Pint o' porter with your pork pupusa
Trip Start Jul 17, 2014
10Trip End Aug 06, 2014
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I’m staying right off Commercial Drive, one of my favourite places. The neighbourhood here is actually called Grandview-Woodland, but this one road has so much character the entire area is better known as 'the Drive’.
Commercial Drive had humble beginnings – starting life as a skid road for dragging logs to the Hastings Sawmill. When construction began on the railroad to New Westminster, business started to blossom, and after WW2 the large influx of Italian immigrants saw the Northern part of the Drive known as "little Italy" for many decades. The area has continued to be the destination for generations of immigrants to Vancouver and has significant Italian, Asian, Latin American, East Indian, and African communities. In fact, English is a minority language in Grandview-Woodland.
The 1980s brought the punks, artists, hippies and political activists, and today the Drive is a diverse, vibrant, bohemian urban village with a strong counter-culture vibe. People come to Commercial Drive for the independent and family owned shops and for the great restaurants with cuisine from all reaches of the globe. Want to escape the mainstream and the big chain stores? Want a locally brewed pint of porter with your pork pupusa? Local raspberries for $2 a punnet? Canadian made coffee that won’t make you cry? Come to Commercial.
Some of my favourite places in Vancouver are along this road. St Augustine’s, named for the patron saint of beer, has over 60 beers on tap at a time. The beers are some of the best from the region, and constantly change. They’re all from smaller companies – many from locally sourced microbreweries. Once they’re out, they’re out... but you can check on the status of your beer of choice using the online live beer menu before you head down to “repint your sins”. Amen.
Storm Crow Tavern is another favourite – described as “Planet Hollywood for geeks” and “a sports bar for nerds”. It has a faux-medieval interior, and the walls are adorned with paraphernalia like rayguns, crossbows, dragon skulls and err... a giant custom Cthulhu wall shrine. You can see why I love it. Not to mention their ‘no sports’ policy means they only play 1950s creature features on the big screens, their shelves are stacked with board games to play while you wait for dinner, their waitstaff wear elf ears, they stock delicious local microbrews and their dishes are named fun things like “Mac and Cheese of Cthulhu”, “Beefbarian stew” and “Hark! A Hummus!” *stops to recover from excited hyperventilation* Basically, it’s Beebee heaven. Sigh.
I’ve also had some good times at Grandview Lanes, the local 5 pin bowling alley (Yes, 5 pin. Tiny ball. Is hard.). The last of these times involved a split chin, rivers of blood under the blacklight and a trip to emergency. How does that happen BOWLING? Good question. I told you they were fun times…
Lots of love always,
Your B. xx