Tim Siebert, one half of the partnership behind Citrus & Cane, says opening the Douglas Street cocktail lounge during a pandemic had challenges, but the bar is ready to adapt to whatever comes next. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Tim Siebert, one half of the partnership behind Citrus & Cane, says opening the Douglas Street cocktail lounge during a pandemic had challenges, but the bar is ready to adapt to whatever comes next. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

New Victoria tropical cocktail lounge designed with COVID-19 safety in mind

Citrus & Cane opens in site of former Copper Owl after eight-month delay

While some downtown Victoria bars and restaurants are closing as a result of COVID-19, at least one vintage venue is opening its doors.

Citrus & Cane officially opened Nov. 19, roughly eight months behind schedule due to the virus. COVID-19 restrictions have forced thousands of B.C. businesses to close, including the temporary and permanent closure of several Victoria restaurants and bars. The latest restrictions prohibit alcohol sales after 10 p.m. and limit indoor capacity.

The upstairs lounge at 1900 Douglas St. was the site of thousands of live music shows as the Copper Owl before new owners Tim Siebert and partner Jessa Gildersleeve took over in January, prepared to make their tropical, Tiki bar-inspired vision a reality.

“We were kind of designing and building this room during the pandemic, right. So we kind of had a lot of that stuff in mind. It definitely changed some of our design ideas,” Siebert says. The space had a pre-COVID-19 capacity of 120 people, but opened Thursday evening with 54 seats.

“For any cocktail bar in the world, 54 seats is a great number. We’re very optimistic about it. And if we face another shutdown or new restrictions, we will adapt and evolve and do what we need to do.”

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Victoria’s service industry hit hard by pandemic layoffs

“The pandemic, weirdly, allowed us to slow down,” Siebert added. “It allowed our vision for the space to evolve more organically rather than kind of imposing our preconceived ideas on the space and we definitely, I believe, ended up with a much better product in the end.”

Now pink velvet, rattan chairs and tropical plants fill the space. Globe lights, teak and a vivacious mural of Pacific birds create a cheery mid-century esthetic in stark contrast with the grey November drizzle falling on masked passersby. The duo focused on retaining the bones of the space, including the art deco details installed in the ’70s.

“My fascination with Tiki is mostly driven around the idea of escapism, and that ability to walk into a room and forget everything that happens outside that door,” Siebert says. “For us, we kind of saw that opportunity with this room and it’s something that we really wanted to drive home.”

You won’t find any Tiki idols in Citrus & Cane – Siebert says that the venture is inspired by the tropics and bars of the past but mindful of appropriating Polynesian cultures. The focus is on fun, connection and safety.

“The biggest thing for us is we want to provide a safe space. And that’s always been paramount to us…we’ve managed to do it without putting a bunch of Plexiglas around the room. But the room is sanitary. It’s clean. It’s comfortable,” he said.

“We’re stoked to open the doors and just bring people in for a bunch of pina coladas and chill out and have some fun.”

READ ALSO: B.C. to shut down nightclubs, banquet halls; limit late-night alcohol sales at bar


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: nina.grossman@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

City of VictoriaEntertainmentRestaurantsVictoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Firefighters respond to a fire on Heatherly Road in Colwood Jan. 19. (Photo courtesy of View Royal Fire Rescue)
December and January, so far, have seen their share of rain. (Black Press Media file photo)
Potential for snow in Greater Victoria after unusually wet December, January

Winter is on the way, says Environment and Climate Change Canada

Local MP Elizabeth May says the federal government needs to revise its rules around allowing freighters to anchor in and around the Gulf Islands. (Black Press Media File)
MP Elizabeth May promises to press new transportation minister on issues important to Vancouver Island

Key issues include anchoring freightes, southern resident killer whales and fate of local bus line

Victoria police say the number of business break and enters in the city has been rising for the last four months. (Twitter/VicPD)
Business break and enters on the rise in Victoria

Sophisticated techniques used to defeat alarm systems, police say

Stair care in Colwood
Colwood Coun. Michael Baxter says Latoria Creek Park is now more enjoyable and safe to take a stroll through due to the latest upgrades completed on the staircase. Four long sets of nature stairs now include slip-proof metal steps. The elevated staircase also allows for better air flow to slow the rotting process, and metal handrails to prevent splinters. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Colwood unveils massive upgrade to popular park staircase

Upgrades include slip-proof metal steps, metal handrails and raised design

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Health-care workers wait in line at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians who have had COVID-19 should still get the vaccine, experts say

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were found to have a 95 per cent efficacy

An empty Peel and Sainte-Catherine street is shown in Montreal, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Poll finds strong support for COVID-19 curfews despite doubts about effectiveness

The poll suggests 59 per cent remain somewhat or very afraid of contracting COVID-19

Egg producers in B.C. aren’t obligated to reveal their production sites. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Officials say there’s not enough Vancouver Island eggs to meet demand

BC Egg Marketing Board doesn’t regulate labelling, supply needed from off-Island

A Courtenay resident labours to remove the snow build-up from around her car in February 2019. The area may see snow throughout the coming weekend. Black Press file photo
Snow, winter might not be done with Vancouver Island quite yet

Flurries, snow and cold temps predicted for the weekend for mid-Island

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Most Read