Looks like a couple of significant changes are headed to Stanley Park, as Stanley Park Brewing is poised to move into the restaurant that was previously home to the storied Fish House.
The Vancouver Park Board is recommending approval of a proposal for Stanley Park Brewing to renovate and operate the former Fish House space, which has sat vacant since the fall of 2015.
While initially in late 2015 the Park Board accepted a RFP bid from the owners of Feast restaurant in West Vancouver to take over the Fish House location, the partnership was not meant to be.
“During the weeks following, it was identified that an agreement based on the terms and conditions outlined in the RFP could not be reached,” notes the November 23, 2016 Park Board report. “As a result, the proponent withdrew and the building currently sits vacant.”
The Park Board went in search of a suitable tenant, and Stanley Park Brewing seemed like a logical choice, considering the building up for grabs is “located just a short walk from the original brewery that was first situated on the shores of Lost Lagoon in 1897.”
While it’s true that there was a Stanley Park Brewery in Lost Lagoon before the turn of the 20th century, the Stanley Park Brewing we know was launched in 2009, and has never brewed in Stanley Park. Once part of the Mark Anthony porfolio, brewing big guy Labatt acquired Turning Point Brewery (home of Stanley Park Brewing) in 2015, which is brewed in Delta.
Says the Park Board:
The former Fish House Restaurant site is the ideal location to establish a home for Stanley Park Brewing Co. to tell its story, animate an important area of the Park, offer a unique dining and beer tasting experience catering to both locals and visitors, and bring the art of brewing back to Stanley Park.
So what’s on tap for the reno and new brewery, if it’s a go?
Expected a refreshed exterior and interior that will incorporate existing elements of “parkitecture” considered historic. There will be much added to the structure: improved accessibility, covered decks, upgraded public washrooms, an enhanced concession area, and a new bike service station will go in outside, and inside the plans include onsite brewing chambers, development of a retail sales space, an education and tasting room, and renovated bar, special event, and dining areas.
The restaurant, which will serve lunch and dinner daily, will have 222 seats in four dining areas, and a menu that pairs with the beers. Speaking of beers, there will be a tasting room, staff to provide beer education, growler fills, and (of course) merchandise.
Stanley Park Brewing will be moving into a longstanding building, which was erected in 1930 at the southernmost quadrant of the park. The structure was first used as a club house for tennis players and golfers and was known as the Sports Pavilion.
From 1949 to 1974 it was the Third Beach Tea Room and from 1974 to 1990 the Beach House. In 1990 it became the Fish House restaurant, serving up white tablecloth-style seafood in the picturesque setting.
The Fish House was operated by SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts, who opted in 2015 to not renew their sublease of the property. The Fish House had been valuable training ground for many Vancouver chefs and restaurant folk, and was known for their classic seafood-centric fare and elegant (albeit a tad dated) decor. The restaurant served its last meal at the end of September 2015.
The move-in and reno will mean an investment of $4.5 million by Stanley Park Brewing (thanks, Labatt!). A timeline of the project is not included in the proposal, which goes before the Park Board tonight (Monday, November 28, 2016).