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Former China Beach nightclub falls to wrecking ball

Onlookers watch as a demolition crew takes down the former China Beach nightclub, located at 203 Street and Industrial Avenue, on Monday. The nightclub, which operated under many different  names over the years, has been closed for several years. Plans for a luxury condominium complex on the property are presently on hold. - Dan Ferguson/Langley Times
Onlookers watch as a demolition crew takes down the former China Beach nightclub, located at 203 Street and Industrial Avenue, on Monday. The nightclub, which operated under many different names over the years, has been closed for several years. Plans for a luxury condominium complex on the property are presently on hold.
— image credit: Dan Ferguson/Langley Times

If those beer-soaked walls could talk.

A piece of Langley City history is coming down this week, taking with it stories of bar brawls, knife fights and even shots fired at BC Lions players at China Beach Night Club.

The popular nightclub, at the corner of Industrial Avenue and 203 Street, had stood the test of time for more than 25 years until closing its doors for good in 2012.

The building is being demolished upon request of the City of Langley, after it was broken into one too many times by metal thieves and criminals.

“The building was creating some issues for us. We had people trespassing and metals being stolen from it,” said Langley City CAO Francis Cheung. “We’ve been asking the owner for some time to have it demolished so we are glad to see this day come.”

But the nightclub is not being demolished to make way for Langley City’s first highrise, as many hoped would happen after a Calgary developer bought the land and proposed to build a luxury highrise there. Construction of Charleston Place — a 15-storey mixed commercial and condominium development — was supposed to get underway in 2013.

“There is a new owner and we have not heard anything about development on that site,” said Cheung. “We are hoping the owner will come back to the City to let us know if he is going ahead with the original plan or has something else in mind.”

A check of the Charleston Place website reads: “Charleston Place is on hold.” The site was updated in 2014 by P2000 Developments.

The demolition crew taking down the former China Beach nightclub discovered a locked safe on Monday. They used the backhoe to open it and discovered only a few videotapes, apparently recordings of pay-per-view fights.

When China Beach closed down in 2012, they held a garage sale, selling many things from the bar.

But the two-storey nightclub stood empty for more than two years, becoming a target for street level crime.

The nightclub, which carried the names Rock Sugar and Liquid before returning to its former glory as China Beach, was never popular with police who often complained that the club took up their resources, dealing with fights there.

China Beach Night Club has a history.

“I still want to drive the bulldozer to knock down (China Beach),” former mayor Peter Fassbender quipped when the architect Steven Ho came to Langley City council in 2012.

In 2000, after winning the Grey Cup in Calgary, a few BC Lions came to celebrate at China Beach Nightclub. A patron in the bar was harassing the athletes and they left in their limo, said police at the time. The man followed them and shot at them. Luckily, no one was hit.

There have been some bar brawls with more than 50 people involved, which were chaotic for police to handle. There have been knife fights and people run down by vehicles in the parking lot.

On the positive side, several bands and singers who have played there have said it always had a good and appreciative crowd.

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