This 100+ Seat Establishment in Gastown Was Inspired by Vancouver’s Beer Heritage

The ever-evolving Restaurant Graveyard series looks back at the countless, long-shuttered establishments that helped to propel Vancouver’s food and drink forward. Full A-Z with maps and photos here. May they never be forgotten!

The beer-focused Bitter Tasting Room was launched on Gastown’s edge in 2011 by the Heather Hospitality Group (see Salt Tasting Room, Irish Heather, etc.). The 100+ seater was located at 16 West Hastings St. — a beautiful heritage space that had been lovingly renovated opposite Pigeon Park.

Dozens of craft brews from home and abroad were served at its unique, semi-circular bar alongside pretzels, sausages, scotch eggs, pork pies and more. Its opening predated the rush of Vancouver’s craft beer renaissance by a year or two, its vision harkening back to the city’s original love affair with beer.

“At Bitter, we want you to join us on a journey to a time when Vancouver had a bustling beer culture. Before Prohibition shut down the taps, the local breweries were countless. Delicious ales, lagers and bitters poured free. A golden era in history, before the rise of the beer monopoly, when brewers made the beer they wanted to make, not the beer they had to make.”

Bitter was purchased by Lightheart Hospitality in 2015 and became Darby’s Gastown later that year.

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