By Tina Joslin, owner Oranj Fitness + Femme Fatale
Let’s talk about fun nightlife in Kelowna, it does exist despite popular opinion! When I decided to write a blog for HOK I have no idea what I was thinking. While I absolutely LOVE spreading the Okanagan gospel and supporting other local businesses I have never written a blog, and all my staff will tell you that I likely have the most typos that one person could possibly have in their lifetime. So be kind.
Deciding to choose a topic was also a struggle, I wanted to pick something that I was passionate about, but that hasn’t been overdone. So hopefully you can learn something from me and I can’t wait to read what the other girls have to offer.
THERE IS NOTHING TO DO IN KELOWNA
One of the number one complaints I hear about Kelowna (usually from those big city folk) is that it’s so small and there is NOTHING to do. This has started to drive me bonkers! For a small city, I think that Kelowna is booming with things to do… you just might have to look or know that it’s not a huge concert and there likely won’t be any fancy celebrity sightings. Once you have your expectations in check there is a ton of diverse options for you! Now I only have a limited amount of words to share with you, so I am going to focus on nightlife in Kelowna for this go around, and who knows, maybe I will be back for more fun Kelowna tips later.
SUPPORT OKANAGAN ARTS, GO TO A SHOW
There are many different “shows” you can go to in Kelowna, from dance shows, to musical artists, to spoken word nights, plays etc. and I will only touch on a few of them, but guys, there are sooo many more in this city. Look on local forums, follow these groups on social media, and buy your damn tickets, don’t look for a free ticket or a handout! In order for arts communities to exists we NEED to support them so they can continue to entertain. I know that some people believe that our work isn’t work because we enjoy it, but I am sorry to say that feelings of bliss do not pay the mortgage, or pay for us to continue training in our craft. So buy the tickets, and bring your friends.
Now I am the creator of Femme Fatale Dance + owner of Oranj Fitness in downtown Kelowna, so let’s allow me to get these plugs (but equally great times) out of the way.
I really do have the best job, empowering women to really love, and enjoy their bodies and how they move. This doesn’t come as easy to some as it does for others and these ladies put in the WORK! They show up, dressed up, or not, it’s completely up to them how they show up physically, but we are also always working to empower them in a mental capacity as well. Anyways, I don’t need to tell you this because you will see for yourself when you attend our next production on May 10/11 at Sapphire Nightclub. You will see these women light up as they perform for an extremely supportive audience of 300+ locals each night. Our upcoming show theme is “1 Hit Wonders”, so you know you’re going to enjoy the music as well as the visuals that go along with it, and you’ll be singing along all night.
NOT YOUR TRADITIONAL BURLESQUE
Now, warning, for those of you who cannot read between these single-spaced lines…. We are a sexy, heels dance group. We are not a traditional burlesque group, but our ladies have the option to choose what they wear, and some of it can be scandalous. While it is nothing less than you would see on our beautiful beaches I always like to warn in case you are wanting to bring grandma out to a local dance show because Swan Lake is her favourite ballet. While, we do have a ton of parents, grandparents and other fun individuals that attend the shows I always like to give a warning. So there is one, very entertaining night out, if I do say so myself. Now don’t worry if you are not an avid club goer. We create a cabaret-like experience, there is reserved seating + booths, high top tables, and a ton of standing room. It’s not your average night at Sapphire. Although that is a locally owned establishment, and you can have a blast with the right group of friends if you want to get out and dance! P.s. Hit me up for guest list anytime you’re wanting to venture out on the town and enjoy nightlife in Kelowna.
GET UPDATED ON KELOWNA EVENTS
Now that my show is out of the way I can talk about others. Like I mentioned above, check out local forums, because I am a downtown gal I like the Downtown Kelowna website. It is literally called “what to do” here you can find 2-10 events daily in all different formats from Hip Hop Bingo, to Salsa Thursdays, to Ancestry meet up…. Whatever you are into, you may find it here. The great thing is that when you find something you like chances are that it occurs again, or you are now connected with a community that provides offerings that you are now a part of. Find great nightlife in Kelowna events there.
