Downtown

Downtown & Yaletown

  • Rosy and Victoria doing menu inserts at the Yaletown location of Hapa Izakaya, just days before opening
  • Granville Street
  • Yaletown dogwalker
  • Grand Hotel Exhibition | Vancouver Art Gallery
  • Grand Marshal and host, Pino Posteraro
  • Blue Water Cafe | 1095 Hamilton St. | Yaletown | 604-688-8078 | www.bluewatercafe.net
  • Granville St

We’ve put Downtown & Yaletown together in our neighbourhoods because not only are they umbilically attached by way of Cambie/Homer Street, they also share the same modern, decidedly urban character. The architecture of downtown’s core is certainly older and more diverse (Vancouver Art Gallery, Hotel Vancouver, Christ Church Cathedral), but its newest and tallest buildings share the same Yaletown and Coal Harbour “City of Glass” aesthetic, so much so that it is at risk of being swallowed by its surrounding uniform ubiquity. The natural consequence, at least from the sidewalk perspective of the humble pedestrian, is a seamlessness that makes it tricky to distinguish the neighbourhoods apart.

That being said, there is an ordered box of blocks within Yaletown – the area inside Pacific, Homer, Drake, and Nelson – that is very distinct. It arose from the original warehouse/industrial district after Expo 86 as a gritty, somewhat edgy and affordable place to open fashionable eateries and boutiques. This area became the “it” destination spot of the ’00s, especially on the food and beverage front, with countless restaurants and lounges opening between the turn of the millennium and the 2010 Olympic Games. Its success, however, also attracted the big restaurant chains (eg. Cactus Club, Milestones, The Keg, Earls) and made the lease rates soar, two things that have put the area’s cool factor on ice and made it difficult for independent operations to compete. Today, only a handful of excellent eateries remain within this grid, like lighthouses in a raging sea of awful.

The liver of the downtown core has long been the Granville Entertainment District (GED), that is “the strip” of Granville St. between West Georgia and Drake. It used to be known as Theatre Row back in the day for its preponderance of movie theatres and live music/theatre venues. Today, only a few performance-oriented establishments remain, the movie theatres are all gone, and the business of “entertainment” is almost exclusively centred around the service of liquor to people coming in from the suburbs “to party”, which is to say fight, kick, spit, barf, stab, urinate, fuck, and occasionally shoot. Indeed, the modern GED serves as a cautionary tale. It is a black mark on City Hall’s dismal social engineering track record, for by purposely concentrating so many liquor primary establishments in one glammed-up touristy strip in the late 1990’s (so they could – ahem – “control” the drunks), they created an alcohol-fuelled, testosterone-driven shit-show that is of constant detriment to Vancouver’s reputation.

Of course it isn’t all bad, and if you’re really to understand what makes Vancouver tick, walking the GED’s length during the hectic course of a late Saturday night is absolutely essential, however unpleasant the prospect (and consequence) might be. It ain’t pretty, but the GED is – for better or for worse – an undeniable facet of who we are. It’s also important to note that downtown is so much more than just the GED. Though much of it is given over to the corporate, speculative, and financial world (not to mention the chain restaurants that aim to serve that world), there are many isolated pockets of fascination, like the ESL student concentrations around Dunsmuir and Howe, the Crosstown block of Beatty St., the growing food & books strip on the 300 & 400 blocks of West Pender, the vinyl shops of West Hastings, the grounds of the Vancouver Art Gallery, and so on. There’s a lot to explore and enjoy in these parts, so get at it!

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Which Yaletown eatery offers the best patio experience?

