Meet the owner

Doug Stephen and his business partner, Francis Regio, want you to enjoy oysters as much as they do. More than that, they want you to enjoy a high-quality dining experience at Commercial Drive’s Merchants Oyster Bar at a reasonable price and without all the pretentions of so-called “fine dining.”

“There's something about oysters that just make a room come alive,” says Doug. “Whether it's the stigmas and mysticisms that surround oysters, or the high zinc content that increases the blood flow, they just get people happy!” But oysters are one of only a handful of options that are ever-present one the Merchants Oyster Bar menu. Doug changes the menu two to three times per week, depending on which fresh, locally sourced ingredients he can get.

In fact, you'll find Doug at farmers' markets in the Commerical Drive area every Saturday, sourcing out fresh, organic, and free-run items for the menu. “If I find something really fresh at a good price on a Saturday morning, I might change the menu and have it appear on your plate Saturday night.” There's something for vegetarians and kids on the menu too.

In addition to wine pairings, Doug and Francis like to forge relationships with breweries and distilleries to pair a meal with a cocktail or a beer. “We source the smaller breweries and offer some of the best beers in the world,” says Doug. “We've become something of a beer destination.”

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Appears in 6 Smart Lists

Editor’s Pick
Best spots to drink wine on Vancouver's Commercial Drive

Best spots to drink wine on Vancouver's Commercial Drive

Oyster bars exist in a world of their own. Catering to a like-minded crowd of bivalve lovers means the sommelier can focus on a particular type of wine – usually sparklers and whites that have the acidity to cut through the brine of ocean treats. Refresh your palate between slurps with a cava from Spain or brut from France. There’s a bubbly from the Okanagan, too. The whites include labels from B.C., France, Chile and New Zealand, all seafood-loving spots.

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8 Vancouver brunch restaurants for amazing eggs Benedict

8 Vancouver brunch restaurants for amazing eggs Benedict

Given the name of this restaurant, their menu is surprisingly diverse. Merchant’s is dedicated to in-house creations and local ingredients (look up from your seat to see herbs drying from the ceiling). This attention to details is evident in their food, especially the Bahn Mi Benny, which combines seared pork belly and bahn mi pickle with a cilantro-chili fermented hollandaise. The Asian-inspired breakfast dish is served in a friendly, warm atmosphere that’s perfect for long brunches with a mimosa or two.

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Outstanding oyster bars in Vancouver

Outstanding oyster bars in Vancouver

You might initially head out to this Commercial Drive spot for the oysters, but you’ll return for everything on the delightful menu. Oysters raw and baked, tuna and steak tartare, pork terrine, crab and prawn pasta, are all made with local and ethically sourced meats and seafood. The wine and craft beer list along with great service complete the package. Stop in for an excellent weekend brunch.

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