FOR MUSIC LOVERS
A great local space for you live music lovers is Milkcrate Records. Now I am not sure what they used to do in their old retail space, but now they are my neighbours next door to oranj fitness, and they put on some really cool events. For a storefront that I always assumed just sold records I am learning that they are much more than that! They have live music all the time, some weeks there is literally something happening every night in their intimate space. While usually, their focus is on music, I have heard that they also host spoken word nights, open mic style. Their website has all the details, and if you’re in the area stop in, their staff are super friendly and super passionate about their local music scene. Another great option for nightlife in Kelowna.
If you like intimate live music shows then continue on, there are quite a few sweet little spaces in Kelowna to take in lives tunes. While the smelly washrooms may have turned you off give Fernandos another try! They have killer drinks, IF YOU HAVE NOT TRIED THE #34 MARGARITA YOU HAVE NOT LIVED, also their nachos. Just go, eat and drink and listen to some amazing musical artists. Another great space on Bernard is a local favourite, Doc’s! If you have not been to a show at Doc’s do you really live in Kelowna? While it can feel squishy at first, go with people you don’t mind being close to and embrace it, dance, get a little sweaty and hop out onto their patio to get some fresh air when necessary.
There are a couple other unsuspecting spaces for nightlife in Kelowna that if you are over 28, or under 48 you may not have thought about. Now, I have not been here for years…. Probably about 4 years, but I remember so many good times at the Blue Gator, this was the under 48 space I was talking about. If you have ever walked by there during the day I am sure you are questioning my judgment, but when they have a good rock, or blues band playing and you are with a good group of gals, or guys you can dance for hours, and it is such an eclectic group of people that anything goes. Everyone is dancing and having a good time, and the music is always wicked!
Second up, again maybe unsuspecting if you are over 28, or maybe younger. Sapphire. They bring in some killer talent, plus the club (and now Level) are owned by 2 local dads, each of them has 3 kids, and are legit soccer dads by day and nightclub owners by night. Last year they had Tech 9, Dehli 2 Dublin, Finger 11, I Mother Earth, Akon, and Nelly plus some others that I am forgetting. I went to the Nelly Concert, got a booth and bottle service and had a killer night! It’s not every day that you get to see artists that close up and personal! I went with a bunch of my friends, and their partners and it was one guy’s first concert ever! He was blown away by how fun it was and how close he was to Nelly, haha I had to explain to him that although this was awesome, it is not a normal concert experience. So keep an eye on what those 2 venues are offering in terms of live music coming up and a great option for nightlife in Kelowna.
THEATRE IN THE OKANAGAN
If you want to see really well put together productions there are a ton of local acting companies. I am excited to take in more of these smaller organizations this summer, but I do have a lot of experience taking in Kelowna Actors Studio productions. They are always so well put together and polished. I swear that their version of Chicago was better than when I saw it on Broadway! They put on about 6 major productions a year and I tend to make it to about 2-3 of them. I always leave so full, inspired, and singing the whole way home. The Actors Studio is a dinner theatre, so you can choose to have dinner there, then see a show, and you receive dessert at the intermission, or you can just buy the show tickets. Now these tickets are not cheap, and they shouldn’t be! The amount of work that goes into putting a production of this caliber on is huge! Like I said before. Pay the money, support local talent. I can’t wait to watch their production of the Little Mermaid this summer, make sure you buy your tickets in advance as a lot of their shows sell out.
Like I said these are more things I could add to nightlife in Kelowna, maybe I will follow up with a Sunday Funday blog, or some sort of Fun in the Sun day trip, but for now, I will leave you with this. I hope this turns around your small town with nothing to do attitude of Kelowna if you had one, and if not….. Come to my show on May 10 + 11. I promise good times, if you don’t smile, or laugh I might even give you your money back. 🙂