By Wade Kinley
Vancouver’s North Shore’s stunning natural beauty is the perfect backdrop for a good ol’ afternoon off or maybe a well-earned reward coming down from one of its many mountain trails. Wherever your energy level is at, we present four of the happiest hours on the North Shore:
With sweeping waterfront views from almost every table (not to mention their year round heated patio!) Pier 7 near the Lonsdale Quay is definitely one of the prettiest places in North Vancouver to take in happy hour. From 3 to 6 pm every day you can enjoy a solid selection from their West Coast inspired menu, all between $6 and $8. Crisp truffle fries are dusted with a sharp parmesan, while the ahi tuna tataki melts in your mouth with a zing of mango vinaigrette. Their signature creole spiced calamari would transport you directly to New Orleans if you weren’t marveling at the sparkling vista of downtown Vancouver just outside the floor-to-ceiling windows. Pair it with a perfectly balanced house-made sangria (yes, red and white), or a BC beer or wine, for only $5.
A North Shore favourite for almost 40 years, the Queens Cross Pub is tucked away behind tall trees and brightly flowered shrubs on Upper Lonsdale Avenue. Inside, you might feel you’ve stepped back in time to Victorian England next to the great stone fireplace and the stained glass that hangs above the bar. There’s a bit more modern fare, thankfully, available at happy hour here. Between 3 and 6 pm and 9:30 pm until close, from Monday to Friday, all small plates are only $6. The blackened chick pea tacos are a spicy kick, soothed just enough by a bright cilantro crema. For a lighter snack, the house-made hummus is equal parts creamy and garlicky. For the thirsty lords and ladies, well highballs are $5, and they’ll knock $1 off of all draft pints and 6 oz glasses of wine.
Happy hour? More like happy all day! Sailor Hagar’s Pub runs their happy hour drink specials from 11 am to 6 pm every day. Sailor Hagar’s also has the distinction of being the first brew pub in the Vancouver area when they began brewing next door to their location near the Lonsdale Quay in 1994. While they have since moved operations up the road to the Howe Sound Brewery in Squamish, you can still enjoy six of their original recipes on tap. You may even get lucky and be there on a day when one of them goes for $4.25 during happy hour (beer selection changes daily). $4.25 will also get you a 6 oz glass of VQA wine or a daily cocktail. Some share plates are also on special (you might need them!) from 3 to 6 pm daily, with prices ranging from $6 to $11. Try the nachos loaded the right way or the meaty dry ribs rubbed with garlic and sea salt as you watch the ships pass through Burrard Inlet from their heated patio.
Tap & Barrel has made a name for themselves with some of the most coveted waterfront around Vancouver and their Shipyards restaurant in North Vancouver is no exception (it may actually be the pinnacle). Housed in a century-old coppersmith shop at the foot of Lonsdale, the exposed wood beams, industrial metal, and checkered windows that reach to the cathedral-high ceilings all throw back to a time when ships that sailed the world were built right here. And it wouldn’t be a Tap & Barrel without an impressive patio, in this case comprising half of the restaurant’s 600 seats as it winds its way around the front and east side. Plenty of room for folks to put the work day behind them at happy hour, Monday to Friday at 3 until 6 pm. Well highballs go for $4.95, a Red Truck Lager is $5.95 and The Hatch Red or White will set you back $6.95 for a 6 oz glass. See what makes their fried pickles “famous” ($7.95), or try the gyoza, crispy-chewy and jacked up with tangy siracha mustard ($8.95). And if you hear a factory whistle in the distance, just ignore it.