DINER: A Sneak Peek Inside Mark Brand’s Soon To Open “Portside” At 7 Alexander St.

by Andrew Morrison | As we reported last week, Mark Brand (of Save On Meats, Boneta, The Diamond, et cetera) has picked up the old Post Modern space at 7 Alexander in Gastown (next to Chill Winston) with plans to turn it into a three-level pub and live music venue called Portside.

Start looking forward to a three level, 24 tap craft beer bar and live music venue called Portside. It will see some 120 seats and a standing capacity for about 240 people, with a pronounced Halifaxian – er, Haligonian – vibe (the managerial staff being east coast ex-pats). It will be managed by Newfoundland import Andrew Flynn, most recently of Chinatown’s East of Main. Brand says his ultimate goal with the place is to make it “the friendliest pub in Vancouver”.

Though Portside will be a liquor primary establishment, they will operate a food program; a charming, Dan Climan-designed kiosk that trades server-dispensed tokens for hot dogs, dim sum, and pulled pork sandwiches. (“Basically” Brand enthused, “you’re at Coney island.”) I only had a few minutes to take a look yesterday afternoon, but as you can see from the shots above, they’ve already really done a number on the joint. Expect a more in-depth look next week when things are a little closer to opening day, which is coming a lot sooner than I think even Brand et al anticipated…

ALL ANTICIPATED OPENINGS

—————————————————————————————–

Andrew Morrison lives and works in Vancouver as editor-in-chief of Scout, and National Referee & Judge at the Canadian Culinary Championships. He also contributes regularly to a wide range of publications, radio programs, and television shows on local food, culture and travel; collects inexpensive things; and enjoys rare birds, skateboards, cocktails, shoes, good pastas, many songs, and the smell of camp fires.

  • Tuffy

    Yessss!

  • Peter

    Impressive! Looks fantastic.

  • Lulu

    Was this the Twilight Zone? If yes, between this and the Waldorf I’m on the first plane out of here.

  • Hungry Foodie

    Space looks really great cept for the kitchy pne rigged game booth at the end.

  • Julian Mondragon

    Definitively , is the type of space that Vancouver as a city is waiting for !!!!
    Ps. Just checking for opening time and if is gonna be any job fair ??? Stoke to be able to join the team!!!

  • Geebs

    We need more live music venues with good taste, design and product. I hope this ends up being one. I don’t give a flying monkey where it is, or who runs it. Fingers crossed.

  • Oz

    So, the same Mark Brand that was on CBC’s The Big Decision, saying his last dollars were sunk in the ailing Save-On Meats and he needed quick investment to or he’d be homeless? Got it.

  • James

    I hope he deals with the noise issue. This is a residential street and public drunkenness nor noise will be tolerated by those who live there. Sadly, the Post Modern did not give a damn about those issues. This site can work but only if Mark addresses local concerns.

    I live near the site and do see much potential for the concept but it must be done right. Do not over-serve the drunks, control crowd noise outside, get a backdoor that does not let every sound come through it. If this is done the venue may work.

  • james

    You live downtown man.

  • Tom Duncan

    As a 20 year resident of this neighbourhood I have seen many Owners of this space ,all of whom have had little or no repect for their neighbours.
    Brand has a great space and I wish him luck with his new venture.
    I would remind him however that this is a Residential Street and the success of this venture will depend on his ability to control noise both on the outside and from the inside.

  • James

    Noise comments on this site are here to share with Mark our years of experience with this venue. We do hope he addresses the issues so he can have a successful pub and avoid the problems that have plagued this location and its previous owners.

    I have lived down here for 15 years and have seen many owners come and go from this site. As residents we know what will work and what will not work. The noise issue is a very real one at this location. Yes, I live downtown and an elevated level of noise is to be expected but this venue has very poor sound proofing and often has crowds of drunks lived up until 3 AM. This is unreasonable and ultimately will hurt the business.

    I feel it is best that the new owner is aware of the issues before they become a problem.

    I do feel that this can be a great venue.

  • ryan

    No offense or anything, but if you want to live on a quiet, “residential street,” there are plenty of them available that ARE NOT DOWNTOWN… if you choose to live downtown, surrounded by bars, restaurants, stores, nightlife, I don’t really think you’re in a position to complain about the noise.

    That aside, congrats to the good folks putting this place together… looks great! Can’t wait to check it out!

  • James

    Hi Ryan, downtown does not equate with out of control noise or drunkeness. Anyone who has lived in Gastown for 10 or more years is very, very tolerant of many things – including noise! :)

    It is too simplistic to say you live in Gastown and therefore any noise level or public drunkeness should be acceptable. I do love the vibe of living here and I do like the idea of the Portside – but for all concerned it is best to identify issues and address them.

    As noted in my above post extra noise is expected downtown but please believe me that this location has special issues with noise. ( joined foundations with other buildings, Gastown has continuous hard scaping of building fronts- thus the canyon sound effect (the rest of downtown was developed under the Vancoverism model which dissipates sound), direct venting of air and sound to a street with over 1,000 resident (most of us have been here over 10 years) etc.

    Maybe the solution is to go back to a 1 AM closing, which it was until recently, or address the noise issues and remain open until 3 AM.