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the-colour-palette downtownyaletownpalette

In Downtown & Yaletown at the moment (our HOOD palettes are ever-changing), we’re seeing spray-on tan bronze/orange; Glowbal’s puke green; Montreal smoked meat at PHAT, Copper blue/green roof of the Hotel Vancouver; Cactus Club staff miniskirt black; Chambar burgundy and gold; Canucks green and blue (see also the Electra Building); Vancouver Whitecaps two shades of blue; dyed blond hair; Starbucks green; Translink (Skytrain) blue and yellow; the walls at Cioppino’s.

here-you-will-find

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AN ANCIENT BOWLING ALLEY WITH THE CITY’S MOST ANCIENT WASHROOM
LIVE MUSIC VENUES BOTH SMALL & LARGE
THE SUMMER FOLIAGE TUNNEL ON HORNBY (SEE PHOTO ABOVE)
THE ART DECO MASTERPIECE KNOWN AS THE MARINE BUILDING
PETTY DRIVERS/CYCLISTS ANGRY AT PETTY CYCLISTS/DRIVERS
THE SOARING KINETIC PENDULUM SCULPTURE IN THE LOBBY OF THE HSBC BUILDING
DRUNK SUBURBAN WANNABE GANGSTERS SPOILING FOR A FIGHT
THE STORIED PENTHOUSE STRIP CLUB
ROGERS ARENA AND BC PLACE (VENUES FOR VANCOUVER CANUCKS, WHITECAPS, BC LIONS)
THE EMBARRASSING SHITSHOW THAT IS THE GRANVILLE ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT
DOZENS OF BORING HIGH RISE BUILDINGS THAT ARE INDISTINGUISHABLE FROM ONE ANOTHER
THE INEXPLICABLE ABSENCE OF ROOFTOP PATIOS
BUS DRIVERS WHO COULD GIVE A SHIT
THE AWESOME CHAOS AND MAJESTY OF MCCLEOD’S BOOKS
STRETCHED SUV LIMOUSINES FILLED WITH SCREAMING GIRLS WITH NO RESERVATIONS
THE STUNNING ELECTRA BUILDING
GOOD PICNICKING IN DAVID LAM PARK
VERY SMALL DOGS LIVING IN VERY SMALL APARTMENTS
THE VANCOUVER ART GALLERY
ANNUAL 4/20 MARIJUANA CELEBRATIONS

what-to-eat-and-drink

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THE BURGER (AND SO MANY OTHER THINGS BESIDES) AT HAWKSWORTH
PRETTY MUCH ANYTHING AT CIOPPINO’S MEDITERRANEAN GRILL
MONTREAL SMOKED MEAT SANDWICHES AT PHAT
CANADIAN WHISKY BACON DONUTS AT CARTEMS
FRESH OYSTERS AT JOE FORTES
MIXED BAG OF EVERYTHING FROM KARAMELLER CANDY
CONFIT CHICKEN & PROSCIUTTO SANDWICHES AT UVA
COFFEE FROM CAFFE ARTIGIANO
OUTSTANDING MODERN PERUVIAN FARE ON THE SEAWALL PATIO AT ANCORA
MINIATURE SALTED CARAMEL CHEESECAKE AT SMALL VICTORY
CHICAGO STEAKS AT GOTHAM
JIDORI CHICKEN & FOIE GRAS GYOZA AT MINAMI
EAST WEST CRAB CAKES AT BIN 941
MOULES FRITES & PINK PEPPERCORN POUTINE AT CHAMBAR
DOUBLE STUFFED POTATOES AT HY’S ENCORE
SPECIAL “UNSUNG HERO” SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD MENU AT BLUE WATER CAFE
MAFALDA ALL’AMATRICIANA AT LA PENTOLA DELLA QUERCIA
TERIMAYO HOT DOG AT JAPADOG
SPAGHETTI POMODORO AT LUPO
ALSATIAN TARTS & A LA MINUTE BEEF TARTARE AT LE CROCODILE
MANHATTAN COCKTAIL AT BACCHUS

cool-things-of-note

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– Established in 1930, the Commodore Lanes is Canada’s oldest surviving bowling hall.

– The Roundhouse Community Centre in Yaletown features an original engine turntable as its amphitheater. This area, prior to post-Expo renovation, was a large industrial zone filled with warehouses and factories.

