By: Winona Young, Arts Editor
The line is a sea of fetish wear, messy black eyeshadow and even messier hair — this seemed to be the unofficial dress code to get into Vancouver’s newest clubbing event, the Coffin Club at Astoria Hastings. Opening on January 18, 2019, the Coffin Club stands as a new hub for the goth and glamorous who are looking for somewhere to turn up.
Admittedly, the most goth/metal I’ve ever listened to was Good Charlotte and Green Day. Walking in with my date, I prepared for the night to be the weirdest and perhaps scariest night of clubbing I’ve ever experienced; but what I found out was — damn, these goths know how to fuckin’ party.
Walking in at around 11:30 p.m., the music was bumping and (no surprise) was decked in all black. However, it is still Vancouver, so along with the slightly grimy atmosphere, various retro pinball machines were on display by the wall which definitely helped me feel more at ease.
Decked out with a long bar, ten or so tables, two pool tables and a dancefloor, as far as clubs go, the place was well equipped! There was a projector screen that played Rocky Horror Picture Show, while televisions showed old music videos (some gory, some as regular as David Bowie).The bar was modestly priced — it had three bartenders manning the station with highballs at $7, doubles at $11.
As far as accessibility, while there were only male and female bathrooms available, the place was wheelchair-accessible. Looking at the patrons, the pool table was at a wheelchair-friendly height too.
After waiting in line for half an hour and entering the space, I could understand why. There were around 100 to 150 people in there, According to the photographer, it was that hype and that full since 9:30 p.m. when the club opened.
It was a sea of black leather, black eyeshadow, and wild hair (all genders — all looked equally unkempt). Doc Martens could have sponsored this event. But despite the fact that a lot of party goers went big with their outfits, everyone was both polite and respectful. I distinctly remember a person in a neon fetish mask politely nudging me aside to get to his drink, and before he walked way, he turned to my date and I, pointed between us and then made a heart sign with his hands before going on his way.
There were definitely other notable guests: I did see a man walking with (I’m assuming) his partner on a leash, clad in a leather fetish-wear mask. To me, the place felt somewhat like a kink-friendly Twilight Zone — just as spooky, but covered in black leather and with nicer music.
Something I did notice was that I met just a tad fewer fellow POC in the crowd that night than I usually see in the Vancouver club scene. Despite this, I want to emphasize that the place was both very inclusive and comfortable. In terms of age, it was a very wide cast; I saw people from age 19 to at least their early 60s.
Towards the end of the night, I felt genuinely safe and welcome in the space. Hard metal aside, probably the most traumatizing thing I saw there was a guy in a Family Guy t-shirt.
THE DANCE FLOOR
Now the dance floor is what I was most looking forward to. The Club music was loud — raucous, but not more or less annoying than regular club music honestly. And the setlist? When DJ Sean Reveron went onstage, while yes, there was some heavy metal, there was also . . . Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus”? And The Cure? The setlist was less a Satanist party mix and more a thotty goth friend’s “Edgy Playlist.”
The actual dance floor itself had a black-and-white checkerboard print, but it was relatively clean. The folks dancing all had equally eclectic fashion and an equally carefree vibe. Now don’t get me wrong, these people couldn’t dance to save their lives, but God, I’d be lying if I didn’t feel 100% comfortable and safe around them. Everyone kept to their personal space pretty well — no shoving, no people getting in each other’s business or unwelcome physical contact of any kind on the dance floor, which, as someone who’s been partying all over the world, is a major plus in my book.
LAST WORDS FOR THE COFFIN CLUB
All in all, I did not expect the Coffin Club would make for a solid date night, let alone, a place for clubbing for a normie like me. While the place isn’t for the faint of heart, anyone with an open mind and just enough curiosity, should get their monster mash on and party it up.