Now that the Olympics are over, it’s time to look back at the domestic sport. The Canucks are still toiling away fighting for a playoff spot, and next month the Whitecaps are back in action. Often I am asked from out-of-towners where to grab a beer before the game. There are very obvious choices, but not all have a great lineup of craft beer on tap. The obvious choices are Sharks Club, The Pint and Kingston Taphouse — all decent places to go, but their craft beer lineup is weak.
Plus considering the swill you’ll be forced to drink at Rogers Arena or BC Place, you’ll need to get your craft on elsewhere.
So here are the best places to grab a pint of craft beer before the game:
Four blocks down Abbott Street from Rogers Arena is The Lamplighter, which has been around since the 1920s. This popular pub boasts a decent enough tap list for pre-gamers to grab craft beer. They have heavyweights Driftwood Fat Tug IPA and Red Racer IPA — probably the two most mainstream craft IPAs in the BC market, and they’re popular for a reason. Recently, they’ve upgraded their line up to 50 taps. As the unofficial (or maybe it’s official) home to Manchester United supporters, it’s not a bad spot to grab a few pints and watch some footy before catching a ‘Caps game.
The little, unassuming watering hole at the northern most point on Cambie Street has some great craft beer to offer. It’s a bit of a brisk walk to Rogers Arena (about six blocks), but a great pre or post game spot — especially if it’s a Canucks vs Oilers game. Their taps rotate seasonally, and offer great beer specials every night.
Just up the road from Rogers Arena on Georgia Street is Library Square — similar to The Lamplighter, they present a decent craft beer lineup including some rotating seasonal taps. At only three blocks from Rogers Arena, this is one of the closer options to quaff craft beer before having to ingest $8.00 Budweisers.
Tap & Barrel
Despite being located just across False Creek, it’s actually much closer to the stadiums than people think. You can either take the Aquabus across the “creek” or simply walk around it — both would probably take the same time depending how close the ferry is to the dock. The tap list is full of craft beer goodies, including beers from Crannog — the elusive brewery from Sorrento, BC, home to the tasty Backhand of God Stout.
Craft Beer Market
Located practically beside the Tap & Barrel, the Craft Beer Market essentially lives up to its name. If you are looking for the largest craft beer list for a pre-game bar, this is where you need to go. With 140 taps and televisions surrounding the bar, Craft Beer Market caters to pretty much anyone in your party — mostly notably the beer nut. And Rogers Arena and BC Place are a short walk or ferry ride away.
Bitter Tasting Room
Should your event at Rogers Arena or BC Place take place at around 7:00pm, consider checking out Bitter Tasting Room. Opening at 5:00pm, it is really only an option for the late games. This tasting room is by far one of the more specific craft beer haunts that caters to the craft beer crowd. It’s modern rustic with damn good beer. Their bottle selection is top notch, and the taps rotate often, sporting delicious BC craft beer offerings.