Strathcona’s “London Pub” Now Open At East Georgia And Main…

November 4, 2010.

IMG_6119

by Andrew Morrison | Steve Jenning’s London Pub has opened on the southeast corner of Main and Georgia on Chinatown’s southern border with Strathcona. I popped in yesterday for a gander…

  • The London Pub, Vancouver
  • The London Pub, Vancouver
  • The London Pub, Vancouver
  • The London Pub, Vancouver
  • The London Pub, Vancouver
  • The London Pub, Vancouver
  • The London Pub, Vancouver
  • The London Pub, Vancouver
  • The London Pub, Vancouver
  • The London Pub, Vancouver
  • The London Pub, Vancouver
  • The London Pub, Vancouver
  • The London Pub, Vancouver
  • The London Pub, Vancouver

There is no food just yet, as they’re still working on the kitchen that will be shared with next door’s Brixton Cafe (Mr. Jennings tells me they’re about two weeks away on that score). For the time being, it’s booze only, so thank goodness it’s liquor primary. On the aesthetics, it’s still unfinished but nowhere near as garish as I feared. He had told me that there would be nine flatscreen televisions – and there are – only they’re not as large and unsightly as I thought they might be. It’s a cavernous space, so they melt into the background rather unobtrusively instead of sucking all the soul from the place in a fierce tornado of blue light. The beer list – as you can see in one of the images above, is nicely done (no PBR for “Kate of Kits” to gripe about), and they appear to have some variety on tap.

In case you missed it, here’s what we wrote about the place when we gave word of its coming back in September…

Here are a few photos [LINK] of the nearly completed “London Pub” and neighbouring Brixton Caffe at 700 Main St (at Georgia in Chinatown). I’ve been passing this property every day for a couple of months now and it’s finally taking promising shape (we could use a fresh watering hole in my neck of the woods). As you can see from the unearthed mosaic, it was once upon a time the London Hotel. Lovely old bones. The brick archways are particularly nice. I reckon they’re about a month away.

[…]

A couple of days ago I made mention of a new pub under construction near my house on the southeast corner of Main and Georgia in Chinatown. There was some speculation as to who was behind the project in the comments so I went by for another recce yesterday evening and found it to be the work of the affable Steve Jennings. He’s a “life-long pub lover” who’s striking out on his own after many years working with Donnelly Hospitality Management (Republic, Library Square, etc).

His room, which should be open to the public by the end of October, will seat 160, including 14 at an L-shaped bar (which will serve nearly a dozen local craft beers on tap). It will being staying open until 3am on the weekends with a kitchen plating bangers and mash, pot pies, and so forth. Nothing fancy. Just pub grub. We had a good debate on the desirable number of television screens. Jennings was thinking 9, while myself and an English construction worker lobbied for as few as 3.  Though I’m a devout Canucks fan who very seldom misses a game, this ain’t the Granville Strip. What my neighbourhood needs is a place of bent elbows and conversation, not a sports bar.

Indeed, what will be particularly interesting to see is the clientele. It’s my belief that the customer base Jennings is used to from his lengthy DHM experience will not be making the trip (it’s too rough). He’ll more than likely have to rely on the residents of Chinatown, Strathcona and Mt. Pleasant to deliver the ducats, and as far as my read of the landscape goes, they ain’t the 9 TV breed of peeps.

I guess we’ll see how it goes.

ALL ANTICIPATED OPENINGS

  • Andrew

    I have visited twice and what I found to be most interesting was a the mix of patrons. Sure it had a group of library square types, but there was a table or two of Chinatown locals (read; Chinese men) having a joly time. That is what I had hoped for and hope it stays that way. On Monday the barkeep said kitchen in 10 days, for now they are promoting a pizza joint on cambie.

    I dint know why you fear a tv or two, don’t watch it if you don’t want to. In fact I rarely watch the tv in a pub but it is a gret draw for events and I don’t think a pub in north America can survive without one. Yes I know alibi room. That is an anomaly.

  • Scout Magazine

    Long live anomalies!

  • http://itcameoutmagical.blogspot.com Quinn

    $8.50 for a pint of Guinness? Jesus.

  • http://www.hometownmerch.com SG

    Please tell me that the handsome bald bartender is none other than the Infamous Johnny Carrall. Look out east-side a new sheriff is in town!

  • http://geoffvreeken.com Geoffro

    Might be an English Pint, which I believe is 20oz.

  • Dan

    At first I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about the idea of this place. On looking at the pictures, I’m afraid to say I probably won’t be going to try it out.

    As a Londoner, this looks about as far from a London pub as you can get. If you’ve never been to a real one, by all means go along and kid yourself. It looks about as inviting as a giant fridge and as soulless as the local Safeway. Not what I see a pub as being.

    I know this isn’t London, and pubs serve different functions in different cities and different countries. Which begs the question: why open such a ‘standard-looking’ pub under a concept which actually has potential? It looks pretty weakly delivered and completely lacks character. If you want something closer to reality, the Kings Head in Kits is probably closer.

    Disappointing.

  • melody

    Great job on the restoration ….really nice to see a touchtune juke box as no one likes a pub to dictate what music is played….pool table is a plus also …….however no cheeseburgers and fries come on you will lose out on the good old burger/beer type ……no Bud and no Canadian on tap……..are you nuts………further more as much as my husband James and I loved seeing this one time sleezy old dive bar fixed up …..when you have other nice pubs such as the patricia and the brandize and the astoria that in the last 3 years all have had major renos done …..wide screen tvs ,new carpets,tables/chairs etc ….etc… they only charge $3.00 – $4.00 for the beer that is expected to be found in a pub……and no you dont find the down and out drunk burnouts really drinking at them either as those type seem to all stick with the ivanho or the regent.Yes I will go back ,however the place belongs on granville street not main street …..I hope in time they get normal beer on tap for under $ 5.00 or the place is doomed to become a 40 plus crowd bar .

