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Aug 30, 2009 07:29 AM

Vancouver microbreweries with decent food?

I have a friend visiting from the San Jose area, and she'd like to have a couple meals at local microbreweries. She mentioned Steamworks in Gastown, because of the location and view - does anyone know if their food is any good? Granville Island Brewing has gotten a few good mentions from other CHs, so we'll probably have lunch there (although bypassing Go Fish will be tough). Are there any other places worth trying?

Also, I'm sure this is a dumb question, but are minors allowed in pubs? I'm not clear on the rules - for example, minors are allowed at the Thirsty Penguin bar/restaurant at Burnaby 8 Rinks, but not at Stanley's bar/restaurant at the Richmond Ice Centre. What's the rule?


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  1. My wife and I ate at Steamworks after the Vancouver International Wine Festival a few years ago. Food definitely did not impress. The pizzas we ordered were edible, but I can not say too much about the place beyond that.

    Sadly, microbreweries with good food seem to be hard to find. Although it is not a microbrewery, what about the Alibi Room? Nigel, the owner, is an ardent supporter of many BC microbreweries and has an extensive selection of BC beers. I met him at the Victoria beer festival last year, and he seemed like a really neat guy (i.e. he personally drives to the Island to pick up allotments of beer, partly so that he can connect with the brewmasters). I hear the food is decent, too (wasn't there a Vancouver chowdown at this place recently?)

    1. I would go to Dix or Alibi Room over Steamworks or GI. Technically Alibi Room isn't a microbrewery, but they serve Vancouver's best selection of local bc micros on tap and their food is local/ocean friendly/free run. Now, Dix does brewing onsite and their bbq is decent. Since both places are more like restaurants, I don't see why they wouldn't let minors in as long as they're accompanied by adults.

      1 Reply
      1. re: flowbee

        -1 for Steamworks -- meh to downright bad the times I've been (though mostly for apps -- can't really comment on the other food)
        Alibi Room sounds like it might work. I've only been twice but the first time sampled most of the menu. Not going to rock your world but the prices are reasonable and the food is not bog standard pub fare. The bison dip was my favourite both times. Really hard to beat the beer selection as noted above -- kinda like going to a bunch of microbreweries at once :-). The room is quite fun too and Nigel and his staff are welcoming and knowledgeable, making this beer newbie feel right at home.

      2. I'm partial to the Yaletown brewpub (part of the markjamesgroup website) - best place to relax and be seen while you have a family meal, great patio (I think minors allowed in dining area). Food & beers are good.

        However, if you're looking for a GREAT beer - look for Storm beers, available on tap at locations listed on their website:
        They don't have their own restaurant, but the beer is really superb.

        1 Reply
        1. re: morefuuud

          I heard Yaletown Brewery revamped their menu and decor. I haven't been yet... how do you find the change?

        2. Granville Island Brewing is a great choice for local beer. But if you're into food, Steamworks has more choices.

          2 Replies
          1. re: CheapAppetite

            I mean this in the kindest possible way, but Granville Island Brewing isn't really a microbrewery anymore. They only brew their seasonal beers at Granville Island...the rest gets brewed at some place in Kelowna in huge quantities, ready to be sprayed over the Lower Mainland in a deluge of mediocre splooge. IMHO GI beers are only a notch above typical macro beer but with a growing selection of true craft beers available at other places mentioned here, why waste your time drinking in tourist-trap island?

            **In retrospect, I might have been too over-the-top with my reaction to GI. They might technically still be a microbrewery, depending on your definition. And I know lots of people who enjoy their beers and personal taste is very subjective, so take what you will from this post. I feel that since GI is available at so many places throughout the Lower Mainland (it's common to see GI or Okanagan Spring beers filling the role of the microbrew in lesser bars, hotels, restaurants, beer & wine stores) it's a shame to just drink that and not take the extra step to seek out the good stuff. I know I would want that for myself if I went all the way to San Jose... but I'd prefer Portland as an American beer destination ;)

            1. re: flowbee

              I don't think that was over the top at all and I agree 100%.

          2. Have a look at the CAMRA site for a list of craft beer supporters:

            In that list I like The Alibi Room (best selection of brew) and Irish Heater (small selection, but perhaps the best food in that list). They are within a short walk of each other so you can have the best of both worlds - eat at the Heather then walk to the Alibi.

            3 Replies
            1. re: fmed

              The Heather is a great idea, fmed! Maybe even one of their Long Table Series, which would be fun. Can't wait for the suckling pig one (we're booked for early October).

              Irish Heather
              7 Gaoler's Mews, Vancouver, BC V6B4K7, CA

              1. re: grayelf

                Thanks for the replies, guys - you're helping quite a bit. Now I'mt trying to decide between Steamworks and Yaletown Brewery for lunch. We'll have a minor with us, so that limits the choices. But once we become an adult-only party, I'd love to try the Alibi Room, and I'm trying to get a reservation to Irish Heather for the 21st (Sunday is already sold out). I'd been wondering about the Yaletown Brewery - has anyone been recently? Thanks for the heads-up about GI - we might take a miss on that one.

                1. re: KGill

                  If you are going in the daytime with a smaller person, GIsle could be fun to roll in with a trip to Granville Island -- maybe Edible BC, Oyama and Go Fish for the actual food part? I defer to flowbee's assessment but unless things have changed they do offer tasting flights in quite a nice setting, and you can (usually) pick up one of the seasonal brews flowbee mentioned (I like their raspberry wheat ale but I think they will only have the Belgian Blond in Sept). The other option is to take a tour which includes 4 tasters (root beer for the kiddies!) for $9.75 (or $2.50 for the small fry). The tap room is also open to kids because it is not considered a bar and they offer tasters of everything they have on tap -- I forget the cost. Just a thought if you want to avoid the bad food at Steamworks (I've never been a fan of the Mark James restaurant group though Yaletown Brewery used to have decent pizzas IIRC. It's been ages since I went -- parking is vile down there).