammed to the rafters with treasured objects.  Recently Judge, a hockey historian, has started making videos upstairs with a hockey theme called “Number 1 Hockey Gods” that parody characters well-known to Canadian hockey fans.

Judge has taken care to arrange the memorabilia that is on display in the cafe, so that it isn’t just a massive collection of ‘junk’ but has an artistic appeal.  It took him weeks, he said, to place the lighting fixtures just right so as you come up the steps into the cafe they have a pleasant effect.

There’s definitely an artsy feel to the place and it has become a popular venue for live music and spoken word events.  Judge wants it to be a congenial place with a unique atmosphere that will attract the neighbourhood crowd.  You definitely feel ‘at home’ there.  There is a small menu including quiche, soup, quinoa salad and sandwiches all under $5.  And coffee served from a vintage espresso machine as well as lattes and other beverages.  The homemade bakery items looked delicious and the servers are cheery and  attentive.

The Prophouse has mostly been advertised word-of-mouth up to now, but I can guarantee once the word gets out it will become more popular as a neighbourhood hangout and a place where memorabilia lovers will come to relax, chat and take in all the amazing objects Judge has collected.  You can take a look for yourself with this short video.  But come on down there for an evening of relaxation, fun and entertainment!

The Prophouse Cafe (map)

1636 Venables Street @ Commercial Drive

Photo by W. Ruth Kozak

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Tags: cafe, music, Restaurant. bar

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