Courtside: Vancouver's new spot for basketball, sport, and culture fanatics

Jan 27 2023, 5:30 pm

Courtside, Vancouver’s new boutique dining experience catering to basketball, sport, and culture fanatics, is finally gearing up to launch soon.

This spot is located at 2415 Main Street and has been largely under wraps until now. The secrecy only added to the community’s growing anticipation to see the space.

Dished got a sneak peek inside ahead of the official opening, and let’s just say Courtside is definitely more than just your average sports bar.

The Concept

Courtside

Mark Starkey/Courtside Hospitality

Courtside was founded by Mark Starkey, Chris Connelly, and Sean Werger.

The concept’s founders each come from a different industry. They bonded over their passion for basketball after meeting at Commercial Drive’s Storm Brewing, and the idea for the space was born.

Starkey, a local advertising agency CEO and former Nike Executive; Connelly, a musician and investor; and Werger, who ran a successful Vancouver brewery for years, all had a vision.

“We believe we’ll be successful for a few reasons: Canada’s growing fan base of basketball fans, specifically in Vancouver,” said Connelly.

“Our service and experience inside our space and the fact that we know who we are and we are leaning into that.”

Courtside

Mark Starkey/Courtside Hospitality

Service is at the forefront of the operations at Courtside. The goal is to make every patron feel like an A-list, courtside ticket holder.

Courtside’s launch represents a decade-long dream coming to fruition. Founders aim to solidify the concept as the “glue” of a booming basketball scene in Vancouver.

“We want to connect people and celebrate the game,” they share. 

The Space

Courtside

Mark Starkey/Courtside Hospitality

Courtside’s location has it sitting in very good (and delicious) company.

The fresh Mount Pleasant spot can be found just a stone’s throw from much-loved local names like Superbaba, Melo Pattiserie, and Fable Diner.

The 1,900 sq ft space offers seating for 50 people. Dished is told there will be an outdoor alley patio coming soon as well.

Naturally, there are TVs that will be playing multiple basketball games at all times. This spot’s founders are also relentless about hip-hop, and that means you can expect top-notch tunes that align with the culture of the sport.

Courtside guests will also gain exclusive access to SLAM® merchandise at the in-house basketball pop-up shop. 

“We’re really excited about our food and drink menu and the experience inside the space, but we’re also excited to provide access for patrons to get near some uber-rare basketball memorabilia like autographed Kobe Bryant jerseys, one of Michael Jordan’s courtside seats (bench seats) from his championship run with the Chicago Bulls, and plenty of WNBA and NBA autographed items for all the local basketball fans to check out.”

Courtside

Mark Starkey/Courtside Hospitality

Courtside

Mark Starkey/Courtside Hospitality

On top of that, Courtside will be a destination for athlete appearances, special events, local artist features, and community-driven basketball celebrations.

Maybe the coolest part of all, though, is the business’s commitment to the local community from the jump. Courtside will donate 1% of its annual revenue to The Vancouver Basketball Foundation, an organization that provides Vancouver’s youth and their families access to the sport.

The Food & Beverage Program

Courtside

Mark Starkey/Courtside Hospitality

In addition to joining the celebration of the ever-growing Vancouver basketball community, folks who come to Courtside can expect some tantalizing bites.

There will be evolving “stadium plus” food options here from Head Chef Victor Jacinto.

Think elevated, arena-inspired staples such as wings, nachos, nuggets, and a SLAM® Burger, all served with housemade sauces.

We’re told there will even be feature items inspired by real-life basketball happenings.

“An example would be if, say, Memphis makes the NBA Playoffs, we’re going to have a Memphis BBQ Poutine.” 

Drink-wise, Courtside will offer a lineup of premium cocktails as well as 20+ local beers on draft.

Those brews will be served from a fully custom-built bar that ensures each beer is ice cold when it lands at your table. 

“There’s a lot of ways to be a great restaurant or bar – and Vancouver’s got an amazing collection of dining hot spots (now including several Michelin stars)– you just need to lean in on your community audience and your brand positioning,” says Starkey.

“One key item we have held on tight to since our ownership group decided to launch Courtside… was our brand.” 

Courtside

Mark Starkey/Courtside Hospitality

Courtside is bound to quickly become a local mainstay for folks living in the neighbourhood, and it will surely attract guests from all over Vancouver and Metro Vancouver as well.

After all, this place looks like a picture-perfect basketball paradise, and Vancouver hasn’t seen anything quite like this before.

This spot will softly open on January 27, with the official launch to go down the following week.

Once it’s officially open, you can find it operating daily from noon to midnight.

Courtside

Mark Starkey/Courtside Hospitality

Courtside™

Address: 2415 Main Street, Vancouver

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Courtside is not affiliated with the NBA or WNBA in any way

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