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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Lost landmarks of the skyscraper era
9 December 2010
Vancouver Sun

Why did they stop building sky-high restaurants and bars?

The novelty wore off as more and more highrise towers were built in Vancouver. There was an explosion of good restaurants all over the Lower Mainland. And economically, dedicating the top floor to a restaurant didn't make much sense when you could sell the space as condos.

"The underlying reason for the deleting of the 'top of' venues is the inefficiencies of taking up usable space on every floor for a single-use elevator that operates to serve the 'roof' outside of office hours or apart from hotel guests," notes realtor Bob Rennie.

That said, many of the penthouse hot spots are still there, and could be converted back if the owners saw fit.

Here are some of the lost venues. All are in Vancouver unless noted.

- The Panorama Roof, Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, 900 West Georgia. The Panorama Roof was the coolest spot in town for decades, with a fab view up Burrard from its 15th-floor perch. It's been dwarfed by surrounding skyscrapers, but you still get a great view from the three-metre (10-foot) high windows in the room, which is now used for banquets and meetings. It was opened when the hotel did in 1939 and was closed in 1996. Big band legend Dal Richards had a house gig at the Roof from 1940 to 1965, and says there were plans to reopen it a couple of years ago, but they were put aside when the recession hit. So when he plays his 66th consecutive New Year's Eve show Dec. 31, it will be at the River Rock Casino in Richmond, not the Panorama Roof.

- The Top of the Towers, Georgian Towers, 1450 West Georgia. The Georgian Towers has an unusual history: the 22-storey building was built as apartments in 1956, converted to a hotel in 1958, then converted back to apartments in 1976. In 1961, local fixtures Frank Bernard and Frank Baker spent $200,000 converting what had been a deluxe penthouse pad into a nightspot. It was a huge hit when it opened, but was converted back to apartments in 1976. The 162-unit modern building was designed by one of Vancouver's most storied architectural firms, Sharp Thompson Berwick Pratt.

- Dine in the Sky, Sylvia Hotel, 1154 Gilford. Like the Georgian Towers, the Sylvia was built as apartments (its original name was Sylvia Court), then converted to a hotel. Unlike the Georgian Towers, the eight-storey building has remained a hotel. For decades it was the tallest building on the West End waterfront -- when it was built, Beach Avenue was mostly houses. The owners cashed in on the height by opening a top-floor restaurant that allowed customers to "dine in the sky," a slogan etched in neon on the eastern side of the hotel. It opened after the apartments became a hotel in 1935 and closed in 1967. The old restaurant is now two very large rooms, numbers 801 and 802.

- The Treehouse/Humphrey's, Coast Plaza Hotel, 1763 Comox. Back when the Coast Plaza was the Denman Place, it had a 35th floor restaurant with views to die for, as well as the acclaimed Three Greenhorns restaurant down below. Now it is banquet rooms. The building went up in 1969.

- The Top of the Horizon, Blue Horizon Hotel, 1225 Robson. Morris Wosk installed a cool restaurant on the top floor of his blue-tiled Robsonstrasse landmark when it was built in 1967. It was converted to banquet rooms in 1985.

- The Odyssey, Hyatt Regency, 655 Burrard. The Hyatt opened in 1973 with a 34th-storey perch that offered customers a birds eye view of downtown. It is now banquet rooms.

- The Hudson's Bay store, 674 Granville. Believe it or not, on the top floor of the Bay store they used to have Saturday afternoon dances with big bands in the 1930s. You can still see the dance floor in the appliance department, underneath a skylight. It didn't have a view, though, it was just part of the Bay's restaurant.

- Royal Towers, 140 Sixth Street, New Westminster. The Royal Towers in New West used to have a top-floor restaurant and bar, but it's been converted to rooms.

- The Roof Garden at the second Hotel Vancouver, Georgia and Granville. In the 1930s they held "tea dances" on the open-air roof of the old Hotel Vancouver, a stunning 15 building that was built in tiers. It was constructed between 1912 and 1916 and was torn down in 1949.
 

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We have a few in Toronto; Canoe (Toronto Dominion Tower), Tula (Harbourfront Castle Hotel), Library Bar (Park Hyatt), Panorama Lounge (Manulife Building), CN Tower restaurant, and a bar on top of the Grand Hotel, but by and large the situation is similar here- most top floors are no longer used for restaurant/bars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Plans scrapped for eatery atop ground zero skyscraper; director says it would be 'money-loser'
8 March 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - Plans have been scrapped for a restaurant with panoramic views of New York City atop a skyscraper going up at ground zero.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says there won't be a new Windows on the World-type restaurant at 1 World Trade Center. That dining institution sat atop one of the original twin towers until it was destroyed in the 9/11 attacks.

Executive Director Chris Ward tells the New York Post: "These things are always money-losers."

He says the authority, which owns the trade center site, was committed to finding the best and most practical use for the space.

Ward told the Daily News: "We don't build vanity projects at the top of tall buildings."
 

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A new Restaurant is being built in the old Rialto Observation Deck Melbourne. This was the highest Deck in Australia till the Eureka Tower took over so they decided a classy restaurant would be a good replacement. I don't have details here but it will be one of the premier restaurants of Melbourne...A city with many good restaurants already. With great respect to New York and the new WTC I wonder if a new 'Windows on the World' Restaurant with it's iconic location atmosphere that conversation would always come around to Sept 11.......might put people off suggesting it as restaurant to go to.....?


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What a lovely shot of Melbourne, certainly a place to dine and view :)
Ironic then that most of Hong Kong's best (non-Chinese) restaurants actually don't have a view!

With the exception of Petrus, if a restaurant in Hong Kong has a gorgeous view, you can guarantee either poor service or poor food and all in all a complete rip off. Makes for a great atmosphere though I suppose.

That Shanghai IFC is gorgeous.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Of course it's still going to be popular. Look at those Shanghai pics and tell me that's not one of the best settings for a restaurant you've ever seen...
Shanghai probably bucks the trend on this theme, as there are plenty of choices. IFC's roof bar looks quite nice, but there are also plenty of restaurants with decent views on the other side of the river.
 
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