Close Window
Joe's Cafe

Joe's Cafe. 'On the Drive' Est.1976. Proprietor Jose Antunes, a teenaged bullfighter in the arenas of Lisbon, Portugal, acquiring 47-stitch and 18-stitch wounds of courage, immigrates to Canada in 1959. After a workingman's stint wielding a welding rod and a flash mask in the north, Joe dusts off his bullfighting cape, arena posters, motorcade Photo of Franco and assorted momentos, and opens up'Continental Billiards and Toureiro Café'Joe's Cafe, in 1976. Matador Joe's Old-World atmosphere of black velvet paintings, bullrings and parlourman swagger, ironically becomes a kind of church-of-the-left-bank colony on the Eastside. A cultural cross-cut rendezvous for radicals, intellectuals, wobblies, artists, urbane beatniks, drifters, lesbians, activists and all the casual crossovers who cluster and congregate for nearly a quarter century. Edgepoint. Margin dwellers. A stirring of social bloods. It's a class ditch'up against the wall at Joe's. Simply called 'Joe's Front Beach. Rebel pow-wows assemble as a rite each spring to drum-fest at the wall. 'It was a real live jumping place.' As a social statement: the graffiti-wall'at one time has the authenticity of collected markings and spontaneous voice of significant expression. An original public dream. Those days of the telling wall of word and image'the colour-talk of naked urges at Joe's is gone. Today, an ever changing core of hanging-at-Joe's addicts. First nations and third-world savvy. There is still that running of the bulls anxiousness in the air. An open-door corner where birds fly through, altering time. Forever a Vancouver hallowed haunt.