New musical celebrates iconic West End eatery

The Elbow Room Café: The Musical

The Elbow Room Café: The Musical runs March 1-12 at the York Theatre. Emily Cooper photo.

“Refill your own water & don’t bring kids as explicit language is encouraged,” reads one Yelp review for a popular Vancouver restaurant.

Another Yelp reviewer writes, “The food is quite good, the attitude is nasty and fun. If you can’t take a joke them stay away from here… This is the only restaurant I know that should be rated X for adults only. Definitely leave the kids at home.”

Many locals – or at least, residents of Vancouver’s West End – will by now already have recognized the eatery in question: the ever-popular Elbow Room Café. Well, now the iconic restaurant is getting its own musical. And it sounds as though it’s going to be even more fun than a hungover Sunday morning brunch.

From March 1-12, Zee Zee Theatre presents The Elbow Room Cafe: The Musical at the York Theatre (639 Commercial Drive). According to, the company has been developing the musical for two years. (Note: this post has been updated with the correct theatre information.)

Described as “a candid look inside Vancouver’s most iconic eatery: home of raucous service, celebrity sightings, and hearts of gold,” The Elbow Room Café: The Musical stars Allan Zinyk. A veteran of the annual Vancouver tradition the East Van Panto, Zinyk heads a cast of characters that includes “misfits, drag queens, and the perpetually hung over.”

The creative team of Zee Zee Theatre’s playwright/associate producer Dave Deveau and Touchstone Theatre composer Anton Lipovetsky (Broken Sex Doll) are behind the production. The description at promises that the team will “sink their teeth into the whimsy and heart of real life café owners Patrice and Bryan and explore how we age together in a Technicolour world.”

The Elbow Room Café: The Musical

The Elbow Room Café: The Musical runs March 1-12 at the Historic Theatre at the Cultch. Emily Cooper photo.

As a bonus, theatregoers will be able to get 15 per cent off their food bill at the real Elbow Room Café (560 Davie St) when showing their Elbow Room Café: The Musical ticket stub. For ticket info and showtimes visit

Oh, and here’s one more Yelp review, this one from Vancouverite Danielle L.: “Let’s be honest, you don’t go to the Elbow Room necessarily for the great food, you go for the experience of having sassy serving staff hurl good natured insults and innuendo at you over pancakes. That being said, the food IS really good here.”

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