The Imperial is one of Vancouver’s most stylish venues, combining an eastern aesthetic with top notch sound equipment. While the space was designed to accommodate a cinema, the arrival of a new booker in 2014, as well as the venue's acquisition in 2018 by Canadian entertainment giant MRG Group, has led to an explosion of shows at the venue.
Located at 319 Main St., the Imperial used to be the Golden Harvest movie house, which specialized in Chinese kung fu films. It has since been remodelled to feature terracotta statues, comfortable seating near the bar and wooden floors. In 2013, the venue opened its doors to more events, with long-running promoter and media personality David Hawkes serving as the venue's entertainment director from 2014 to 2016 to oversee the venue's renaissance. Alongside these shows, the Imperial often hosts film screenings, conferences and more.
Promoters at the venue book a range of international acts, including Mitski, Lucius, Tortoise and Super Furry Animals. Canadian bands also pass through frequently, such as Plants and Animals and Great Lake Swimmers. The Imperial has also taken part in Vancouver’s Levitation festival, which highlights an array of psychedelic-inspired music. As a result, artists such as Thundercat, Shabazz Palaces and Com Truise have taken the stage at the venue.