The Old Firehall myth

By swrigley
January 19th, 2009

I am writing this because I think it needs to be pointed out how lucky we are to have such a unique place as the Old Firehall wine and jazz bar in Rossland. (I’m not paid by Zak, he has no idea I’m writing this, and I have no financial interest in the bar – but it’s my favourite hangout and I don’t want to lose it.) The myth that I’m referring to is the “it’s too expensive” myth that I hear around town. I agree it is expensive to go out, but the Old Firehall is really no more expensive than anywhere else – especially for what you get. In fact, if you go there for just dinner and no music, it’s less expensive than a lot of places. But where can you go that you can spend the whole cozy night eating dinner, drinking good wine, listening to great music … all within a few blocks of home.

Dinner options range from about $14 to $24 for a good plate. (I’m going by memory so I might be off by a few dollars.) Wine is around $40 for a good bottle of BC wine. Yes, I know you can get a bottle at other restaurants for $28, but it’s not local and it’s not that good. To get a good bottle of wine at other restaurants you have to pay the same – $40. Zak has been trying to cater to the feedback that he has been getting. I’ve heard that he’s bringing in some cheaper international wines, he’s brought in beer and alcohol, and they have some amazing martinis. I’ve also heard that he’s got a bigger oven now so he can put the popular pizzas back on the menu.

A $12 cover charge is not unreasonable for a live band – they’re established musicians and they can’t play for free. The Saturday night band (Kelly Fawcett) is high calibre jazz and it’s not always the same. Kelly is always there but his band members change so the music changes. Other bands from all over are brought in on Friday nights – there’s a schedule at www.oldfirehall.ca Some people have told me that you can see jazz free in Vancouver – but I think that’s on a weeknight and probably artists who are trying to gain a foothold. One that I do know about is The Cellar in Vancouver, which on a weekend is a $20 cover + a minimum number of drinks that you have to buy. And can you walk there from your house or find free parking easily?

If you can’t afford to go out, that’s understandable, but don’t go around saying it’s more expensive than other places in town. Go in for a glass of wine and some great music. You don’t have to buy a ticket ahead of time and you don’t have to eat dinner.

The current economy is tough – but let’s not lose this unique place. Let’s see if we can fill the place up this Saturday!! That’s my 2 cents.

Sue Wrigley

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