It’s not exactly the biggest time of year for sports. The World Series just ended; the NFL is mid-season; and the Stanley Cup is half-a-year away. But it’s never too early to get excited about the playoffs – and the best bar to watch them at.
Despite the wild enthusiasm of fans in the city, Vancouver isn’t exactly overrun with legendary sports bars. It takes a special something, after all, to make a great sports bar. First and foremost, you’ve got to have the TVs: the more – and bigger – the better. Then there’s the food: Burgers and wings are great, but these days, especially here, people expect a little more. Finally, the atmosphere: A grimy dive bar won’t cut it, but a sleek joint with $14 martinis isn’t right either.
So I’d like to hear from you. What’s your favourite sports bar in Vancouver? Please let us know by leaving a comment.
For me, a few classics come to mind. There’s the Forum on Granville Street. Red Card nearby on Seymour Street and Malone’s on West Pender Street. The Atlantic Trap and Gill and the Shark Club near BC Place. But a new place that caught my eye is the Charles Bar, housed on the ground floor of the historic Woodward’s Building in Gastown.
Only 14 months old, the Charles has a lot going for it. It can lay claim to the largest TV screen in the city, a nine-foot behemoth. There are also around a dozen other TVs inside the bar.
The menu is solid, if not especially adventurous. The buttermilk onion rings, the nachos with pulled pork and the cheeseburger have all won high praise on Yelp. Considering that this is downtown, prices are decent, with $3.50 and $4 beer specials most days.
And the atmosphere is promising, as well. At 3,000 square feet, the Charles is a big venue. But on hockey nights, the place is often packed. In the summer, there’s a great patio at the foot of the Woodward’s residential building. The Charles does seem to have just a bit of a personality conflict going on. Deep down, it knows it’s a sports bar but there is a bit of a trendier, clubbier edge, as well.
Do you have a favourite sports bar? Let us know.
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