– Vancouver once boasted over 19,000 neon signs, most of them found along busy Granville Street. It was known during the 1940s and 50s as “The Great White Way”.

– The first Vancouver Art Gallery, opened in 1931, was located in a 1911 art deco-style building a few blocks down from its current location. At its entrance it featured large busts of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.

– From 1946-1948, the second Hotel Vancouver (two blocks from the current location) was used as housing for homeless World War II veterans.

things-we've-seen

  • Electra Building Building
    Electra Building Building
  • Hawksworth
    Hawksworth
  • Yale Hotel | Downtown
    Yale Hotel | Downtown
  • Gnocchi from Dirty Apron
    Gnocchi from Dirty Apron
  • Reader T.R. | Flying into Vancouver from Victoria | 8:00am
    Reader T.R. | Flying into Vancouver from Victoria | 8:00am
  • IMG_3420
  • The Royal Boulevardier | Hotel Vancouver
    The Royal Boulevardier | Hotel Vancouver
  • Looking down onto the foyer at the Vancouver Art Gallery
    Looking down onto the foyer at the Vancouver Art Gallery
  • Penthouse Night Club
    Penthouse Night Club
  • Flying Pig
    Flying Pig
  • 5841025618_11d201e593_z
  • Chambar-Feast
    Chambar-Feast
  • Medieval-style Belgian National Day Feast at Chambar
    Medieval-style Belgian National Day Feast at Chambar
  • Granville Street
    Granville Street
  • Vancouver Convention Centre
    Vancouver Convention Centre
  • Downtown Santa
    Downtown Santa
  • Bridge Yarn Bombing
    Bridge Yarn Bombing
  • Nico and Karri Schuermans | Chambar
    Nico and Karri Schuermans | Chambar
  • Downtown Lights Through Rain Speckled Windshield
    Downtown Lights Through Rain Speckled Windshield
  • Sun cuts through fog | Downtown
    Sun cuts through fog | Downtown
  • An idiosyncredible original on West Georgia. Love the facial expression.
    An idiosyncredible original on West Georgia. Love the facial expression.
  • Food Truck / Iconic CP Building
    Food Truck / Iconic CP Building
  • Pigeons Downtown
    Pigeons Downtown
  • Granville Street Mid-Summer
    Granville Street Mid-Summer
  • Robson Street Lounging
    Robson Street Lounging
  • DSC_1878
  • Downtown
    Downtown
  • Homer St. Cafe & Bar
    Homer St. Cafe & Bar
  • Homer St. Cafe & Bar
    Homer St. Cafe & Bar
  • Downtown
    Downtown
  • Dia Verde at Uva
    Dia Verde at Uva
  • Rainy Vancouverites
    Rainy Vancouverites
  • Mural detail at Dunsmuir & Beatty
    Mural detail at Dunsmuir & Beatty
  • IMG_9006
  • Chicken and Waffles
    Chicken and Waffles
  • Downtown
    Downtown
  • Downtown Pedestrian Traffic
    Downtown Pedestrian Traffic
  • Hockey Crowd
    Hockey Crowd
  • Wedgewood Hotel
    Wedgewood Hotel
  • IMG_5171
  • IMG_2698
  • IMG_2348
  • Blackbird Crew
    Blackbird Crew
  • Mall Crowds
    Mall Crowds
  • Chambar Medieval-style Belgian National Day Feast
    Chambar Medieval-style Belgian National Day Feast
  • Vancouver Art Gallery fountain mosaic
    Vancouver Art Gallery fountain mosaic
  • IMG_1066
  • Medieval-style Belgian National Day Feast at Chambar
    Medieval-style Belgian National Day Feast at Chambar
  • IMG_1062
  • The Roof Lounge at The Hotel Vancouver