    For any pub or food service venue the local residents are its steady source of income as day in, day out customers. For a pub that hopes to be the friendliness in Vancouver it should focus on becoming a valued part of the community.

    To restate from my above post – we are sharing our experiences with this location so issues can be addressed and the Postside can become a successful, longterm part of Gastown.

    No other bar/ restaurant location in Gastown has had this much turnover in ownership. It is time for a longterm success and all we are doing is giving helpful advise.

  • ryan

    James, well said… thank you for your clarity on the matter.

  • James

    Ryan, look forward to buying you a pint at the Portside sometime. Cheers

  • john

    Ryan-of course living downtown has it’s challenges with noise but to discredit living downtown and not having the right to peace and quiet, is quite simply a stupid comment.
    Gastown (like it or not) is now a vibrant community/neighbourhood, filled with professional/families etc. who spend alot of money to keep restaurants/pubs/furniture stores/clothing boutiques etc afloat in the hood.
    It is these very people and this environment that Portside is capitalizing on(LOL).
    I am hopeful that the new pub will respect the neighbourhood-young drunk club goers screaming at all hours of the morning and clubs blaring music downtown or not is ignorant and unexceptable…

  • Jane

    Well said John.
    Many neighbours were completely fed up with Post Modern’s clientelle bevaiour(pissing/vomiting on nearby buildings) and line-ups full of loud ignorant mid 20′s drunks, definitely will not be tolerated this time around.

  • john

    Ryan:
    Of course living downtown has it’s challenges with noise but to discredit living downtown and not having the right to peace and quiet, is quite simply a stupid comment.
    Gastown (like it or not) is now a vibrant community/neighbourhood, filled with professional/families etc. who spend alot of money to keep restaurants/pubs/furniture stores/clothing boutiques etc afloat in the hood.
    It is these very people and this environment that Portside is capitalizing on(LOL).
    I am hopeful that the new pub will respect the neighbourhood-young drunk club goers screaming at all hours of the morning and clubs blaring music downtown or not is ignorant and unexceptable…

  • Scout Magazine

    Hmm, FYI: we’re getting several “anti-noise” comments submitted from the same IP at the same time but with different names. Sounds like we have one person on our hands, trying to come across as many in order to make a more impactful point. Just sayin’.

  • Kyla

    I live in the neighbourhood and I’m really looking forward to Portside. I think it’ll be a much better “fit” than Post Modern. I live next to the train tracks which are SUPER NOISY so I’m not a “wimp” when it comes to noise. However, I empathize with the above comments about the noise that is emitted from the bar/club goers. Drunken 20ish year olds who hang around outside a bar/club yelling, screaming, spitting, puking, pissing etc is not cool. Most establishments in Gastown thankfully do not condone that behaviour. Therefore, good riddance Post Modern and hello Portside. (PS – I REALLY hope you’ll over some veggie options!!!) xo

  • Bob Dobalina

    Of course that would be the case Scout, NIMBY’S are the lowest form of life. Especially a NIMBY who knowingly moved into a location that has had a clube or bar in it for the past 20 years.

  • James

    Two comments and one review.

    Comment 1
    Just to clarify the suggestion that only one person is complaining about noise issues. I know four people who have commented on here. Myself. my partner, Tom Duncan, and Kyla. This is not just one person.

    ( Scout Staff – please contact the City’s Liquor Licensing to confirm that there is record of issues regarding noise, drunkenness, public urination etc.)

    Comment 2
    Bob, ok, lets roll things back to the time I moved into Gastown. That would mean rolling back bar closing hours to 1 am , removing the extra 600 plus drinking seats that have been added to Gastown in the last few years and disallowing food primary locations from acting as de facto bars from midnight onwards. We are not asking for that – just a degree of livability .

    Bars have been given many,many perks in the last few years – often at the expense of those who live here. Hard to call us NIMBYS since we are the only neighborhood in Canada to accept a safe injection site and many services that other Vancouver neighborhoods will never accept. We are not antibar – just that we would like a level of respect for the community. The comments about the noise from this location are valid.

    Portside Review.

    This place will give the Irish Heather a run for its money. Decor is not Eastcoast – more westcoast meets a touch of cowboy. Many different seating options and the multilevel breaks up the place – it feels a bit more intimate than the size suggests. The multilevel makes it difficult to act as a live music venue – from only 1/3 – 1/2 of the seats you can see the stage.

    The beer selection is good but do not expect Eastcoast prices. Food selection is very limited. Tried the $5 hotdog. It was OK but much better to save your $5 and buy a hotdog out on the street. The pulled pork looks interesting.

    I am sure this will get a crowd for the next year or so.

    It seems to fall into grouping of the Heather, Guilt, Lamplighter, Alibi Room, Revel, etc etc. – but does not stand out from the others. It makes one wonder if Gastown has jumped the Shark?

  • john

    Well said James, could not have said it any better myself.

    Your NIMBY comment is classic and so to point…awaiting Bob Dobalina to crawl out of his hole and back up his ‘lowest form of life’ comment. Bob??? You need to back up the utter ignorance of your comment.

    And yes Scout Staff, please contact City Liquor Licensing and you will find atleast 1 person on their hands who have complained of noise levels from the old Post Modern for many, many,many,many,many years now…(um more like 100′s of people, ‘ just sayin’).