Apr 2012 1

Best Places to Watch Hockey in Vancouver

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“The bars that are the most crowded during the game are the best.” A myth or a golden rule? We present you with a selection of the finest places to watch hockey in Vancouver. Go and see for yourself. If you’re looking for a quiet night out, you’d better avoid bars on game day. Boisterous crowds chanting, screaming, crying, and laughing with their eyes on the TV screen at their favourite establishment: nothing can be compared to the unique atmosphere of these evenings everyone in Canada gets to experience, and Vancouverites are, of course, no exception. Young and elderly all come together. Canucks fever is evident no matter where you go, as everyone has their own creative way to cheer for the Canucks. But it’s not only the Canucks that play hockey in Vancouver; we mustn’t forget about all the other teams like the Vancouver Giants and the many small teams training the future stars of Canadian and world hockey. But for now, Go Canucks!

black frog eateryBlack Frog Eatery

Black Frog Eatery (Map)

Website: www.theblackfrog.ca
Phone: (604) 602-0527

First of all, food and drinks. The menu and food are pretty much a checklist for standard Vancouver pub fare. However, if you’re willing to spend a little bit more time examining the menu, you’ll be surprised to find a lot of vegetarian options on the list. The cuisine is not too creative, but what’s important is that all the meals are prepared carefully and it really shows. The serving size is perfect — not too filling yet not too small.

The place has quite a selection of beers on tap. They’re one of few bars in Vancouver that stock a beer from Wisconsin that’s different than any other usually served in the city. Definitely worth tasting. For those who can’t consume wheat, they also offer gluten-free beer, which is very impressive.

The space just feels great. Since they have mostly big tables, it’s best to come and hang out with your friends and you won’t have to squeeze ten people to a small table like in most places. As to the TV, which is obviously very important for a match, they have a giant one with a nice couch right in front. A suggestion: come half an hour early and it’s going to be all yours for the rest of the evening. The Frog also has bleachers. Yes, that’s right, the feeling of the place with bleachers fitted in for the match is just awesome. The whole layout is great for socializing. They also mute the sound during intermissions so you can discuss the development of the match with your friends. The only downside to this place is that it is also an Edmonton bar, but if you skip nights when the Oilers are playing, it doesn’t spoil a bit of the place’s charm.

St AugustinesSt. Augustine's

St. Augustine’s (Map)

Website: www.staugustinesvancouver.com
Email: (bar manager)
Phone: (604) 569-1911

This is just the place for all beer lovers in Vancouver. Once you see the selection of the beers offered, you’ll be bewildered. With over forty beers regularly on tap, they offer a unique beer experience along with a memorable evening spent watching the game. St. Augustine’s is large inside, so even if you’re running late, you’ll always be able to squeeze in a group of four or more people. As you enter the place, you’ll probably be thinking that you’re entering some kind of monastery, but don’t be fooled: there’s nothing saintly about this place. The service can be slow on busy nights, but you can’t hold that against them because it’s only natural to expect anywhere to have slow service when it’s packed full on a game night. The crowd is good too — not overly loud and obnoxious and just a good atmosphere.

Back to what makes this bar so special: the selection of beers is stellar. They have screens above the bar and all over the pub that show you how much of a specific kind of the beer is left, so you always know when to hurry to save the last precious drop of that night’s favourite beer. If you’re not sure which beer to choose, try a paddle sample with four different beers of your choice. The sizes are pretty generous for beer samples. They have many seasonal, local, and even in-house brewed beers. Last but not least, their nachos are heavenly.

Score on Davie InteriorScore on Davie Interior

Score on Davie (Map)

Website: www.scoreondavie.com
Phone: (604) 562-8526

The interior is very nice, cozy, yet it is not a typical sports bar per se. Seating is very comfortable and design surprisingly modern. Huge TVs provide perfect angle to watch the match, it doesn’t matter where in the room you’re seated. Since the bar is hugely popular in the neighbourhood, and a lot of regulars tend to show up for the match, it is advisable to arrive at least one hour before it starts. In summer, you can enjoy services of friendly, competent and highly efficient servers both inside and on the excellent patio.

The bar also made up a few games to entertain visitors during the match, One of the favourite activities at the bar is the ticktacktoe on Canucks game nights. You get to choose nine players to putting one in each square. If the player gets a goal, assist, or fight, you can X him out. If you cross out all nine of them, you win a free beer.

Score offers also solid menu, with all the traditional suspects on the list, and their menu doesn’t change very much, but at least you always know that you can count on some standard. The place is great for brunch, lunch and dinner, they always have three specials on each day (sporting event, food special and drink special).

The Charlatan InteriorThe Charlatan Interior

The Charlatan (Map)

Website: www.thecharlatanrestaurant.com
Phone: (604) 253-2777

Have you seen Mad Men? This place looks just like it’s been torn out of the series. It has a certain chic atmosphere, yet it’s not even a bit pretentious, with seating that’s conducive to good conversation in a nightlife environment. This is not a place for fans who want a vigorous atmosphere while watching the match; the place is calmer and feels sophisticated in a way. Your experience will be enhanced by the huge projector screen they always pull down for the match.

The food in here is just fantastic, especially the appetizers. The place is a bit pricier than the surrounding bars, but it’s definitely worth it.

The selection of beers to choose from is solid too. You often come across the one that’s not your everyday beer you’d drink in most other pubs. If you’re a Guinness/Kilkenny/Strongbow (not necessarily together) fan, you’ll love this place. There aren’t too many bars in Vancouver that will serve up a proper Black & Tan, but you can add the Charlatan to the list of pubs that do. They do proper Snake Bites, too.

The Five PointThe Five Point Exterior

The Five Point (Map)

Website: www.thefivepoint.com
Phone: (604) 876-5810

This place is the hallmark of a good local. Since its renovation, it looks fabulous. Situated in a beautiful, iconic heritage hall in Mount Pleasant on South Main featuring wood panelling, leather, and crystal chandeliers, it looks very impressive but still feels cozy. The Five Point is quite popular among hockey fans, so you’d better got there early to catch a table. The angle is not a problem since the pub doesn’t just have screens above the bar. They pull down a projector screen before the match starts, so everyone can enjoy the game properly. If you don’t want to be the table too close to the projector for a good view, ask the staff to seat you at one that’s further away. It’s not very pleasant to sit in front of the whole pub staring at the game through your table.

In summer, the Five Point offers a small but very nice patio. Parking is not provided by the pub, but there are always lot of spaces along Main, so you don’t need to worry too much.

The food and drinks are nothing special in general, but they won’t disappoint you either. However, if you decide to go to the Five Point, you absolutely have to try their wings. They make the best wings in the whole of Vancouver.

What are your favourite places where you watch the game with your friends? Share your suggestions and opinions with us. Do you agree with the reviews, or did you have a different experience?

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