Ever wondered where Whitecaps players like to go out in Vancouver? We asked the self-confessed “good times facilitator” and ex-Whitecaps Captain Jay DeMerit to break down his favourite restaurants, bars, and hot spots around Vancouver.
DeMerit was the first signing for the Vancouver Whitecaps in its inaugural MLS season in 2011. He went on to captain the club for the first four seasons, married Canadian Olympic Gold Medallist Ashleigh McIvor in 2013, and is now a proud Vancouverite.
DeMerit also has a degree in Industrial Design, and upon his retirement from soccer last year, he started Portmanteau Stereo Co., designing one-of-a-kind stereos out of vintage suitcases, bespoke speaker furniture for your home, and his new product line, Rockit Logs, out of B.C. logs.
Here are the best places for dining out and drinking in Vancouver, as selected by Jay DeMerit:
Best Place to Watch the Whitecaps: Red Card Sports Bar
DeMerit Says:“If the Caps are playing away or you can’t make it to join the crowds at BC place, my favourite place to watch the boys kick it is the Red Card. I didn’t get too many red cards in my days on the field, but if you like soccer, this is pub for you. It shows not only Whitecaps games, but also all of the big games from the EPL, La Liga, and the Champions League.”
Address: 560 Smithe Street
Hours: Monday to Thursday & Sunday noon to 12:30 a.m. and Friday to Saturday noon to 1:30 a.m.
Best Patio: Chill Winston
DeMerit Says:“When I moved to Vancouver in 2011, Gastown fit my vibe, so that’s where I settled. Character streets, character buildings, and of course character people [are in] my favourite part of town. If the sun is shining and you want a relaxed, outdoor patio, Chill Winston is your place. It has a large patio right in the mix of what I call ‘Gassy Jack Plaza’ with cool retail shops and interesting sights all within your reach.”
Address: 3 Alexander Street
Hours: Monday to Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. and Sunday 11:00 a.m. to midnight
Best Place to Stop on a Sea Wall Cruise: Mahony & Sons Stamps Landing
DeMerit Says: “On a sunny day in Vancouver, it’s hard to beat a bike cruise around the sea wall. But what is a sea wall cruise without a few stops? My favourite stop along the way is Mahony & Sons on False Creek. It’s a really big place so we can usually find seats, and with a patio looking over the water and the many harbours in the area, it’s a relaxing way to take in the beautiful sights of downtown Vancouver.”
Address: 601 Stamps Landing
Hours: Monday to Wednesday and Sunday 11:00 a.m. – midnight and Thursday to Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m.
Best Night on the Town: West Oak Restaurant and Twelve West
DeMerit Says: “I call this night the ‘Peter Girges Special.’ Local restaurant/club owner Peter Girges has the night covered for you. First we start with dinner at West Oak in Yaletown, serving local food from fish to steak, and then move to the back of the restaurant to Pierre’s champagne bar for a few cocktails.”
Address: 1035 Mainland Street, Yaletown
Hours: Monday to Wednesday 11 a.m. to midnight; Thursday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
DeMerit Says: “When the dancing shoes are ready to get put on, we hop in a cab over the Twelve West on Granville St. to see out the rest of the night in one of the cities top nightclubs.”
Address: 1219 Granville Street
Hours: Friday and Saturday 10:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.
Best Pub Crawl: Gastown
DeMerit Says: “Nothing says pub crawl like cobbled streets, Guinness, and live music–which Gastown has in abundance. My favourite place to start is dinner at Pourhouse on Water Street. With a long list of signature cocktails, and a hearty food menu, it will set the tone for the night. Carrying down Water Street, I like to hit the Lamplighter for a good pub vibe to watch sports, trivia nights, or a lively dance floor on the weekends. Live music just down the street at Guilt & Co. is always a great option, as well as checking the Imperial Theatre on Main Street for good bands or DJ’s. If you are with a wild group and want to cap it off with some live entertainment, No. 5 Orange is a gentleman’s (or woman’s) club with a relaxed and fun vibe.”
Best Room with a View: Fairmont Pacific Rim
DeMerit Says: “If you are visiting Vancouver or just having a staycation, my favourite hotel in the city is the Fairmont Pacific Rim. With lots of amenities in the area, from Cactus Club Cafe across street or the best gelato from Bella Gelateria around the corner, there is lots to do all around you. The sea wall is walking distance away, and the views of the sea planes and north shore mountains are nothing short of spectacular. If you don’t want to leave the hotel, the lobby bar has some of the best cocktails and live music in town.”
Address: 1038 Canada Place
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