    The Roof Lounge at The Hotel Vancouver
  • Cheat Day | Downtown Grilled Cheese
    Cheat Day | Downtown Grilled Cheese
  • IMG_5777
  • IMG_5809
  • Night Street
    Night Street
  • Vancouver Art Gallery
    Vancouver Art Gallery
  • Commodore Ballroom
    Commodore Ballroom
  • Al Fresco Vancouver
    Al Fresco Vancouver
  • Medieval-style Belgian National Day Feast at Chambar
    Medieval-style Belgian National Day Feast at Chambar
  • Alex Usow, partaking
    Alex Usow, partaking
  • IMG_8316
  • The Royal Boulevardier | Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
    The Royal Boulevardier | Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
  • IMG_0629
  • Medieval-style Belgian National Day Feast at Chambar
    Medieval-style Belgian National Day Feast at Chambar
  • Chambar
    Chambar
  • Saturday night mid-Olympic mayhem on Granville
    Saturday night mid-Olympic mayhem on Granville
  • Sun Building
    Sun Building
  • Cafe Medina Belgian Waffles with Lavender Milk Chocolate Sauce
    Cafe Medina Belgian Waffles with Lavender Milk Chocolate Sauce
  • The Orpheum
    The Orpheum
  • IMG_9994
  • Yew, Four Seasons
    Yew, Four Seasons
  • Olympic Hoser
    Olympic Hoser
  • Hotel Georgia
    Hotel Georgia
  • Cartel
    Cartel
  • Zip line
    Zip line
  • Chambar
    Chambar
  • IMG_5843
  • IMG_2584
  • Can you imagine?
    Can you imagine?
  • Rotisserie Chicken at The Homer St. Cafe & Bar
    Rotisserie Chicken at The Homer St. Cafe & Bar
  • Glasvegas at Richards on Richards
    Glasvegas at Richards on Richards
  • Owner/chef Julio Gonzalez-Perini of Lupo looks up from his pans
    Owner/chef Julio Gonzalez-Perini of Lupo looks up from his pans
  • Vancouver Art Gallery
    Vancouver Art Gallery
  • Al Fresco Vancouver
    Al Fresco Vancouver
  • IMG_5554
  • Sun Building
    Sun Building
  • In the kitchen...
    In the kitchen...
  • IMG_2693
  • Cocktails at The Loden Hotel
    Cocktails at The Loden Hotel
  • Hawksworth Cocktail Bar
    Hawksworth Cocktail Bar
  • Yolks Food Truck
    Yolks Food Truck
  • Downtown view
    Downtown view
  • Glasvegas at Richards on Richards
    Glasvegas at Richards on Richards
  • Wall Centre
    Wall Centre
  • Cinara | 350 W Pender St. | Downtown | 604-428-9694 | www.cinara.ca
    Cinara | 350 W Pender St. | Downtown | 604-428-9694 | www.cinara.ca
  • Free Marc Emery Rally Sept 19 2009  244
    Free Marc Emery Rally Sept 19 2009 244
  • IMG_5292
  • Server at Bin 941
    Server at Bin 941
  • Downtown Crowds
    Downtown Crowds
  • Italian girls | Al Fresco Vancouver
    Italian girls | Al Fresco Vancouver
  • Reader LV Downtown Cambie St Vancouver BC 2:20pm
    Reader LV Downtown Cambie St Vancouver BC 2:20pm
  • IMG_5990
  • Christiano Posteraro - traffic cop
    Christiano Posteraro - traffic cop
  • Homer St. Cafe
    Homer St. Cafe
  • Yaletown at Night
    Yaletown at Night
  • Vancouver Canucks Game
    Vancouver Canucks Game
  • Homer St. Cafe + Bar
    Homer St. Cafe + Bar
  • Free Range Piano Robson Street
    Free Range Piano Robson Street
  • IMG_8764
  • Waiting
    Waiting
  • David Hawksworth
    David Hawksworth
  • Busy streets Dowtown Rush
    Busy streets Dowtown Rush
