For a while now, my friends and I have been discussing the idea of a “Greatest Hits” pub crawl. But what pubs would we choose, and when would we do it? Lucky for us it’s exam period again (for those who are still in university) and I am moving back to Vernon, so it makes sense to embark on one ‘last’ drinking adventure together! So without further ado, I present to you: Riley’s Farewell Pub Crawl: Greatest Hits (click for map of route).
Nelson, British Columbia, is likely my second favourite city in BC, after Victoria. The reasons that make Victoria and Nelson a cut above most other communities include a wide array of historic buildings, a strong contingent of community driven businesses rather than large multinationals, a rather tolerant left leaning culture, beautiful geography, and fantastic places to go for a drink! In Nelson one of the places to be is surely the Library Lounge within the historic Hume Hotel!
I have long had a fascination with all things from the British Isles, with those originating in England striking the deepest chord. One of those things has long been cricket; that very British of sports, queer, elusive, incomprehensible, yet indispensably appropriate if one is to understand the antics of P. G. Wodehouse’s Bertie Wooster, or the gentleman thief A. J. Raffles of E. W. Hornung fame.
And so a sport that had merely elicited British stereotypes in my mind slowly transformed from mystery into a sport that I knew and loved: first during an eight hour One Day International at the MCG in Melbourne, 2013, and more recently during the 2015 Cricket World Cup. After that I was hooked; I needed to play cricket. In the summer of 2015, the best that I could do was to practice one time with the Kelowna Cricket Club, but in the summer of 2016 I did one better!
In order to get home for Christmas, I caught a ride with my tree planter friend Andrew. The drive was great, safe in his sturdy Delica, with Geronimo the travelling cat asleep upon my shoulders. Along the way we spent a night at his parent’s place in West Vancouver, so that we might go out and enjoy the city with some of his old schoolmates. I took this opportunity to sample a few drinks for reviews!
For those of you who have never heard of Mail Art, it is essentially a global movement of anything creative that can be sent via post. Most often this means homemade postcards and drawings on envelopes, but it can also involve music, poetry, and found art. For those readers requiring further explanation, the Wikipedia page is a good read, and Ross Priddle’s blog Bentspoon is a prime example of an all encompassing, non thematic, ongoing Mail Art exhibit. Poke about his archives a little bit; the Mail Art he has received ranges from the bizarre to the beautiful. For examples of a themed exhibit, take a look at this one about Marie Antoinette, or this one about Welcome to Montana.
Back in April I posted my Victoria Pub Crawl No. 1, then promptly tested it out with a couple of friends. The crawl was delightful, so we reckoned that another one was in order. This pub crawl route has no overlap with the previous one, since there are plenty of fine pubs in Victoria yet to be featured. So with that in mind, let’s get started on today’s pub crawl!
Another one of my favourite pubs in Victoria, which may well appear on my next pub crawl route, is Smith’s Pub. Located within the Quality Inn building, about a block north of Douglas street, and below the Argyle Attic, Smith’s offers one of the most authentic, classic pub atmospheres in Victoria. A key to this atmosphere is that there are only a couple of televisions, and they are only turned on for important sporting events such as Habs games and Canucks games. If nothing substantial is on, the televisions are turned off, which is refreshing and avoids the unwelcome distraction of endless loops of Sports Centre after midnight. The interior is tastefully decorated with wood trim and has an interesting wall paper with the names of various English artists, musicians, poets, writers etc. scrawled upon it in a gentle style. The beer selection is always full of interesting seasonals and good local beers, whilst the gin selection boasts over 40 different gin from around the world; a gin tasting is certainly in order one of these days. The food menu, while simple, is very good. I recommend the Anglo-Poutine!