The Arbutus Club Venue Review

The Arbutus Club Venue Review

The Arbutus Cub has a long history and one of the premier Private Clubs in Vancouver. It has a number of facilities including pool, tennis courts, gym, exercise facilities as well as many other services including the ability to host many different types of events.

The parking lot at the Arbutus club is large. However, the club is very busy and it is usually quite full. They do have guest parking underground. This is also quite large and there is usually room for everyone. At the entrance to the underground parking lot you can enter a corridor to take you to the lobby of the club. This is great on rainy days. Parking is free as well…always a plus.

Dropping off your guests may not be necessary with the corridor from the underground parking lot to the lobby, but if you want to do that, there is a flat sidewalk are next to the stairs where any mobility challenged guests can have easy access. For your vendors, they do need to load into the lobby from the front entrance and this makes it easy for them. The whole venue is wheelchair friendly.

Vendors and guests must sign in at the front lobby and register their license plate number. They are then buzzed into the club. Elevators are straight ahead and the 2nd floor is where the event rooms are located. The elevator is a normal size so most vendors with equipment or wheelchairs will fit in easily.

There are a number of event rooms of varying sizes. The Quilchena Terrace room is where I do most of the events for the club.  It is a rectangular shaped room that could probably hold 80 guests but with the terrace, which is covered in winter, that could probably be doubled.

The dance floor is small and the DJ is normally setup by the bar so it is tight quarters. I find a smaller DJ setup is about all that can be fit into the space that they give for the DJ. There are not that many outlets so at Christmas time when all the trees and decorations are plugged in, it can be a challenging time for your Vancouver DJ to find power.

It is normally a buffet style setting for dinner and it is set up on the dance floor.  This also takes up room and limits the size of your DJ setup if the music setup is in the regular spot…which right at the edge of the dance floor.

One thing I like is that they have a hallway closet outside of the room to hang guest’s coats. This keeps the room looking very clean and neat. It also gives to room a little more space. Guests do not have to worry about draping their coats over the back of their chairs as well.

The terrace of to the side of the room is an extra space that can be utilized for larger parties. In the summer, it is a nice are for the guests to lounge and enjoy the sunshine. In the winter, it covered by a tent structure. Unless it is being used it is unheated and if the terrace doors are left open , as guests often do, it can make the Quilchena room cold.

The staff is friendly and if your vendor is friendly, they will try to help them out. This venue seems to have set way of doing things so if you want your DJ in Vancouver to set up in a different location, then it would be wise to be very clear when booking the room so that staff are aware of any changes to the normal routine.

Your vendors should be aware that the front lobby closes at 11 pm and the front doors to the club are locked. If your event is going past 11 pm, your vendor will need to make sure the night manager is around so that the vendor does not get locked out while packing up equipment, going to get their vehicle from the underground parking, and trying to get back into the club to load the equipment from the upper room to downstairs and into their van.

The Arbutus Club is a conveniently located venue that is able to cater from small to mid sized events. Even though it has a bit of a community center type feels at the entrance, once in the event rooms, that disappears. With the free parking and neatness of the facility, I give the club a 4 out of 5 stars.

The Vancouver Lookout Venue Review

The Vancouver Lookout Venue Review

The Vancouver Lookout not only has a unique shape that adds a different ambiance to your event but it also has an awesome view for your guests to enjoy. A 360 degree view of the city is one of the best ways to get an overall appreciation of the scope of what Vancouver is about.

Starting at the parking for the venue, it is a bit easy to miss as it is right at the corner of Seymour and Cordova at the 500 Harbor Center underground parking. There is a bus stop right at the entrance so when a bus is there, it can make it even more challenging to find. Turn right off of Cordova into the underground parking and keep going straight. Don’t turn left into the loading dock.

Getting from the parking lot to the lobby is quite easy and there is access for your mobility challenged guests. The lookout deck also has ramps all the way around so all guests can enjoy the view.

The lookout venue is quite spacious and could accommodate a large group of guests. The thing to note about the venue being round is that your music would not carry all the way around the venue. You would either have to find a way to plug into the house system, which would be ok for background music but not dance music, or have your Vancouver DJ set up extra speakers around the venue. This last option could get expensive.