  • http://geoffvreeken.com Geoffro

    “no Bud and no Canadian on tap……..are you nuts………” *sigh*

  • Dan

    Er… that’s a good thing, isn’t it?

    (Sorry if I wasn’t picking up on any sarcasm)

  • Dan

    At least this place is like a London pub regarding the prices they’re charging!

  • melody

    Like you said …….disappointing and could have so much more for everyone if they only made it affordable for the working man……..even bourbon pub on powell has $3.50 pints of kokanee………never had london ale before …..and I dought your going to get a group of young people who want to go for drinks seeking something they have never heard of before…..if you had the option of your fav and then something new at a better price then you might get more of a wide range of people.

  • Adam

    I’m also from London like Dan, and other than a chain Wetherspoons or Castle pub, this doesn’t look really look like a decent London boozer – nothing to make it stand out with the London theme other than some wall-art and a slightly more extensive range of UK beers than a standard Vancouver pub.

    They definitely could have done better…and $8.50 for a Guinness is crazy though even more laughable is Carlsberg for $8. And to reiterate my early post when there was the pre-opening article…is it really that expensive/difficult to get hand-pull ales into a pub in Vancouver? I’ve only seen Alibi Room…do no breweries make cask ale in Canada? You cannot call yourself “The London Pub” without decent hand-pull ales. Seriously.

    Let’s see how the food pans out…

  • http://geoffvreeken.com Geoffro

    Indeed, I was being sarcastic.

  • jm

    The room looks like a cross between Malone’s and The Bourbon if they borrowed the lamplighter’s furniture. Nice to see a pool table and an ample beer selection with a few locals though, I’ll probably stop by if I’m in the neighborhood.

  • BuddyGuy

    Plenty of local breweries make casks, there are multiple cask nights in various joints. Check out St. Augustine’s on Commercial Drive, for example. You’ve been to the Alibi Room…that’s another.

    Of course The Bourbon is going to have cheap beer, it’s The Bourbon! Don’t expect every place to have cheap alcohol, it’s mainly liqour laws and them trying to make back the cost. Yes, 8.50 is a high price for a Guinness…but you can always try elsewhere, or buy some from a store. What they’ve done with their beer list is fairly simple: keep it neat, clean (that is to say, no Bud/Canadian/Kokanee, they aren’t nuts for being able to distinguish a lesser quality beer), and varied. I’ll probably go check it out once they’ve got their kitchen up and running.

  • darren

    I’m with Dan on this one, it’s about as far from a UK pub as you can get. Smiley’s Pub looks more like a UK pub in side – the bar there is very London ish.

    I think the forumula that’s missing over here, is the tendancy for the bar to be the focal point of the joint. Brits like standing at or close to the bar so idle chit chat is easy. Tables are for private chats, food or birds.

    Very dissapointing and 8.5 for a Guiness WTF! This is China Town not yale town.

    I give up, there will never be a decent boozer in Vancouer. The Eagles in North Van, which has been adopted by a group of way ward Brits is the nearest thing on offer.

  • geoffro

    Went last night. Music issues were serious (hockey rock) but quickly remedied. Service cheery, but atmosphere/character needs work. Some old couches, local art, and a local band or two work help enormously. Looks like casks are on the way as well.

  • Peter

    The Guinness is 7.75 and includes the HST which is not unreasonable and not out of line with other bars. I like it that you have the choice of whether you want a sleeve or 20oz pint and that taxes are included in the price. 10oz glass of beer for $2.25 not bad!

    If your going to go with tv’s at least make them larger and at a lower eye level to see properly.

    i would have gone for more standing room and more comfy seating in certain areas. Great to have darts and pool tables. Looks very nice pub and great building. Lucky for Strathcona residents! Not many pubs in Vancouver being all restaurants. This place will do well.

  • Tan

    Living in the Gastown area, we’re lucky to have a wonderful pick of great restaurants & pubs that we visit often. When this one opened we were one of the first to visit and have been a few times since.
    We tried to reserve a table for a party of fourteen on a recent Friday and were told they don’t reserve on weekends (which is fair enough). We went anyway and as soon as we walked in, noticed that many of the tables had reserved signs. There was no explanation given other than ‘it’s the owners friends’, ‘it’s a group of forty’ and several other lame excuses.
    We’re disappointed so far with this pub. The service is lacking, the food is mediocre and the vibe has yet to be found.
    Come on guys…give us a decent local that can measure up to the rest!

  • Erica

    I went here for my birthday on Friday night because I had just returned from a trip to the UK and London specifically.
    The music was SOOO loud from the douchebag DJ that I couldn’t even hear the friend sitting right next to me. We ended up leaving and heading down the street half a block to The Brick House. It was full of hipsters so we were a little out of place not wearing flannel…but the atmosphere was much nicer and inviting than London Pub. AND we could actually hear each other when talking.
    I doubt I’ll be back to London Pub unless they crank the music down. There’s no dancefloor…why so loud? Really…

  • Erica

    …Oh and I forgot…
    What kind of English pub doesn’t have french fries? If you order chips…it’s potato chips, not fries…

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