  • Cocktails At Yew Four Seasons
    Cocktails At Yew Four Seasons
  • Marine Building Night Bell
    Marine Building Night Bell
  • Vancouver Art Gallery
    Vancouver Art Gallery
  • Convention Centre
    Convention Centre
  • IMG_9962
  • Hotel Vancouver
    Hotel Vancouver
  • Robson Street Summer Patio
    Robson Street Summer Patio
  • Celestino readies the first plate
    Celestino readies the first plate
  • Uva
    Uva
  • The Grand Hotel Fairmont, Pacific Rim
    The Grand Hotel Fairmont, Pacific Rim
  • Granville St
    Granville St
  • Hawksworth Patio
    Hawksworth Patio
  • IMG_4167
  • IMG_4145
  • Granville Street Neon
    Granville Street Neon
  • Seven ball corner pocket
    Seven ball corner pocket
  • IMG_5611
  • Reader C.F. | Chancery Place | Vancouver, BC | 10:30am
    Reader C.F. | Chancery Place | Vancouver, BC | 10:30am
  • IMG_4114
  • IMG_8930
  • The Electra Building
    The Electra Building
  • A slippery Dunsmuir St
    A slippery Dunsmuir St
  • Kate MacDougall | Al Fresco Vancouver
    Kate MacDougall | Al Fresco Vancouver
  • Chefs preparing to move their work from the Dirty Apron Cooking School to Republic
    Chefs preparing to move their work from the Dirty Apron Cooking School to Republic
  • Reflection of Hotel Vancouver Rooftop
    Reflection of Hotel Vancouver Rooftop
  • Burrard Station Blossoms
    Burrard Station Blossoms
  • Reader V.R. | Hotel Vancouver as seen from an office across the street | 3:30pm
    Reader V.R. | Hotel Vancouver as seen from an office across the street | 3:30pm
  • Cartel | owners Jesse Grasso, James Iranzad, Joel Watanabe
    Cartel | owners Jesse Grasso, James Iranzad, Joel Watanabe
  • Marine Building Entry
    Marine Building Entry
  • Playoffs!
    Playoffs!
  • Pigeons on Granville Street
    Pigeons on Granville Street
  • Cibo Trattoria
    Cibo Trattoria
  • From S.S. | Dunsmuir | Vancouver, BC | 6:30am
    From S.S. | Dunsmuir | Vancouver, BC | 6:30am
  • Allison, Hayato, and Sid taste the mystery wine, the Black Hills Estate Winery Alibi
    Allison, Hayato, and Sid taste the mystery wine, the Black Hills Estate Winery Alibi
  • Winter Street Scene | Downtown
    Winter Street Scene | Downtown
  • Paper Hound Books on Pender St | Downtown
    Paper Hound Books on Pender St | Downtown
  • Dia Verde | UVA
    Dia Verde | UVA
  • Revolving Doors at The Marine Building
    Revolving Doors at The Marine Building
  • Early Morning Empty Parking Lot
    Early Morning Empty Parking Lot
  • Bin 941
    Bin 941
  • DB Bistro executive chef Nathan Guggenheimer, winner of the Best Dressed Chef of the Year Award
    DB Bistro executive chef Nathan Guggenheimer, winner of the Best Dressed Chef of the Year Award
  • Bacchus Restaurant & Piano Lounge in the Wedgewood Hotel
    Bacchus Restaurant & Piano Lounge in the Wedgewood Hotel
  • Skating at Robson Ice Rink
    Skating at Robson Ice Rink
  • Finch's Tea + Coffee House on Pender
    Finch's Tea + Coffee House on Pender
  • Paper Hound Books | Downtown
    Paper Hound Books | Downtown
  • Boys being boys
    Boys being boys
  • Uva
    Uva
  • Robson Square
    Robson Square
  • Japadog, A Downtown Fixture
    Japadog, A Downtown Fixture