I would also be clear on just where you want your music provider to set up before they arrive for your occasion. The staff was not aware of where the client wanted the DJ setup when I arrived. Once setup is done and lighting, cables and tables are set, it can be difficult to move equipment without taking some of it down and setting up again. This can cause your music to start late.

There seems to be quite a few wall outlets so you can plug in extra items. Be sure to leave an outlet free close to your DJ setup so that your entertainment can plug in as well.

The venue does not have a microphone for speeches or a projector and screen for your video or slide show presentations.  I did notice a few TVs around the venue so you might be able to plug into those. Otherwise, you might need to bring your own projector and screen or have your DJ in Vancouver provide those items.

Load in for your vendors is a bit cumbersome. They must load in from the loading dock, call up and have one of the staff come down and let them in, bring the equipment up to the lookout area and go back down to park  their vehicle. All this could take quite a bit of time so make sure your vendors plan ahead and arrive early enough to allow time for this. It took this DJ about 30 minutes to get in and I did not have to come back down to park my van. A plus is that they do give vendors their own pass key so that if they do have to come back down to the loading dock, they can get in and out on their own. However, the vendor can’t get back into the loading dock area after 6 PM if they drive out for any reason.

The staff is helpful and friendly but may be a little short staffed. When I was ready to setup 45 minutes prior to the event, the DJ tables were not ready and guest tables still being setup and dressed. They did manage to have things ready on time and once the event got going everything ran smoothly.

The Vancouver lookout has got some nice perks for the location of your next event. Beautiful views, a downtown location close to Gastown  and the skytrain hub are a few of them. The round shape of the the venue makes it hard to get music all through the venue and the time it takes to get your vendors in concern me enough t o give the Vancouver Look out a 4 out of 5 stars.

Seasons in The Park Heritage Room

Seasons in The Park Heritage Room

Seasons in The Park has a number of rooms available for your wedding or events. Each room has its’ own character and accommodation size in order to cater to your requirements. The Heritage room is probably the smallest room at Seasons.

At Seasons, parking can get crowded close to the venue if there are a number of events taking place at the same time. You may have to park in some of the parking areas that are further away so remember to bring an umbrella on rainy days. Fortunately, there is valet parking available for around $11 for the evening.

There is a roundabout just beyond the valet parking where you can temporarily park and let your mobility challenged guests out. It is not covered though so here again, bring an umbrella in case of rain. A flat sidewalk does run form that area to the main entrance for Seasons and for the adjacent entry into the Heritage room.

The Heritage room would be hard pressed to fit more than 45 guests and still have room to move around plus room for your Vancouver DJ. There is no dedicated dance floor and the room is carpeted, making a it a little difficult to dance on for some.

They do have a wireless microphone for your speeches. The ceiling speakers would not be adequate to play dance music but would work fine for dinner background music.

The venue is a bit drab in the décor department. It is done in brown wood paneling giving it a dated and dark ambiance…especially at night.

The room does have an in ceiling projector and retractable screen for playing your video and slide show presentations.

One thing to note is that there are not many wall outlets. An extension cord and power bar may be a necessity if you want to plug anything in. Keep in mind your DJ in Vancouver will need an outlet as well.

The Heritage room faces a row of high trees so I am afraid there is no view out of the large windows. Some of the other rooms at Seasons do have nice views overlooking the city. In the summer, the view would at least be green until the sun went down.

A nice feature of the venue area is that there is a very nice park for your guests to wander in if, for example, you have a wedding ceremony in the park and your guests need something to do before the reception starts.  There are some nice areas in the park for picture opportunities and for strolling. The  Bloedel Conservatory is also  located in the park. It is another great way for your guests to enjoy their time.

Staff are friendly and quite helpful. The food for all the event rooms is prepared to the standards of the Seasons in the Park restaurant. In the Heritage room, it is a sit down served service.

The Heritage room at Seasons In The Park is a modest venue to hold a small wedding or event. Although it does not have some of the perks of the other rooms, it is perfectly adequate and in some cases, due to the location, quite a pleasant experience. I give the Heritage room 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Venue Review Horizons Restaurant

Venue Review Horizons Restaurant

Horizons Restaurant on Burnaby Mountain is a nice venue that will accommodate up to 180 guests.  Being situated on the mountain, it can provide wonderful views while at the same time hosting your event in modern, open decor setting.

