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The Daily Hive reports on Queen Elizabeth Square, that area west of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre that is largely used by the theatre as overspill space. Located at 688 Hamilton and 675 Cambie Streets this space can be rented for over $3,000 a day for private events . Even its current public description is a bit anonymous-one website refers to this space as “a versatile blank canvas that can be adapted and decorated to achieve multiple moods and personalities.”  Which is a kind way to say that it is pretty anonymous and has no specific character or reference.
Having been stuck inside the Queen Elizabeth Theatre during the 2011 Stanley Cup riots, it’s timely for the  plaza area to be looking less anonymous and read more like a cultural adjunct. During the melee several rioters ran across the vacant plaza with  planters to throw through the theatre windows, only stopping once they realized that it was the city owned facility.
There is a 2,832 square foot existing  building in this plaza and that building is being proposed to be renovated and expanded to become a “ brand new Browns Socialhouse“.  If you have been in this area pre or post performance at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, there are not a lot of close dining options.
“The goal has been to revitalize the plaza with a dining option that is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, as well as before and after shows for theatre-goers, with an idea to give the public space more life, along the lines of what popular restaurants like Cactus Club and Tap & Barrel have done at the Convention Centre/Jack Poole Plaza.”
The Browns Socialhouse is owned by the Vancouver based Browns Restaurant Group that has over fifty franchised locations and is based in Vancouver.  The intent of this restaurant is to “offer guests a hybrid experience that bridges the gap between ‘premium casual dining’ and ‘neighbourhood pub.”  This use was the successful bidder in a Request For Proposals  that went out from the City, will be paying an annual lease and will be giving the City a percentage of the profits. This space is also opposite the anticipated new Vancouver Art Gallery.  The proposed restaurant application and redesign of the building can be viewed here.
This is the latest of several public/private endeavours undertaken by the City in placing privately owned restaurant facilities on city owned property.