Wildebeest Crew To Launch ‘Glory Days’ In The Fraserhood This Summer

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Josh Pape and James Iranzad – the duo behind Bufala, Wildebeest and Lucky Taco – are working on a new restaurant together, this time with long-time operations manager Nick Miller. They’ve just taken possession of the main floor of a brand new building in the Fraserhood – a modern mid-rise still under construction at 3296 Fraser Street (northeast corner with E. 17th Avenue). They’ve been developing the casual concept for well over a year now, toying with an idea that should midwife a rare bird of sorts: a thinking person’s sports bar.

To understand what that is it’s likely easiest to first understand what it is not. There will be no framed jerseys on the walls. Budweiser lights won’t go nuts every time someone scores a goal. Flat screen televisions won’t be numbered in the dozens. Shitty beer won’t rule the taps. The food won’t border on the amusingly bad. And the design won’t suffer the tediously typical social kitchen restobar affronts Vancouverites have come to expect from the milieu. I see it as the contrarian, soft-spoken twin of every sports bar I’ve ever been in.

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I see it thus because I know James and Josh (above) as the unrepentant sports fans they truly are. Whether they admit it or not, this project isn’t about anybody other than themselves and what they want while watching sports. It is the most transparently selfish act of restaurateuring I’ve seen since Uwe Boll announced plans for Bauhaus because nobody made the German food he liked. I know this because I’ve watched them log the hours over the years, really putting in the time enduring everything from wild Canucks playoff runs to World Cup nail-biters.

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Glory Days – as the upcoming new restaurant is called – is a fine idea, and not just because most people enjoy sports more than German food. It’s something the neighbourhood could really use. There are bakeries, pho shops, ice cream parlours, jerky joints, vegetarian restaurants, pizzerias, taquerias, slick cafes, even a highbrow award-winner or two, but no place (that I can think of) to drink craft beer, eat good food and kick back to watch the big game on the big screen in a big room full of the equally riveted.

Wildebeest executive chef Alessandro Vianello is designing the menu. I won’t detail the draft I’ve seen except to say that everything on it will be analyzed through the lenses of Josh and James’ personal prisms of past sports bar experiences. And that’s a good thing. As I’ve indicated above, they’re doing this for themselves more than they’re doing it for anyone else. They don’t just want a good burger. They want a great burger. Likewise chicken wings, garlic fries, hot dogs, soft serve ice cream, and so on.

It’s a nice-sized space at 2,888 sqft, and the design aims to get 122 seats out of it. A 28 seat patio will wrap around the corner sidewalk and the frontage is all floor to ceiling windows, so expect light and sun. The interior build is being done by Milltown Contracting, with aesthetics up to Ricky Alvarez of Tinto Creative. Ricky is a long-time muse of award-winning restaurant designer Craig Stanghetta. The world maps (in nails) at Revolver, the golden scissors and cleavers at Pidgin, the endless neon doorway at Clough Club – all Ricky. I’m excited to see what he comes up with for Glory Days. I trust it’ll be different, and therefore cool.

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“We want it to be a casual, comfortable, come-as-you-are, neighbourhood sort of place,” Josh explained to me earlier this week (between college basketball quarters). “We care a lot about sports but we’re not going to beat you over the head with it.” To wit, their plan is for two really big TVs anchored by a 16 seat, horseshoe-shaped bar serving beer from 16 taps (plus 3 cocktails on tap). To amp up the fun-factor the room will also offer guests the opportunity to play free-throw basketball, skeeball and foosball. It sounds like it’ll be a good time even in the dog days when there are no big games on.

Nick Miller is doing the branding, just as he did at Lucky Taco. I’m not sure if the script stuff I’ve seen (example above) is locked or not, but it gives you an idea of the attitude they’re striking. If everything goes according to plan they expect doors to open this summer. Service will kick off at lunch and they’ll run the same menu until late. We’ll have more on the project as it develops.

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There are 17 comments

  1. Hello from less than a block away! As a diehard Nucks fan I say welcome to the neighborhood! Can’t wait.

  2. Really?!? “but no place (that I can think of) to drink craft beer, eat good food and kick back to watch the big game on the big screen in a big room full of the equally riveted.”

    What about The Eastwood just blocks away?

  3. @YVRSeeker. The Eastwood sucks. They put guacamole on a burger and call it “The Dirty Sanchez”. Get it? Hungry? Jesus. Also, they do a total ripoff of Chambar’s “Mussels Congolaise” and it’s not even good. It’s basic bullshit, a harbinger of the neighbourhood’s plastic bro-tastic future.

  4. Arty beer, decent food and sports screens nearby at: St Augustine, Steel Toad, The Whip, Eight and a Half. A sports bar is a sports bar.

    Puleese – less sports bars, more wine bars?

  5. Nope is correct. Eastwood has awful beer selection. Walked out after seeing the menu.

  6. Not to dogpile on the Eastwood but it is an unfair comparison. They aren’t in the same league as the Wildebeest guys. They do a great job with pizza at Bufala so bring on the burgers and fries!

  7. I hope the only sports they show are things like polo, croquet, skeet shooting, penny farthing bike racing, and chess.

  8. Comparing “Glory Days” to “The Eastwood” is a little ridiculous. Glory Days will be a different grade of sports bar than The Eastwood, and Im sure they do and will offer the best quality they can to our Fraserhood. So lets not cast shade, instead embrace a new option while supporting places we already enjoy!

  9. Nice original name. Have a little class and don’t piggy back off others years of hard work.

  10. I normally avoid sports bars because reasons but I’ll give this a try. I’ve lived in this hood since 2003 and there are strangely few places in the hood that serve decent beer (Rickards Red was the “craft beer” option on tap at one un-named place several blocks east on k/way). I echo Sportz Enthusiast’s comment requesting the sports on TV would be best if croquet and chess.

  11. Just so there is no confusion, the name got changed, though the concept remains the same. It is called ‘Bells and Whistles’. Amazing. Check it out : )

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