Although it was a rainy, misty day when I was there, the bright cheerful setting was uplifting. There was lots of space with a fully stocked bar. Seating could be arranged in booths or movable tables to customize seating. There was an area that could be used for a nice dance floor as you came into the venue.

The entrance way is quite roomy but I would imagine it could get quite crowded with a full complement of 180 guests. They do not have a built in projection system to play your video presentation or slide show and no house microphone for your speeches. This would be something you would need to ask your music service to provide

There are large windows all around and as you can see, on a sunny summer day, the views can be spectacular.  Whether it be lovely sunsets or the lights of the city below, this venue can provide all of that.

Getting into the venue has its’ good and bad points. You can get close to the restaurant with your vehicle to bring in supplies or for your vendors to load in equipment and décor accessories. There is a ramp to the right side of the main entrance and an elevator is available. However, the area from which convenient access to these two options is a bit tight if you have a larger vehicle. Having two, or more, vehicles trying to get into that small parking area could be a bit challenging.

The parking lot is large and seems that it would accommodate a large number of vehicles but here again, in the summertime it might be a popular spot for the locals as well. The walk up to the restaurant is a bit long and steep as well, so any mobility challenged guests would want to take advantage of the ramp and elevator nearer to the restaurant. This Vancouver DJ found it necessary to have an umbrella on the rainy days as you will definitely get wet on the walk from the parking lot to the restaurant.

There are some nice pathways around the restaurant for your guests to stroll if your event includes a wedding ceremony earlier in the day and the guests need to occupy some time while the married couple got back to the reception later.  I would imagine there would be some nice spots for photo opportunities as well.

Horizons is in a nice location to host just about any medium to larger sized event. The views are second to none on a nice day and staff is friendly, professional and eager to help. The venue has everything you need for an enjoyable function including interesting grounds for your guests to explore.  My only concern would be that if the weather is not good on the day of your event, much of the charm of the beautiful view would be lost.

This DJ in Vancouver gives Horizons 4 out of 5 stars.

Venue Review Hilton Vancouver Metrotown

Venue Review Hilton Vancouver Metrotown

The Hilton Vancouver Metrotown is, as the name says, is across the street from the Metrotown shopping center. It Interestingly, has an Asian mall area right off the hotel itself providing for a lot of shops for your guests to explore…especially if they are from out of town.

Pulling into the drive way of the Hilton, there is not a lot of room to maneuver. They do have valet service so this helps but there is little overhead cover from the weather. The entrance doors are close though so this probably would not be an issue for most guests. However, if you have mobility challenged guests, you might be exposed to the elements while trying to get a wheel chair, etc out of your vehicle. The other option would be to park in the underground parking lot and have guests take the elevator up to the lobby from there. The Hilton is also very good about providing parking passes for you vendors and guests

Once inside the hotel, all access is mobility challenged friendly with elevators or ramps. The lobby is spacious and tastefully decorated.

The rooms where the events are held are off of the mall adjacent to the hotel. They often have the doors locked so if you, or your vendors, are arriving early to set up, you may have knock loudly on the glass doors or go back down the front desk to have someone come up and unlock the doors. I always carry the front desk phone number with me so I can call them if need be.

The Tiffany Ballroom is where events are held and event room area has a ramp, as well as stairs to it.

There is a small room close to the entrance where a wedding ceremony can be held. The room is small and a little crowded at 60 guests. if your vendor is providing music for the wedding ceremony, a very small PA would only be required. This Vancouver DJ used a battery powered PA with blue tooth wireless microphone and wireless Ipad connections. You can rent this system yourself. Check this link DJ hire.

The main room next to the ceremony room is not really that large and would work well for a medium sized wedding of 130 guests, I would estimate. As always, It is best to contact the hotel for exact numbers on the amount of people a room can hold.

The Tiffany Ballroom is adequate and has everything for your event, including a bar, dance floor and buffet facilities. There were about 70 guests at the event and there was plenty of room so a larger could be accommodated. There is no PA for your speeches or screen for any video or slide show presentations, so you might require those service from your  music vendor .

