162 Water Street
T: 604 568 7022
Brief Description: A new-comer to the Vancouver bar scene, Pourhouse packs a punch with comfort food and strong, well-mixed drinks served up with a generous portion of charming ambience.
With its old town charm, Gastown is easily my favourite area of the city to go drinking. With the kind of character – and characters – that Gastown is renowned for it is inevitable that the bars in the area would also be dripping in personality rather than being just more faceless, cookie-cutter bars. Six Acres, Irish Heather and Alibi Room are among my favourites. And now the new kid on the block, Pourhouse, is quickly on its way to joining that list. My first impressions of Pourhouse were: too expensive and slightly pretentious. Perhaps it was the white-linen table cloths or the overly fancy hostess that gave me this impression but after a few visits I now know that this is not the case.
A quaint spot with exposed brick, wooden beams and soft-lighting, the feel of Pourhouse is that of hospitality and charisma. A lot of care has been taken to give the bar a turn-of-the-century feel and so all of the furniture has either been made or found by the owners, including the imposing wood bar. Even without a physical barrier, the bar somehow feels separated from the dining room, giving both areas an element of privacy. By perching yourself at the bar you can easily chat with the friendly and very knowledgeable bar-staff whilst eyeing up the rest of the clientele. I’ve yet to sit in the dining room but I’d say that if the service is like the bar service then it too would be effortless and casual.
The dining area, complete with white linen table cloths, feels upscale which really is at odds with the menu which focuses on modern-comfort food. You will find sandwiches, such as beef brisket or crispy cheese, as well as warming foods such as pork and beans, beef shortribs, pasta and a few varieties of fish dishes. From experience, I can tell you that the pappardelle (with chicken, artichokes and cherry tomato fondue) was delicious and great for a cold, miserable evening.
B just loves his sandwiches and has tried the Sloppy Joe and the Dagwood and enjoyed both. The Dagwood is a simple medley of meats packed high between thick slices of white bread. Although there are a few token salad veggies hidden in there somewhere, this sandwich is bound to make any man happy. Sandwiches can be accompanied by fries which are deliciously salty but because they are so good they are prone to being stolen by opportunistic girlfriends. Guys, you’ve been warned.
I thoroughly enjoyed the crispy cheese sandwich which was served with a bowl of house roasted tomato soup. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I do the one at Burgoo (oh, stop it – I am drooling) but it still hit the spot on a Saturday afternoon with a cold beer.
The neon squid, at only $10, was beautifully cooked and very well presented. It tasted meatier somehow than regular squid and was tender, rather than chewy. Worth trying if you find yourself at Pourhouse.
Final Thoughts: With better-than-average pub food and an extensive drink selection, I can only foresee Pourhouse gaining popularity. I, for one, will be making it a regular stop.