Distillery shuts doors, plans to relocate

One of Calgary’s foremost underground music venues, The Distillery, closed its doors on Thursday Nov. 29, but plans to relocate are already in motion.

Sub-leased to the basement of 615 7th Ave. S.W., the bar was forced to move due to lease problems, according to co-owner Philly Roch.

“At the end of the day [expletive] rolls downhill so if the main leaseholders get evicted then anybody that’s got a sublease is also out,” Roch explains.

However, Roch hopes to move into a new undisclosed location as early as Jan. 1, 2013, although he admits “there’s no ink on any paper yet.”

The establishment’s final nights were filled with bittersweet celebrations of the pub’s almost four-year run at that location.

“That last week really showed that the scene that we helped cultivate, they have our back,” said Roch.

“We’ve got a really good community support system.”

This is not the first time the Distillery has had to change buildings.

The bar used to occupy a space only a few blocks away on the corner of 5th Avenue and 8th Street S.W.

During its tenure at both locations, the Distillery has been instrumental in giving underground artists valuable stage experience.

“If it wasn’t for a place like us there’d be a ton of these bands, a ton of these artists who wouldn’t have a place to get on stage in front of people and really work at what they do.”

“The D has just given people passionate about all kinds of music a place show up and celebrate our love for it,” adds Jon Hunter, who has worked as a door man at the bar for the last year, and has been attending shows there since he reached drinking age.

“I’ve seen some of my favorite bands there, discovered some kick ass new ones, first shows, last shows, surprise shows… it’s been rad.”

Hunter is optimistic that wherever the Distillery ends up, it will deliver the same positive atmosphere as before.

“It might be a different room, a bit bigger or a bit smaller, but it’s all the people who make the room, staff and customers, and we’ll be there.”

Roch insists that the thriving alternative/extreme music scene in Calgary won’t allow the Distillery’s demise to be permanent.

We’re needed, we’re necessary.”

“We’re a necessary evil.”

About Ian Lemke 4 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Ian Lemke worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2012-2013 academic year.