I found the staff friendly and attentive. They looked after the guests and this DJ in Vancouver very well.

The Hilton Vancouver Metrotown is a nicely appointed venue to host your wedding or event. With the location being close to Metrotown and an attached mall to the hotel, there is lots to do for your guests should they come early to your event or if there is a break between your wedding ceremony and wedding reception.

However, small driveway to the entrance and lack of cover form the weather could make it difficult for the guests entering. But other than the venue is perfectly fine for hosting a small to medium sized event. I give The Hilton Metrotown 4 out of 5 stars.

Venue review Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts

Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts

Most people know that the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts is an award-winning culinary school, but are not aware that it is also a nice venue to host your wedding or events. Situated at the entrance to Granville Island, the venue has lots of things for your guests to do and looks out over the water.
Although the entrance into the venue is flat and easily maneuverable for your mobility challenged guests or for your vendors to load in equipment or to decor, parking is a bit far away. Parking is free in the next building over, which is very nice to have when it comes to Granville Island. Parking is limited though and the walk from the parking lot to the culinary arts building entrance is long enough to be difficult for mobility challenged guests to walk to. You will defiantly need an umbrella in the rain. There is also not a convenient spot to drop off guests that is close to the entrance.

There is little bistro off to the left with the main entrance to the right. Inside the main entrance, there is a fully stocked bar to the left. The room is long and bit narrow. There is still room to set up two rows of tables and guests will still have the room to move around. There are different configurations as to how the room can be set up. There can be full seating with dinner tables or tall cocktail stand up tables as well as other configurations.

Your DJ or entertainment is often set up at the back of the room. This DJ in Vancouver  would highly recommend along the far back end of the wall so that the main speakers are pointed down the length of the room. This may be difficult however as there is a long cabinet there and the staff seem to need to access it during the evening. That is something difficult for them to do when a DJ table and set up is on that spot. Often the DJ is set up along the side wall which means the speakers are aimed at the width of the room and not the length.

If it is important to your function to have music or speeches heard throughout the venue, say cocktail or dinner music for example, it would be best to arrange to have your entertainment provide extra speakers in the middle or the back area of the room that is away from where the DJ is setup. A wireless speaker setup would work but of course, would be an extra expense.

Being a culinary school, you can expect the food to be delicious. The staff are very adept at making delicious, eye pleasing food and drinks. I am sure they would be great at making custom orders as well, including wedding cakes.

The staff are also quite attentive to the guests as well as you vendors. They are friendly, efficient and quite helpful. Many of them are students at the school and the events are a great way for them to gain expertise in the industry.

Another positive feature of this venue is that there does not seem to be an adversity to overtime. Since the whole building is part of the school, there are no restrictions on the volume of the music and the manager seems to be fine with later extended times at the venue. As a Vancouver DJ, I have seen this  be a problem at many other Vancouver venues. Especially restaurants or venues that are close or attached to apartment buildings or in residential areas.

Overall, the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts has a lot of perks like great food and drink, nice décor, very little noise and minimal party time restrictions as well as being down by Granville Island near the water. Still, difficulty of getting music throughout the room, parking distance from the building and lack of drop off area close to the building motivate me to give this venue 4.3 out of 5 stars.

Starlight Casino Venue Review

Starlight Casino Venue Review

The Starlight Casino is actually an overlooked venue to host events and weddings. At first thought it might not seem appealing to hold your event or wedding at a casino, but there are a number of services and facilities at this venue to add a lot of perks to your function.

There is plenty of parking for your guests. Parking both upstairs and in the covered underground parking is free and the underground parking with access into the casino is nice to have on those rainy Vancouver days.


Entrance into the starlight is quite easy for your mobility challenged guests. Upstairs, which is outdoors, is all a flat terrain form the parking lot to the casino. The downstairs entrance does bring you to stairs but there is an escalator to get you and your guests to the main level. With elevators to all the floors, access is easy for everyone. This was particularly appealing to this Vancouver DJ.

The venue does have a number of event rooms on the upper floors for smaller and medium sized events. Larger events can be at the Kirin restaurant next door and many Asian events are held there.

