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

Royal Roads University president Philip Steenkamp said they are aware of hateful graffiti spray-painted in an area of the forest surrounding the campus. The graffiti in question includes anti-Semitic content and a racial slur towards Black people. (Facebook/Royal Roads University)
Anti-Semitic, hateful graffiti spotted in forest near Royal Roads University

Royal Roads working with West Shore RCMP to remove graffiti “as soon as possible”

A cougar was spotted at Royal Roads University on Sunday, Jan. 24. The sighting was reported on the western edge of the campus. (File photo)
Cougar spotted at Royal Roads University Sunday afternoon

Animal reported on western side of campus near Colwood Fire Department

Saanich-based St. Luke’s Players community theatre company has been making the most of their opportunities to keep busy during the pandemic, including staging a Christmastime panto of Alice in Wonderland on Zoom. (Courtesy St. Luke’s Players)
Saanich’s St. Luke’s Players: Bringing the stage to the people

Community theatre company holding online auditions Jan. 23-24 for March production

Frank Bourree was awarded the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce’s first Governors’ Award of Distinction for his leadership in the business community. (Courtesy of Frank Bourree)
Frank Bourree receives award of distinction from Victoria chamber

Award recognizes positive role model in business community

The Habitat for Humanity Meaning of Home contest is open to students in Grades 5 to 6. (Screenshot/Habitat for Humanity video)
Habitat for Humanity launches national writing contest

Entries accepted from students in Grades 4 to 6 until Feb. 19

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo mountain with flares during icy rope rescue

Rescuers got injured hiker down Mt. Benson to a waiting ambulance Saturday night

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

Most Read