Downtown Victoria Pubs
A cold pint, savory food, and good company are only some of the reasons to visit a local pub. With more restaurants per capita than other places in Canada, it’s no surprise that Victoria has an abundance of pubs located in the heart of downtown. If you’re looking for a lively atmosphere, music, great company, and a cold drink, here are only some of the pubs you should try in downtown Victoria.
Rumoured to be the first licensed pub in British Columbia, Big Bad John’s, part of the Strathcona Hotel, in a must-visit for those new to Victoria. Dimly lit, BBJ’s has potato sack covered seating with peanut shells scattered everywhere. Describing itself as a hillbilly bar, you can expect to see bras strung for the ceiling, and patrons as diverse as the atmosphere.
Often called ‘Bart’s Pub’, Bartholemew’s is an English Style Pub in the DoubleTree Hotel located one block from Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Serving classic pub fare, like fish and chips, burgers and pizzas, Bart’s plays host to numerous lively event nights including trivia, music bingo, wing night, and live music.
Part of the Victoria landmark, Strathcona Hotel, the Sticky Wicket Pub is a cricket-themed pub and is easily considered a staple in the downtown core. Run by the local Olsen Family for decades, the hotel is home to seven distinct entertainment venues including a nightclub. Though the Sticky Wicket bar is the most central, guests can choose from The Clubhouse, the Games Room, and following May long weekend, the Rooftop Patio with its sandy beach volleyball courts.
Owned by the Victoria Pub Company, the Bard & Banker is a go-to pub for visitors and locals alike. Featuring 7-day-per-week live music, the pub, lofted in design, offers 30 (both import and craft) beers along with premium imports, wine and spirits. Though frequently bustling, the design offers plenty of bar seating, booths, private alcoves, and birds-eye view seats up in the loft.
Also operated by the Victoria Pub Company and located only steps from The Bard & Banker, The Irish Times was voted Best Irish Pub in North America in 2017 along with Best Irish Entertainment Venue in 2018. Offering visitors a truly Irish experience, you’ll find Irish staples like a pint of Guinness along with Bangers and Mash and Shepherd’s Pie. Along with Canada’s largest selection of Irish whiskeys, The Irish Times features 40 beer taps. With regular live entertainment, here’s you’ll enjoy a mix of Celtic, blues, and classic rock.
As one of Canada’s oldest English Pubs, Garrick’s Head is home to Victoria’s largest selections of craft and import beers. Offering traditional pub fare, Garrick’s Head sits adjacent to Bastion Square and is at the base of the Bedford Regency Hotel. Operating for over 125 years, Garrick’s Head conducted a significant expansion in 2012. Now, with its entrance facing Government Street, the pub is bustling most days of the week.
Set alongside Wharf Street, D’Arcy’s downtown location is reminiscent of a nightclub most nights of the week. With bands taking the stage at 10 PM, the dance floor is often buzzing, with line-ups forming outside. Though dancing is top-of-mind, the pub-fare features not-to-be-missed savoury treats including classic Canadian poutine, deep-fried pickles, burgers and pizza.
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