The Red bar lounge in the Starlight is often the scene of many musical events. It has a great stage for your live band. As a DJ in Vancouver, I like the professional PA system that is used by many of the wonderful bands in and out of Vancouver. It is fairly straightforward to have your entertainment plug into the house system and screens. The big screens on each side of the stage are wonderful for showing videos, slide shows or even for karaoke lyrics if you are having a karaoke event. With the large dance floor and the bar a few steps up from the recessed dance are, this section is ideal for hosting an event of 200 or more. The lounge has stage lighting and no lighting projected on the dance floors if you are having a DJ, You might like them to bring some dance floor lighting.

The staff at the Starlight casino are quite friendly. They seem to take care of the guests quickly. I was never served at the venue so I can’t be completely sure of the how efficient the service is.

The Starlight casino is a unique venue to hold an event or wedding. With its’ very nice PA system, big screens and stage lighting, Red Bar lounge is ideal for a musical or award style event. The Kirin restaurant works very well for weddings as well as the smaller event rooms while the underground free parking will allow your guest to enter the premises in comfort. I give the Starlight Casino 4 out of 5 stars

Venue Review of Swaneset

Swaneset Bay Resort and Country Club Venue Review

Swaneset is a lovely venue tucked away in the countryside of Pitt meadows. The impressive stone clubhouse lends itself to a chateau style ambiance that does have a bit of a fairy tale type feel. Perfect for weddings.

The venue is easily and hour and thirty minutes from downtown Vancouver but of course is closer if you are coming form Burnaby, New Westminster, etc. The drive is actually quite nice on a sunny and in the summer, the greenery of the forest and fields is quite enjoyable.

Ass you drive into Swaneset, you will pass the parking area on the way to the huge clubhouse. The clubhouse is well covered for rain or shine so that you can let your family or guests off at the main entrance. It is also well lit and flat so there are no obstacles for your mobility challenged guests.

After dropping off passengers at he front entrance, vehicles must be parked in the parking area. The parking area is quite large and It is a few minutes walk from the entrance to the clubhouse. In sunny weather, the walk back to the club house is pleasant but when it is raining, you will need your umbrella or raincoat.

Upon entering the venue, you will notice the lovely curved stairway. This is a popular spot to take a photo opportunity. The stairway leads up to the third floor of the grand ballroom. There is also an elevator to all floors.

The grand ballroom is quite large and this is where the majority of events are held. The first thing that stands out about this room are the long beautiful windows. They allow a lot of natural light into the room and the sunsets that stream through them are impressive. In the summer, the large windows can make the room heat up. So until the air conditioning kicks in, it can be rather warm in the room.

The room is very long with the bar area far away form the dance floor and where the DJ setup is. The guest tables can often stretch down to this area. Because the room is long and guests can be seated quite far away from the DJ station, this Vancouver DJ feels you may want to consider having your DJ add extra speakers in that area so that guests may hear the cocktail and dinner music.

There is also an odd right hand corner with a rather large room to the right of the DJ station. The speakers at the DJ station are face foreword and those sitting around the corner in the room will not hear the cocktail and dinner music. Here again extra speakers may be needed.

Now, they do have a microphone for speeches and a decent in house system that covers the whole room. I think the house system would work for low level music. One option may be to ask the DJ patch into the house system for the cocktail and dinner hour music.

Swaneset has a number of outdoor options for the wedding ceremony. However, the wedding ceremony is often performed in the same room as the reception during the winter months or rainy weather in the summer. The venue fits very well into the ceremony and often those large windows I referred to earlier are often highlighted. You have to schedule time for the room the changed over after the the ceremony. This can be a bit challenging as after the ceremony guests are ushered behind a divider in the bar area while the staff. reposition the table and chairs for the reception. The only difficulty is that the guests tend to wander out of their divided area to sit at the tables as they are being set up by the staff. This makes it very hard for the staff to work and can be quite chaotic. If doing the wedding ceremony in the main ballroom during inclement weather, it might be a good idea to find something guests can do in another room during the changeover.

The staff at the venue are friendly and their manager was very helpful. Even though they were very busy changing over the room the staff was kind enough get me glass of water and ensure that I had dinner later in the evening. They were also patient, kind and efficient with the guests as well.

