Gastown patios to take in Vancouver's historic ‘hood

One of the best ways to enjoy Vancouver’s Gastown is to stroll its cobblestone streets, popping into its gorgeous boutiques and picking up a little treat for you or someone you love. Extend the fresh-air visit with some restorative food and drink en plein air. Here are eight patios to get you started.

Alibi Room

157 Alexander St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1B8

The Alibi Room’s claim to fame is its 50 taps of constantly rotating craft beer served to the hordes at large communal tables that fill the beautiful old building at Alexander and Main. But it also boasts a narrow outdoor space along its quiet street perfect for parties of two. It’s rarely used, so enjoy your Gigantic IPA or Yellow Dog Pale Ale in the out-of-doors as you take in the area’s industrial history and keep an eye on your bike locked across the street.

Six Acres

203 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2J2

This gem of a pub, also at the Five Corners, is known for its international selection of beer and tasty and affordable small bites. Come spring, it also expands to accommodate outdoor imbibers with wooden tables and chairs within the cobblestones of its wrought-iron fence. Peruse their menus (charmingly reused old library books, complete with sign-out pocket in back) and enjoy a cold one while taking in the majestic statue of Gassy Jack and the architecturally stunning flat iron building.

Water Hospitality Inc

300 Water St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1B6

This Gastown institution has been going strong despite the increasing gentrification of the neighbourhood in recent years. It could be thanks to its fresh and predictably lovely European-inspired West Coast fare, but it may be equally due to its outdoor patio, rounding Water Street and stretching up Cambie. You can’t help but feel transported to a charming French or Italian town as you dine al fresco with white tablecloths, housemade focaccia and a perfectly chilled glass of Pinot Gris. Its staying power is undeniable.

The Cambie

300 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2N3

Sidle up to the young hostellers and authentic punks at The Cambie’s popular patio at — you guessed it — Cambie and Cordova. Beer comes in real pint glasses, pitchers are frosty and cheap and food is better than what you’d expect at this dive bar and hostel on the edge of Vancouver’s Downtown East Side. The place has a beer-garden feel with folks mingling from table to table and no-nonsense servers keeping things in check. Their midday menu features great entrees for only $5.

Jules Restaurant

216 Abbott St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2K8

This lovely and authentic French bistro on Abbott Street has a shaded patio amid the cobblestone that, again, evokes Parisian cafes and long, leisurely midday meals complete with a glass of something crisp and impeccable bistro fare. Moules or steak frites, salade Niçoise, even a humble Croque Monsieur all get an elevated treatment when served on this pleasing patio amid the street lamps and high-end boutiques.

The Lamplighter Public House

92 Water St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1A4

Escape the massive television screens inside the dimly lit Lamplighter and opt for an outdoor table along Abbott Street. At this Donnelly pub you’ll be able to kick back with their very decent beer list, some solid bar food and a group of friends and plan the rest of your Gastown bar-hopping night accordingly.

The Old Spaghetti Factory

53 Water St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1A1

Perhaps not a culinary powerhouse, but have you tried their endless (and addictive) garlic bread with whipped butter? This long-standing chain serving up massive plates of pasta to families and first dates alike has one of the more active patios in Gastown, its spacious outdoor dining area lining Water Street and providing front row seats to the neighbourhood’s endless stream of people. For an affordable, filling meal in the heart of the district, ignore the tourists and settle into mangia, mangia!

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