Ross Bay Pub, a Fairfield public house that takes quality nosh as seriously as it does Canucks games, makes escaping the elements a cozy and tasty affair. Whether the meal wheel lands on dinner, lunch, or Sunday breakfast, the pub’s creatively classic menu has a solid answer for nearly any culinary question. Small plates make big statements with yam fries ($7) and salt-and-pepper pork bites with sea salt, cracked pepper, and preserved-lemon-garlic aioli ($9.25). Your choice of soup, salad, or fries form a loyal entourage for every burger, including the lamb curry burger, a bewitching menagerie of apple marmalade, Okanagan goat cheese, curry mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, and pickle on a toasted pretzel bun ($11.75). As for pub fare, a roast-beef stew made with Angus beef, Race Rocks amber ale, root vegetables, and Yorkshire pudding, may well be the only meal anyone needs till the end of time ($11), though the baked shepherd’s pie may beg to differ ($12).
Darband Tea House ensconces customers in an experience unique to the Victoria area with more than 25 flavours of hookah herb that complement sips of Middle Eastern coffees and teas. The amiable staff dispenses traditional hookah herb and the ornate glass apparatuses used to siphon its water-cooled smoke ($9.50/person), which is free of tobacco, nicotine, and tar. Once guests are set up to comfortably blow Olympic smoke rings, Turkish coffee and Persian teas ($1.95 each) arrive at tables to keep conversations freely flowing. Darband's evening hours let hookah-and-caffeine-fueled conversations stretch late into the night, with the earthy tea room's red walls and weekly live music providing a backdrop for midnight debates on whether the unicorn's horn is truly magical or simply nature's dunce cap.
At turf club The Derby Bar and Grill, chefs prepare a menu of upscale eats as patrons follow live simulcast horse racing. Protein-packed comestibles—including barbecued Chilean pork back ribs ($19.95) and 8-ounce certified Angus beef burgers slathered in whiskey-mustard sauce ($13.95)—energize diners used to only eating apples and carrots from a trough. Fresh seafood dishes also undergo culinary transformations, such as fire-grilled Pacific salmon crowned in mango salsa ($18.95). Stomach growls struggling to sound out the winning thoroughbred's name quiet after bites of the Santa Anita pizza, a 12-inch dough disc adorned in tomatoes, peppers, artichokes, olives, and mushrooms ($13).
Sporting the half-timbered siding and narrow windows of the traditional English Tudor style, the Tudor House Pub provides a nostalgic neighbourhood meeting place for diners and revellers. The kitchen staff concocts traditional English and Scottish recipes, which grace tables alongside dishes with American, Thai, and Japanese influences in an eclectic mélange as multicultural as the contents of the U.N.'s vending machines. Traditional pub snacks sate small appetites, and dishes containing high-profile ingredients such as AAA sirloin beef assuage more persistent hunger pangs. Sports games regularly grace TVs, and the pub's space hosts live DJs on Wednesday and Friday nights, free-for-all karaoke on Thursday, and live bands playing varied musical genres on Saturdays. Tudor House Pub’s adjacent licensed liquor store stocks bottles of spirits and grants discounts to active and retired military members.
Nestled within the Swans Hotel, Swans Brewpub crafts the classic flavours of a traditional darkened tavern in a space awash with light, artwork, and heritage architecture. Here, chefs strive to use hormone-free and locally sourced meats as they lay out feasts of savoury shepherd's pie, steak sandwiches, and pasta as bartenders gild glasses with crisp house brews. A glass-covered dining patio graces meals with a dose of sunshine, and live music from swing and blues bands creates a catchy soundtrack as visitors admire the pub's collection of First Nations carvings and ancient Inuit tap handles.
Professional comedians lob punch lines from the stage during weekly comedy nights at Hecklers Bar and Grill. Deep-fried Mars bars sizzle in the kitchen between chuckles or jeers. Seven big-screen TVs and a full food menu keep customers coming back even when stage lights are dark. Wings headline Wednesday nights with more than 50 sauces and flavourings, and waiters also transport mainstays such as beef or veggie burgers topped with bacon, fried eggs, and other fixings. Monthly amateur comedy nights invite would-be wise guys to test out new jokes and homemade Groucho Marx cigars.
Since filling their first glass with suds more than 30 years ago, the Sandpiper Pub’s affable staff continues to foster a casual atmosphere where White Rock citizens and surrounding communities can congregate for relaxed merrymaking. Out of view of the bustling dining room, Sandpiper’s chefs artfully plate classic British pub fare such as steak-and-kidney pie with homemade gravy and fish 'n' chips assembled in the shape of John Cleese. While the sun makes its daily retreat over the horizon, its brilliant blush spills through the bar’s windows and bathes all in attendance in its golden glow. Amid views of the bay afforded by its location off Marine Drive, a heated, covered patio facilitates scenic alfresco feeds and photo-ops of undercover snowmen masquerading as humans. A weekly calendar of televised sports games and live entertainment—including karaoke on Friday and Saturday nights and weekend DJ-fueled dances—brings customers back to the pub to share in its food and communal vibe.