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Big Bad John's


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#1 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 05:57 AM

Still bad after 50 years

Hillbilly-style hole-in-the-wall keeps packing them in

By Andrew A. Duffy, Times Colonist June 23, 2012 3:03 AM


It probably shouldn't have survived half a century. Heck, it should have burned to the ground a hundred times over or collapsed under the weight of its own paraphernalia.


http://www.timescolo...0318/story.html

I don't mind the place - Gerry and Joanne are good people, and the part-timers that rotate in are cool.

You know, I used to say "it's kind of a phoney cheesy bar" but I don't think that's such a negative anymore. You know, back in its day, not too many mainstreamers would go into the Douggy. But people take pleasure going into BBJs to slum it a bit, but maybe they like the fact that they have nicer digs nearby.
<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#2 glenalan54

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 10:13 AM

In the summer of 2005 I sat down with John Olson, the person responsible for conceiving and building BBJ's. Here are some interesting facts:
The 1962 World's Fair was about to begin in Seattle and projected attendance was in the millions so John got an idea how to attract some of those visitors to Victoria, and specifically to the Strathcona Hotel.
"I had been considering remodling the Strathcona Lounge [opened as the first cocktail lounge in BC, July 1954], into a hillbilly - Paul Bunion type atmosphere. I had quite a collection of old fame impliaments that I picked up whuile hunting in Alberta, and stockpiled these artifacts in the basement of the hotel. On a Sunday and holiday Monday in May 1962 we managed to complete the transition from lounge to hillbilly bar. I originally intended BBJ's to last the summer of 1962 then to renovate it again into another bar but due to the great success that year we decided to keep it open a little longer."

John went on to explain the renovation to a hillybilly bar in detail - a very interesting tale.

#3 D.L.

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 01:38 PM

I hope it never closes.

#4 Sparky

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 11:34 PM

Every red blooded Canadian boy growing up in Victoria has more than one story to tell about the Strath.

It was the mid 70's on a weekday afternoon...a buddy and I were wasting away our time at John's....drinking, laughing, telling tall tales....and generally being delightful jokers to the bar tending staff. One of them was called "Digby"..I forget the name of the other chap.

Somewhere around hour 3, the humour was starting to get a little weird...at some point everybody got a little weird...something was said....then something else was said...and the next thing I know...Digby and the other guy had me by the arms and legs and carried me out of the bar and gently placed me on the hood of a car parked outside on Douglas Street.

Way too funny...

I staggered back inside just in time to receive an ovation from the barflies...and the bartenders.

All in good fun.

Oh ......to be twenty something again.

#5 Bingo

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 10:26 PM

The bartender "Tiny", used to have bottles above the bar filled to various levels that he could play a few tunes on with a pair of chopsticks. He was quite the entertainer.

#6 Sparky

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 10:40 PM

First of all this story is just plain wrong.

Mrs Sparky and I dropped our daughter off at the Strath so she could play volleyball and leave me behind.

As luck would have it..we decided to drop in at Big Bad John's

We caught the 50 year celebration....by accident..

Below is a pic of John Olson...


#7 Sparky

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 10:52 PM

^^ Bingo....I think Tiny was there....he liked you...

#8 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 29 March 2015 - 06:45 AM

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The renovations are complete.

 

Photos from Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

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11055358_10153237716538552_6431262599288


<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#9 Bingo

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Posted 29 March 2015 - 07:37 AM

The Strathcona Room 1954: The First Cocktail Lounge in British Columbia

 

Notice the curved ceiling that appears to be visible in Big Bag John's.

http://raincoasthist...-room-1954.html

StrathoconaRoom%5B1%5D.jpg
 


Edited by Bingo, 29 March 2015 - 07:38 AM.

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#10 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 06:13 AM

The full renovations will be complete later today.  I'll get some photos.


<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#11 Nparker

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 06:21 AM

The full renovations will be complete later today.  I'll get some photos.

Fresh straw & peanut shells?



#12 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 06:31 AM

Fresh straw & peanut shells?

 

I'm not sure there was ever straw.  Free peanuts are still on the menu.


<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#13 Rob Randall

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 06:35 AM

Won't it be strange to chuck peanut shells on a pristine hardwood floor? Actually, I can't tell from the picture whether it's actual hardwood or that awful engineered laminate flooring that is supposed to look like weathered barn wood.

"[Randall's] aesthetic poll was more accurate than his political acumen"

-Tom Hawthorne, Toronto Globe and Mail


#14 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 06:47 AM

Won't it be strange to chuck peanut shells on a pristine hardwood floor? Actually, I can't tell from the picture whether it's actual hardwood or that awful engineered laminate flooring that is supposed to look like weathered barn wood.

 

I can confirm it's engineered flooring, I got a peek yesterday.  The renovations that will be complete today include an all-new bar and the refrigeration and a display behind it.


<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#15 Sparky

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 07:37 AM

Sometime in the early 70's I was wasting an entire afternoon sitting at that 5 or 6 person bar with a friend of mine and we were telling jokes with "Digby" the bartender. All of us had a great time. As the day slid towards the evening, another bartender arrived for his shift and I guess they decided it was time for me to leave. The two of them jovially picked me off the stool , carried me outside, and gently placed me on the hood of a parked car.

 

I miss those politically incorrect days.



#16 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 07:41 AM

That's awesome.  Today it becomes a 7-seat bar.  


<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#17 quattro

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Posted 16 October 2015 - 12:51 PM

http://www.timescolo...-john-1.2087307

 

John Olson, founder and namesake, has passed away.



#18 Mike K.

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Posted 16 October 2015 - 01:33 PM

He is survived by Carmon, his wife of 28 years, her two children and four grandchildren, six children from his first wives, as well as eight grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

 

 

Wow. That must have made for a busy Christmas to have 26 kids, grandkids and great grandkids mingling about (and that's without the ex-wives).

 

What the age of the youngest of the three Olsen brothers?


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#19 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 16 October 2015 - 01:43 PM

Wow. That must have made for a busy Christmas to have 26 kids, grandkids and great grandkids mingling about (and that's without the ex-wives).

 

What the age of the youngest of the three Olsen brothers?

 

Olson.  Grant, 57; Craig, 60; and Kirk, 63 


<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#20 Mike K.

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Posted 16 October 2015 - 08:01 PM

Oops, four brothers.

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