The old Empire 7 theatres on Granville Street have been a sad sight for Vancouverites for many years now since they shut their doors. Their former glory is only recalled by movie-going locals who yearn for the good-old-days where you could catch a movie on our famous neon sign lined entertainment district.
That's why we were so glad to hear that Cineplex will be creating a Rec Room, their multi-level entertainment concept in the former Empire 7 spot! While the Rec Room won't be a movie theatre per se, it will bring fresh life to our Entertainment District with restaurants and games. This place is way more than an arcade and it will likely have a massive rooftop patio unlike anything else we have downtown. Vancouver City Council just approved a liquor license for a restaurant at the Rec Room that would include 314 seats on an outdoor rooftop patio!
They also got a liquor licence approved for a 646-seat venue in the basement so this Rec Room spot is going to be absolutely massive. The Rec Room is new to Western Canada although they already have several ones out in the East.
Right now, if you want to play arcade games and goof around like a kid again you either have to go all the way out to Castle Fun Park in Abbotsford or possibly Espot in Richmond. It'll be so fun to have a giant place to act like a kid again and then grab a drink on the rooftop patio that's right in the centre of the city.
They're planning to start construction on the site to renovate the theatre for Cineplex later this year. It's going to be a while before we can enjoy the full Rec Room experience in Downtown Vancouver but I'm positive it will be well worth the wait.