Sunday, March 04, 2007

Woman Seeking Bar - must like cheap drunks

Hi, my name is Wanderlusting and I am seeking a bar/pub in the Vancouver area that fill my weekends with glee and my wallet with only the faintest twinges of remorse.

I'm sorta new to the city. Well, actually I have lived here my whole life, except for stints at Universities in Kamloops (4 hours north) and Auckland (24 hours south).

But, I've only been living smack downtown for 8 months or so and am having difficulties finding the right bar for me. You would think that living in the action, surrounded by all these young, nubile, successful people would bring forth lots of opportunities to find the ideal pub, but that hasn't happened yet.

Some say I am too picky, but I don't think there is anything wrong with that. After all, these are my standards and there must be some alcohol establishment out there that seems made just for me.

I've gone and checked out a lot of bars in the area, each promising to be something different, but instead they all seem to run into some grey blurry haze of expensive cosmos, slutty chicks, aggresive older men and horrible music. These bars aren't anything special, so I don't understand why they get so much attention. I guess they give people what they are looking for, an easy time to get wasted.

But I expect more from a bar/pub than to just get me wasted. I can get wasted by myself in my apartment if I wish to. What I want from a bar is fairly simple, I don't understand why finding the perfect one is so difficult in a city like Vancouver. So, what do I want?

*A bar/pub that is hopefully within walking distance - walking distance means no more than a 20-minute drunken stumble home....preferably past a few pizza-by-the-slice places. I might be willing to do a short commute, which then would constitute of no more than a ten dollar cab ride home. Taking the bus is probably out of the question.

*A bar/pub with a great atmosphere. A place where I can be myself and, if after a long day at work, I craved a respite, I could sit at the bar with a book, enjoy the bartender's company and not be disturbed (ie hit on) by other patrons. This same place must also have a fun atmosphere on the weekends, where people come to relax and not get into fights/spill drinks/be sleezy. All fake-tittied, bronzed chicks who give you the up-and-down sneer are not welcome, as are the men who take accidental eye contact as an invitation to feel you up.

*The establishment must have good music. This can cover a whole range of things, but understandably hardcore techno will not work on a quiet Monday and Kenny G is not welcome on a Saturday night - or indeed any night. Jukeboxes are OK in my books but even better is to have a DJ. A small dance area would be magic but I know I might be asking for too much.

*The drinks can't be too expensive but must be good quality. Bartenders that free pour are rated highly, as are the ones who sometimes give free drinks "just because." Inventive drink lists are appreciated, as are a good range of beers on tap - and please don't let them all be from the Granville Island Brewing Company. There are other beers beside the local ones! Also, when you pay top dollar for a fancy martini, I expect it to be filled to the brim - not half way.

*Food is also very important. It doesn't have to be the best quality, but I would like to be able to have a munch or two as the night goes on. Chicken Quesadillas will always win me over. Chicken wings will not.

*There must be no cover. Last bar I went to charged $12 to get in (Ceilas on Granville, do NOT go) and for nothing. It was just a pub and a one that lacked everything on my list.

*There must be no line-up - or I have to be prepared to come early. Again, with Ceilas, which was supposed to be a laid-back Irish bar, there was an hour-long line up. I understand that places that meet all of the above (or close to it) will be popular but standing in line for hours is not cool. There should be enough room for everyone. On that note, the bouncers - if there are any - should leave their attitude inside the bar and not bring it to the door.

*Last, but not least, it should be consistent. I want a place I can go to time and time again and not be dissapointed. I want to see familiar faces, I want to know the bartenders and I want to have a favourite seat. I want to be able to ring up friends and say, wanna go for a drink, and they will know where I usually mean.

Over the last few years, I've courted some places that are OK...but I am not willing to settle.

The Rugby Club is cheap, chic and charming but across the bridge. The same goes for Nevermind and that's even further.

The Cambie is like visiting Amersterdam after a Metallica concert, but you have to be in the mood to sit at a picnic table with high people you don't know and have to be prepared to be in an insane and uneccesary line-up after 9:30PM (still, cheapest beer in Vancouver).

Many of bars in my neighbourhood are great, but since I live in Davie Village, the gay capital of Canada (hence the pink bus stops and garbage cans), I feel sort of left out since I am not a lesbian or a gay man. Many of the bars are quite cool but there is always the feeling that I really don't belong.

The Loose Moose is pretty cool and is Leanne's local (or pretty much so) but you have to get there early to get a seat. On the plus side, they play a lot of AC/DC and the best pizza is next door.

Balthazaar is probably the closest thing to my local, but lately I found it is starting to lack in atmosphere. Not to mention bartenders who act like they hate you.

So, as you can see, I have found a few places that "will do" for now but I'm gonna still keep looking.

And if anyone knows of a place that fits my criteria, or comes close to, please be a good friend and set me up. You never know what may come of it.


Kass said...

I need a place just like you, just as you described it! Hopefully some people respond with some good suggestions..

Actually, there is a place quite close to mine called Toby's. Its pretty big so there is always a seat, the cocktails aren't great but the food and service is. Altho I guess it being close to me isn't really 20 mins stumble home for you lol.

Sophie said...

head over to Miss Lady
Marquise - on my sidelinks -
she lives here and might know
a great bar.

I would love to find one as well!

btw - Davie is so awesome.
My friend used to have a wonderful
old apartment there and
it was just so fantastic!

Indiana said...

I have been thinking of moving from where I live to elsewhere in the city, and I am having the same problem...finding a place within walking distance of a great bar where I can feel at home.

M said...

I can't find a decent place either. I can't stand trendy, hate looking at people wearing next to nothing, have an aversion to glass on the floor (and sticky floors for that matter. eww), have a burning need for good music and somewhere not full of idiots. Is this really so difficult to find?!

