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.