By Wade Kinley
New Westminster has grown out of the early settlement along the banks of the Fraser River into one of the lower mainland’s most charming cities. Now with a newly revamped waterfront showcasing entertainment, shopping, and dining, any time of day is a good time to visit New West, but we know the best time, and that is approximately 3:00 to 6:00 in the afternoon.
Housed in the old Canadian Pacific Railway Station in downtown New Westminster, Carlos O’Bryan’s Pub is big on tradition. Sports, pool, darts and, of course a great draught list can all be found in the traditional Irish pub upstairs in the building built back in 1899. Luckily for us, they’ve kept the tradition of happy hour as well. From 2 to 5 PM daily, along with drink specials that range from $4.50 to $6, their extensive menu of appetizers are available for $9 each. Traditional fare like prime rib yorkies sit alongside contemporary dishes like the sashimi-style tuna stack, and of course, the legendary “Pachos”. And if you don’t know what we’re talking about here, let’s just say, you owe yourself a visit.
As BC’s original capital city, New Westminster is awash in history. And you can brush up on our province’s story on any visit to the River’s Reach Pub. Photographs of days gone by adorn the walls and 19th century antiques are displayed throughout the room. At happy hour, prices hearken back to a simpler time as well, when from 3 to 6 PM appetizers go for half price. Enjoy pub favourites such as poutine with snappy cheese curds ($4.50), or the smoky, peppery Angus sliders ($5.50), alongside bistro-style brussels sprouts crisped up with parmesan and chili ($4), and the lightly seared tuna tacos that are get their kick from red pepper pesto ($6). Drink specials are also offered, a different selection each day.
There’s a couple reasons you’ll want to arrive early for dinner at Wild Rice Market Bistro. One, you’ll want to grab one of the coveted seats at the open kitchen where you can watch the modern Chinese menu come to life before your eyes. The other is, of course, the deals to be had at happy hour. The crispy chicken skins ($7) are just as decadent as they sound and pair perfectly with one of their local draughts, on for $5. The duck confit tacos are sweet and crunchy ($8) and the spicy green beans sautéed with pickled onions deliver a welcome tang ($6). Wash it all down with their signature lotus cocktail delicately infused with lychee ($6). Treat yourself Tuesday to Thursday, 5 to 6 PM; Friday to Sunday, 3 to 6 PM; and all day Monday!
With such proximity to the mighty Pacific, dining out in the Vancouver area is never complete without a small taste of the sea. And when it comes to seafood, The Boathouse has been an institution around these parts since 1981. Its New Westminster location sits right beside the Fraser River and is a perfect perch to watch the river boats sail past. From 3 to 6 PM, fresh shucked oysters start at $1.99 a pop, while the rest of the Happy Hour menu comes in at under $8. Standards here are anything but, like the yam fries with their masala curry ketchup ($4.99), or the cauliflower “wings” done up Buffalo style ($5.99). A true 20oz pint of local draught is $7, as are house cocktails like their signature Caesar and the Boathouse bellini. If a glass of wine is more your speed, you’ll find the house red or white for just $6.