Six Acres
By Jesse Donaldson

A Neighbourhood Tradition in the Heart of Gastown

Few places in Vancouver can boast as rich a history of food and drink as Six Acres. The cozy Gastown eatery, located at the corner of Water and Carrall, was the site of the city's first bar – a hotel and saloon built in the 1870s by John “Gassy Jack” Deighton – and has been home to a series of popular watering holes for well over 100 years.

And since they opened the doors in 2006, owners Claire Hutchings, Tyler Quantz, Silas Straathof and Corben Winfield have kept that tradition going strong, providing tasty share plates, lively conversation and a carefully curated roster of craft beer in an intimate, brick-lined atmosphere.

“They started it mainly because they wanted a place they could hang out,” explains general manager Colette Griffiths. “They didn't feel like there was anywhere they could go, and feel like they were relaxing in someone's living room. That was their mission with Six Acres. They all loved beer, and everyone who works here loves beer and good food.”

People come here because they want somewhere reliable. They want to feel like they're coming home. We want to provide that feeling of familiarity. Comfort food, beer that makes you feel good. - Colette Griffiths, general manager
The building in which Six Acres resides is one of the oldest in Vancouver.
The building in which Six Acres resides is one of the oldest in Vancouver. Photo courtesy of Six Acres
The street front patio at Six Acres provides a scenic spot for people watching in Gastown.
The street front patio at Six Acres provides a scenic spot for people watching in Gastown. Photo courtesy of Six Acres

Comfort Food And A Speakeasy Vibe

While the restaurant's initial focus was on its beer selection, Colette notes that Six Acres' food menu has come to challenge its drink options for centre stage. The menu includes a sumptuous assortment of comfort food for both lunch and dinner, including poutine, grilled beef shortribs, and their celebrated mac and cheese – heralded as one of the best in town. With the vibe as well as the food, the focus is on comfort; tables are intimate, seats are limited (there are less than 80), and at night, the interior is illuminated largely by candlelight.

“We want it to have a sort of speakeasy vibe,” Colette says. “We've always wanted to be the sort of place where somebody had to let you in on the secret. We don't have a big, flashy sign. We don't have big curb appeal. And we kind of like it that way. We want your friend to say: 'Oh, man. I found this awesome spot. We have to check it out'.”

Six Acres' mac and cheese is a bestseller on the comfort food menu.
Six Acres' mac and cheese is a bestseller on the comfort food menu. Photo Courtesy of Six Acres

Making Gassy Jack Proud

No question, Six Acres has strong ties to the neighbourhood; the building in which it resides, built in 1887, is one of Vancouver's oldest structures. Its patio sits mere feet from the statue of Gassy Jack himself. Even the restaurant's name has special significance; six acres was the size of the original Granville townsite (aka Gastown).

As for looking forward to the future, Colette notes that Six Acres' philosophy is simple: to keep doing exactly what they're doing, to make Gassy Jack proud, and keep the site's tradition of quality food, drink and unpretentious conversation going well into the next 100 years.

“People come here because they want somewhere reliable,” she concludes. “They want to feel like they're coming home. We want to provide that feeling of familiarity. Comfort food, beer that makes you feel good. [...] You have a long day, you don't necessarily want to have some over-the-top thing drizzled in coulis or whatever. It's food you want to eat, not overthink.”

Seating is spread over two levels at the intimate Gastown bar, giving the brick-lined space a lofty feel.
Seating is spread over two levels at the intimate Gastown bar, giving the brick-lined space a lofty feel.
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