Finding a good pub is like finding a good man. You keep hearing they're out there but good luck with the search!

Becslifeonline said...

Good luck with the bar hunt!

The ZenFo Pro said...

Oh cool. What a wonderful post. See, living in a college town on librarian pay, ha, I know the cheap drink tricks well. I had to relearn the whole tricks of the trade, like why its important to tip well (bartenders who like you hook you up) and why its important to find a bar where the atmosphere fits one's personality.

Again, great post. Swinging by from Steph's blog.

Mitch said...

I know it's across the bridge, but Hell's Kitchen, or Room 18 in Kits aren't too bad. Then there's the classics including the Regal Beagle. But again, it's on the other side of the bridge in my neighbourhood.

Downtown??? Relish is a pretty good place with decent drinks in their lounge - I was in Relish this weekend, and it was pretty good.

And other than that, I can't think of too many palces.

Adjil said...

Hey - How does cheap drinks mesh with your cardio bootcamp????


Can't help you so much on the V'couver bar scene - every time I go there I remember very very little...

Karinaxoxo said...

You know how you are trying to see the better side of your town - you should do what me and my mates have just started doing in Sydney - that is going on touristy type things. So we've done/are planning to do tours are Sydney, Harbour Cruise, Bridge Walk, Art Gallery tour etc... because you usually dont see your own tour how outsiders see it.
Good luck with the pub search tho. Why not open your own pub lol.

arbyn said...

you've really thought this through...

Phil said...

I have no local in Brisbane and I'm very sad. I did find a lovely pub but it's near my parents farm and a two drive away. Sigh.

Steph said...

Yes, yes, yes!! When you find it, email me, and I'll friggin move there too.

My favourite bar just happens to be in bloody Melbourne. Quite a bit more than a drunken stumble home unfortunately.

simon said...

My favorite pub is the St Albans pub near Wisemans Ferry (for you sydneysiders).. Sadly its a drive to get there.
But the atmosphere is great and they have their own brew!

paris parfait said...

Hope you find the right place!

Wanderlusting said...

I know some people don't respond to comments and that's cool...some don't even get it. But I like to, so I apologize for responding to my previous Paris posts a bit late. Meh.

Kass - Hmmm, will we be going to this place for your bday? Actually, Commercial ain't toooooo far. Just a 15 min walk to the skytrain station and then a 10 minute skytrain ride.

Sophie- Thanks Sophie, but Lady Miss appears to be on hiatus. Would love to know what she thinks though, we are quite similar in tastes. And you are right, Davie is awesome!

Indy - It's an important thing that most people don't consider when they move. Or it may mean we are lushes. Either way.

M - And good luck with yours! I tell myself they are out there.

Becs - Thanks. I bet in Wales you don't have any such problems!

Zenfo - Welcome! Very true about the bartenders, as well as fitting personality. That is where the problem arises, since I am in such a superficial city.

Mitch - Relish, you say? I'll have to check that out. Problem is I love SOOO many bars in Kits, like Lous, Nevermind, Tatlows, etc...but it's just too far to be a local. BOOOOOOO!

Adjil - It means that I am drinking wine at home...but hey, I deserve a glass after hard work at cardio, right? RIGHT?

Karina - Awww, fun! Even I never did the harbour bridge, I bet you were the only Sydneysiders. My own pub? Hmmmm.

Arbyn - This is what I think about when I am sweating it out at bootcamp.

Phil - Sigh is right.

Steph - You seem to be in the same predicament as Phil. Perhaps the one near his parent's farm is closer than Melbourne?

Simon - Sadly, that commute is too long for me.

Parfait - Me too! Will keep you posted if I do.

halfmanhalfbeer said...

Wander Lust: at my age all I look for is a place where the lights aren't too bright, the music isn't too loud and (fingers crossed) where it isn't too smoky!

Good luck with your hunt.


lady miss marquise said...

Great bars in Vancouver are few and far in between, and I do tend to avoid most of Granville Street altogether. There are however a few exceptions...
I like Whineo's on Granville for a Friday night wind down. It's laid back, casual, and with a decent wine list. Plus they have some great cocktails and the servers are fantastic.
And my local is the Morrissey, but it seems to be hit and miss these days. I like the atmosphere, there's usually very little attitude. Johnny Fox's is good on a Sunday night when there's less people. But I'd love to see less attitude and better bars. There's a market definitely.
What about the Denman Free House? And there's another one just down the road, I haven't tried it out but I run past it and it looks cool... sort of bar / restaurant thing.

Other than that, it's a tough call. Salt in Blood Alley has been heavily recommended, as has the Alibi Rooms. I've yet to get to either. I tried the Hennesey last weekend, but wasn't that impressed. Five Point on Main is great, as is the Brickhouse. I find it also depends on your crowd. Sometimes I will find myself at the Columbia dancing to sweaty hip hop with some out of towners, other times flirting with some cute Brit at Doolin's.
But sadly all but Doolin's is stumbling distance home!

lady miss marquise said...

Oh and for a little upscale glamour, try before it gets too Yaletown... Sanafir. It's one of my favourite restaurants or a Friday cocktails place.
Also Lucy Mae Brown's... start the night off and depart right before it gets crowded and raucous...

Hope this helps!

Wanderlusting said...

Thanks so much, Lady Miss!

I did like Freehouse, especially since they have my Scotsman's favourite beer, Tennants, on tap. But they were a bit pricey...meh.

And I have heard lots of good things about Lucy Mae Browns too! I have to check that out.

It's the attitude in the city that gets to me, I don't like all the phonyness.

But anyway, I will give a few of your suggestions a try. You never know, eh?