A popular destination for food and drinks on the Granville Strip in downtown Vancouver is shutting down temporarily, the latest in a laundry list of closures in an industry hammered by COVID-19.
The Living Room restaurant and bar inside Hotel Belmont is closing down for the foreseeable future.
Don Falconer, general manager of food and beverage for Hotel Belmont, told Daily Hive he notified staff on Monday about the temporary closure. The eatery currently has about 40 active staff members.
While The Living Room opened with a capacity for 179 patrons, it has been operating with a reduced capacity of 96 during COVID-19.
Falconer says although The Living Room was known more of a place to go for drinks with friends than having a meal, during COVID it hired a new chef and pivoted operations to focus more on food.
“The unfortunate thing is the amount of time and resources and planning and cost we’ve put into putting in a safe and fun environment so people can still come out and have a good meal and a drink or two and have a bit of a sense of normalcy,” he says, adding that staff have been “ridiculously great” at rolling with the punches.
While the ownership did everything they could to keep the business open, they have seen revenue fall significantly — more than 50 per cent.
“We managed to get through Christmas and New Year’s Eve. That was a big goal for us. We made it through the holiday season. But January has never been a better month than December. I can’t thank the owners enough — it’s really a tough landscape to be profitable in,” he says.
Although a re-opening date has not been set, Falconer is optimistic it won’t be more than a few weeks and is trying to stay positive.
The Hotel Belmont also operates The Basement bar on the lower level, but it has essentially been closed since the provincial 10pm liquor cutoff came into effect in September 2020.