Remembering Lydia’s Pub: Ominocity’s Favourite Memories

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Lydia’s Pub the latest Saskatoon bar to shut its doors

On Monday, July 29, a sign was posted on the door of Broadway-area venue Lydia’s Pub.

“Lydia’s is closed today.”

Vaguely optimistic, the venue later announced that it was shutting down for good. Lydia’s Pub is no more.

UPDATE:

According to initial news reports, Lydia’s Pub was purchased by a group of Saskatonians including Mitchell Lupichuk and a member of The Sheepdogs and will be moving into the building that is currently housing Tramps music store downtown on 1st Avenue. Hmm…

Now, Lupichuk just updated his Facebook with the following update:

So I guess it’s time for me to say something, Just like all of you I loved Lydia’s and never wanted to see the doors shut. However myself and some partners do have a plan to have a music venue downtown and will hopefully bring some of the spirit from Lydia’s. We hope that the dedicated music fans of Saskatoon and as well musicians will come down and make it fly like Lydia’s once did! Right now though nothing is set in stone and a lot of the news is just hype, “I have not bought Lydias and I do not know the future of the building”.

Regardless of the future, Lydia’s was an important part of Saskatoon’s local music scene. Many up-and-coming musicians got their start at the bar’s Open Mic Night. And the venue hosted events such as Metal Mondays and Tonight It’s Poetry.

The venue has been in decline for some time, but it will sorely be missed by many.

And while the previous owners of Lydia’s Pub have been fairly mum on the subject, in a statement made on Facebook, the venue said “we’d like to be remembered as that place where good times were had.”

Fair enough. So, without further ado, here are Ominocity’s Favourite Memories of Lydia’s Pub.

Tegan & Sara
Tegan and Sara photo courtesy of Crystal Clarke.

Tegan and Sara’s First

In 2001 my then underage girlfriend showed me the video for “The First” and invited me to see a folk duo called Tegan and Sara who were playing an afternoon show at Lydia’s. It was a far stretch from the hardcore and emo I was listening to at the time but I recalled they gave a pretty solid performance on CBC’s Jonovision and agreed to accompany her.

The bar was quiet, relatively empty and void of backing bands and dance beats.

I hear they went on to do big things…

– Ryan Smith

911 turbo
911 Turbo photo courtesy of their Facebook site.

Mein pint glass is more broken than your pint glass

Lydia’s could be a pretty salacious place. During a set from 911 Turbo, a local dance rock group, the front row of the audience decided to start smashing their pint glasses at the front of the stage, leaving behind a layer of broken shards. We all thought it was pretty funny, although I’m quite certain it was not.

At some point a bouncer grabbed me and a friend and threw us out. My girlfriend at the time came out after us.

“What are you guys doing?” she demanded.

“I think we just got bounced,” I admitted.

“Get back in here,” she yelled furiously.

I looked at the bouncer and shrugged. He knew. Nodding, he let me go back inside. My friend wasn’t allowed with me.

– Chris Morin

Slow Down Molasses Lydias

So long, farewell, etc.

As a musician in Saskatoon, I had only played at Lydia’s once. Ironically enough, it was for my Going Away, Leaving Town party. The first one anyway.

Having decided to move to Montreal, the first time anyway, my band Slow Down Molasses was to play a send-off show for me. The idea was that all our friends would come and dance and party and celebrate the fact that I was getting the fuck out of town.

Not surprisingly a whole bunch of people ditched in advance.

Nevertheless we soldiered on, and turned out a great set. The highlight came when we covered The Band’s “The Weight” and suddenly the place was flooded with people stomping and singing along.

Hilariously, I’d eventually move back to the prairies, then back to Montreal, then back here again. But I would never again play at Lydia’s.

– Chris Morin

Rah Rah

Rah Rah gets sticky

I’m fortunate that my last Lydia’s experience was a memorable one. Seeing Rah Rah play to a capacity crowd during MoSoFest put a huge smile on my face and was one of my highlights of the festival.

Balloons were tossed into the audience, a $5 bill shoved into Kristina’s violin as she performed and Lydia’s got so hot and sweaty that the pack of gum I threw in my camera bag melted all over my keys and loose change.

A fitting finale.

– Ryan Smith