One of the best ways to explore a new city is by pub crawling. When I moved to Victoria for university, one of my initial aims was to acquaint myself with as many pubs as possible. While Victoria has too many great pubs to visit in one day, this particular route offers a nice over-view of the different pub styles to be found within the city.
So without further ado, here is my introductory pub crawl to Victoria.
The Bent Mast: A great place to start. This converted house in James Bay offers a very warm and relaxed atmosphere. They have a nice selection of local craft beers. After a drink, the walk from James Bay towards the Legislative Assembly will certainly be an enjoyable one, with many heritage homes in the area. The route will take you along Government Street (downtown Victoria’s finest) past the beautiful Empress Hotel and towards the next stop.
Garrick’s Head Pub: A local favourite of beer enthusiast students and local business men alike, this pub offers a great English public house atmosphere. They have a wonderful selection of local craft beers, as well as a delicious menu. My favourite touch is that you get both chips (fries, for those who thought I meant crisps) and salad with your burger!
Irish Times Pub: One of three British Isles style pubs owned by the Vic Pub Co., the other two being the Scottish style Bard & Banker, and the English style Penny Farthing, this one is right next to Garrick’s Head. Offering live music every night, as well as a fine selection of local craft beer, imported Irish beer on draught, and a fine selection of single malt whisky, you’d be hard pressed not to have a good time here!
Swans Hotel Brewpub: Located on the edge of North America’s second oldest China Town, this brewpub is my favourite place for a drink in Victoria. The exterior architecture is beautiful and is always covered in flowers during the warmer months. The interior is full of exposed wood, North West Coast Native artwork and brick walls, giving it a very classic, comfortable pub feel. The line of house beers is excellent and they serve deep fried pickles. Most importantly, the televisions are almost always turned off, allowing for a distraction-free tasting experience!
Spinnakers Guesthouse Brewpub: After a drink at Swans, cross the Johnson Street Bridge (blue bridge) and head into Esquimalt for the final stop at Spinnakers. Spinnakers is a beautiful brewpub, with a magnificent wood beam ceiling in the upstairs, and some wonderful house ales. They are also Victoria’s only gastro brewpub, and the only pub with a daily cask special. I recommend trying something from their menu, paired with an ale to cap off the pub crawl.
So there we have it; from heritage homes and brewpubs, to Victoria’s lovely British vibe, a pub crawl can introduce anyone to different regions of the city and different local specialties.