By Wade Kinley
Since happy hour became a regular thing around Vancouver just a few years ago (thanks to nifty adjustments to some by-laws) local restaurants in the city have embraced the opportunity to showcase some of the incredible food being created in the city, without those big-city prices. Here are four of the happiest hours in Vancouver, to fuel that second round of urban rambling.
As the name suggests, there’s always some innovative and exciting work being done within the rustic walls of this well-loved Gastown eatery. Think comfort-food with the wow turned up to 11, and some of the most alluring cocktail ideas in the city and you’ll get an idea why Tuc has remained at the top of “Vancouver’s Best” lists since they opened in 2013. Luckily, tastes of both are on offer at happy hour, every day from 4 to 6 PM. Classic cocktails, like a Brown Derby or Sbagliato are mixed to perfection at $7, while local craft beer is $4.50, and a glass of BC wine pours for $5. Try a pot of Salt Spring mussels and sausage in a tomato chili ragu ($6) or get a little different with parsnip fries, shoestring style with a zesty sweet toasted coriander and lime ketchup ($6). But a visit to Tuc (or life, really) would not be complete without biting into a crispy bacon & egg ($4); a just-right egg wrapped in double-smoked bacon and crisped with tempura. That’s right. You’re welcome.
In Yaletown, one has a list of restaurants to choose from about as long as the cross-country freight trains that pulled into the railyards that once made up this area. WildTale holds true to the trans-Canada connection by combining East Coast hospitality with West Coast cuisine. It’s all on display at happy hour, from 3 to 6 PM, and after 10 PM. The blackened fish tacos ($6.50) are light and peppery and the grilled oysters are served on the half shell in a rich creole butter. A taste of local turf can be had too, with sticky sweet BBQ’d chicken wings with house made ranch ($6.75). A good range of wines are offered from $5 to $7 while cocktails run $6 to $7, and draft beer is $5. It doesn’t hurt that you can enjoy all of this on one of the prettiest patios in the city.
In many ways, Tacofino lead the charge for the food truck revolution that has changed the culinary landscape of the Vancouver area for the much, much better. Tacofino is still busy changing the game, now with every new brick-and-mortar version they open in Vancouver–five and counting. For this happy hour, we’re going to where it all began: the Commissary at Hastings-Sunrise (which also helped to revitalize this re-hipped neighbourhood). From 3 to 6 PM, daily, inventive margaritas (jalapeño and watermelon, c’mon!) are $8, while beer and wine are $5. Share some of the best nachos in town with crumbled feta ($14) or dig your chips into some seriously zippy tuna ceviche for $11. Can’t decide what you want? Order a drink and sit down at one of the long tables and ogle what your neighbours are having. Then get one of everything, anyway.
What is Canadian cuisine? In a proud land of immigrants from all corners of the globe, it’s never an easy question to answer. But the West End’s Timber attempts to do just that, at the end of Robson Street where they’ve been “Givin’er since 2015”. One thing is fer sher, Canadians love a good deal and that’s definitely happening here at happy hour. From 3 to 6 PM every day wine is $7, and Timber’s own pilsner made by Main Street Brewing is $5 a sleeve. But it’s the half-price snacks that’ll really get your hands up, praising Bobby Orr. The deep fried cheese curds ($4) are a bowl of snappy gooey goodness, and can you imagine a more fitting accompaniment to a beer than a smoked pickled egg that comes for only a loonie-and-a-half? Not likely. You’ll want to come early for a couple rounds. And catch the early hockey game at the bar, natch.