Swanest is a classy nicely sized venue for a large number of guests. The grounds are exceptional and the venue has lots of character for any type event. Being that the venue is a bit more into the country side, I have heard pricing is not bad. If this is the case, it this DJ in Vancouver feels it makes Swaneset all the more sweeter.

Roma Hall Venue Review

Roma Hall in Queensborough,  New Westminster has been around for years. This a nice family friendly venue that, contrary to a bit of a drab brick exterior, is actually quite nice inside with room from a small to medium sized event.

There is plenty of parking and the fact that it is free is a nice bonus for this DJ in Vancouver. I am not sure if there is overnight parking but there is a gate that does secure he parking lot after an event. There are also designated parking spots close to the entrance of the hall for disabled guests.

The entrance to the hall is level with no stairs. It is wide enough to back a van up the door  to unload anything you need to bring into the hall and for your vendors to roll equipment in on a cart. There are double opening doors for wide loads.  Along with the level entrance, the doors make it very convenient for any mobility challenged guests to access the hall.   

Trattoria Hall Venue Review

Trattoria Hall, at the Italian Cultural Center is one of the venues at the center that is smaller but has everything you need for a small to medium sized event. As a matter of fact, it was this venue that Biff Naked used when I provided DJ service for her wedding a few years ago. Beth & Steve wedding

The Italian Cultural Center has plenty of free parking, even when there are multiple functions going on in the main hall. This always makes things easier for guests and your vendors as well as on yourself. It is one less thing to do as you don’t have to spend time getting parking passes for anyone.

The entrance to Trattoria Hall is a bit of a walk from the large parking lot. not so bad in nice weather but you definitely would need an umbrella if the weather is wet. However, there are no stairs to climb and the level surface to the venue and entrance make it very easy for any mobility challenged guests and wheelchairs to access. Also easy for your Vancouver DJ to load their equipment in on a cart. any time you have a venue that has free parking and easy access for your vendors, they are able to keep pricing lower than of they have to pay for parking or load equipment up stairs. Inside the venue, there is also easy level access to the washrooms.

At the entrance to the venue there was an interesting display. I am not sure what the significance was but it was quite interesting and a great conversation starter for your guests.

Just inside the entrance and near to the bar is where the buffet dinner normally takes place. I think this works well as the DJ is at the other end of the room and the music will not be prominent when you are trying the be heard while ordering a drink for the bar or speaking with your friends, family or colleagues at the buffet line.

The room does have a projector and screen for showing your video presentation. I liked the clean, organized that they had for plugging your computer to video equipment into that gave you easy access to their video setup as well. They had all of the standard connections VGA, HDMI, RCA and audio plug ins to use their in ceiling speakers. They also have a microphone or your speeches. As usual, this is great for speeches or the audio track of your video or slide presentation. The in ceiling speakers would not work for louder full sounding dance music.

Although there is no coat room, there is a coat rack to the right of the entrance. The coat rack is hidden around the corner and so is not in plain view. it is not secure to leave valuables but is a convenient spot for guests to leave their coats so as not to have them draped over the back of their chair. 


The staff are well trained and go about serving the guests efficiently. They are cordial but not friendly. The event coordinator was not concerned about the music setup or convenience as she piled up a rug and pushed the podium on the side of the DJ table where guests would come to write down their music requests for the dancing portion of the evening. This could have resulted in a guest tripping over the piled up carpet, so this DJ in Vancouver was bit concerned about that.

 Trattoria Hall, at the Italian Cultural Center is an adequate venue and has the advantage of free parking and easy access for your wheel chair bound and older guests. They have all the bases covered for a small or medium sized event and easy, neat plug ins for your video presentation. However, I found the staff not very friendly. I give this venue 4 out of 5 stars.      

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DJ Gary, based in Vancouver, BC, has been in the music business internationally for over 20 years as a live performer and event DJ. He formed his company, DJ Boogie Shoes & Karaoke Services, in 2007. Having performed at thousands of weddings and events and committed to creating a fun, interactive, and flexible atmosphere for all his happy clients and guests, DJ Boogie Shoes can provide everything needed to enhance your events and entertain your guests.

(604) 816-7727

DJ Boogie Shoes
571 West 57th Ave
Vancouver, BC  V6P 1R8



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