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).
At Darband Tea House patrons sip Middle-Eastern teas and coffees and smoke flavoured hookah without inhaling any tobacco, nicotine or tar. Nip at a cup of turkish coffee ($1.95) among Darband's earthy wall coverings and eclectic furniture, or warm over-yodeled larynxes with an assortment of persian teas ($1.95), including green tea, oolong, red tea, and black tea. Hookah smoking combines fruity tastes with the pastime of melancholy caterpillars, and patrons can partake in more than 25 flavours such as strawberry, mint, and watermelon ($9.50/person). Open late and licensed by the Victoria Island Health Authorities, Darband Tea House is the only licensed hookah establishment in Victoria.
The Derby Bar and Grill dishes up fruits from land and sea in the turf-club ambience of an elegant dining house and off-track wagering centre. Whether seated under chandeliers and rows of flat-screen TVs or in cream-coloured chairs in front of the Winners' Circle’s fireplace, patrons browse a menu of gourmet fare to complement their surroundings. Diners trawl for drunken garlic prawns flambéed in Sambuca ($12.75) or nestle into a bed of rice noodles under pad thai’s chicken or shrimp, accented with tamarind and fish sauce ($19.95). Flame-grilled 8-ounce New York peppercorn steak in cognac sauce struts from the kitchen trailing Derby’s garlic-and-cheese bread, seasonal vegetables, and O’Brien or mashed potatoes ($22.95). The Bourbon Blackjack burger blends hearty harmonies of pepper, cheese, and whiskey-mustard sauce ($13.95), and butternut-squash ravioli basks in white-wine-cream sauce ($12.95). All pastas bring along piquant garlic-bread sides, and sandwiches invite fries or house salad to join them with a singing picklegram.
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.