By Wade Kinley
As Burnaby grows into a big city in its own right, new restaurants and established brands from neighbouring Vancouver alike are flocking to fill the new spaces that are popping up all over. Here are four of the happiest hours that show why Burnaby is worth a mid-afternoon stop.
For over 20 years, The Hop & Vine Taphouse has been one of Burnaby’s hidden gems, tucked into the Greystone Village across from the Burnaby Mountain Golf Course. As the name might suggest, it’s home to one of the largest craft beer selections around with 24 rotating taps. And at happy hour, from 4 to 6 and 10 to 11 PM daily, you can sample one for just $4.25. House wine goes for the same and you can pair your selection with one of their many appetizers, a deal at 25% off. Try the crispy prawns In a light tempura zested with lime ($9), or the poutine that ups the game with the addition of bacon and caramelized balsamic onions ($10.50). Their menu promotes local and sustainable practices whenever possible, so your wallet isn’t the only thing that’ll feel good.
One of Vancouver’s most successful restaurant groups recently moved out to Burnaby to open Trattoria, an upscale-but-casual “Italian-inspired” diner that’s since landed on many must-try lists. And their happy hour (or “cocktail hour” here) is the perfect time to do just that. From 2 to 5 PM every day, all pizzas are $12.95 and select antipasti goes for $9.95. On a recent visit this included Sicilian calamari in a spicy tomato sauce or mussels with fennel sausage and saffron. You can try one their signature pizzas, like the Abruzzo with nduja, olives and smoked scamorza, for $12.95. Five-dollar feature drinks are also on hand to wash it all down.
Perhaps nowhere in Burnaby has seen such rapid development as the Brentwood neighbourhood, and right in the middle of it all is Joey Burnaby and it’s killer happy hour. Each day from 2 to 5 PM and 9 to close, you can settle in to their wide-open-concept dining room, sports lounge, or rooftop patio and dive right in. Two local beers are $3.50, the “minimum price allowed by law,” and wine ranges from $4.63 to $6.13 for a 6 oz pour. You may first want to sip on a Negroni ($5.25) while you peruse the extensive food menu. The gyoza with hot mustard ($6.75) are crispy and chewy, and the Sliders Royale with their secret sauce ($7.13) are perfect little reminders of why cheeseburgers are manna from heaven. Three versions of lettuce wraps ($7.13) are plenty for sharing and the rosemary garlic fries with mustard aioli ($4.50) is an inspired combination. Come hungry to this one.
Club Ilia may take a little doing to get to, but once you do, you’re treated to one of the most idyllic, forget-you’re-in-the-city patios in the lower mainland. Next to SFU on Burnaby Mountain, Club Ilia is encased in greenery–-it’s like happy hour up in the trees (with prices way down to earth). From 3 to 5 and 9 to 11 PM enjoy their 3/4/5 menu. $3 will get you a beer or a long island iced tea or, from the kitchen, personal nachos or flat bread pizza. Four dollars will get you a bigger beer or a glass of wine or choose a plate of wings from 9 flavours. Then, for $5 you can jump start the party with that classic of any self-respecting university bar, the Jager bomb. Or keep it civil with dry ribs with crushed sea salt, or fried brussel sprouts with parmesan and prosciutto crumble.
Title photo courtesy of Club Ilia