  • Commodore Ballroom Facade
    Commodore Ballroom Facade
  • Boneta boys
    Boneta boys
  • Vancouver Art Gallery:  A Modest Veil
    Vancouver Art Gallery: A Modest Veil
  • Justin Ault, owner of Hapa Izakaya | Scout Magazine
    Justin Ault, owner of Hapa Izakaya | Scout Magazine
  • Bowling moules at Bin 941
    Bowling moules at Bin 941
  • Olympic Spirit
    Olympic Spirit
  • Cartel co-owner James Iranzad on opening day
    Cartel co-owner James Iranzad on opening day
  • Cassidy Crowe of SIP Resto Lounge preps her "Geisha"
    Cassidy Crowe of SIP Resto Lounge preps her "Geisha"
  • The Templeton
    The Templeton
  • Electra Building Tile Detail
    Electra Building Tile Detail
  • Bacchus Restaurant & Piano Lounge in the Wedgewood Hotel
    Bacchus Restaurant & Piano Lounge in the Wedgewood Hotel
  • Red Satin Slip at Bacchus Lounge
    Red Satin Slip at Bacchus Lounge
  • Looking Up | Vancouver Art Gallery
    Looking Up | Vancouver Art Gallery
  • Hudsons Bay Building
    Hudsons Bay Building
  • Grand Hotel Exhibition | Vancouver Art Gallery
    Grand Hotel Exhibition | Vancouver Art Gallery
  • IMG_8758
  • Iranzad chows on his haunches...
    Iranzad chows on his haunches...
  • In full swing | Al Fresco Vancouver
    In full swing | Al Fresco Vancouver
  • And the winner is...Shaun Layton of George
    And the winner is...Shaun Layton of George
  • Bin 941
    Bin 941
  • Reader A.F. False Creek Vancouver 805pm
    Reader A.F. False Creek Vancouver 805pm
  • Reader M.K. | Crosstown | Vancouver, BC | 3:20pm
    Reader M.K. | Crosstown | Vancouver, BC | 3:20pm
  • Yaletown
    Yaletown
  • IMG_9098
  • Inebriated Canadian with mullet + friend
    Inebriated Canadian with mullet + friend
  • Rhek and Charlie, crushed a la Canucks at Dix
    Rhek and Charlie, crushed a la Canucks at Dix
  • Moda Hotel
    Moda Hotel
  • Delivery of dishes at the Art Institute's black box cooking competition
    Delivery of dishes at the Art Institute's black box cooking competition
  • Frankie digging Cartel
    Frankie digging Cartel
  • Red Truck on the Burrard St. Bridge
    Red Truck on the Burrard St. Bridge
  • Reader K.T. | Beatty Street | Yaletown | Vancouver, BC | 6:30am
    Reader K.T. | Beatty Street | Yaletown | Vancouver, BC | 6:30am
  • a little artistry from Shaun Layton of George
    a little artistry from Shaun Layton of George
  • Judges grade plates at the Art Institute's black box cooking competition
    Judges grade plates at the Art Institute's black box cooking competition
  • Al Fresco Vancouver
    Al Fresco Vancouver
  • From S.L. | Sheraton Wall Center (31st Floor) | Vancouver, BC | 9:36m
    From S.L. | Sheraton Wall Center (31st Floor) | Vancouver, BC | 9:36m
  • S.Y. | Victory Square | Vancouver, BC | 3:39pm
    S.Y. | Victory Square | Vancouver, BC | 3:39pm
  • Robson Street Summer Patio
    Robson Street Summer Patio
  • Granville St. | Vancouver, BC
    Granville St. | Vancouver, BC
  • Lupo Restaurant | 869 Hamilton Street
    Lupo Restaurant | 869 Hamilton Street
  • Banner day on Granville
    Banner day on Granville
  • Mark Brand represents
    Mark Brand represents
  • Six up
    Six up
  • Lupo Restaurant | 869 Hamilton Street
    Lupo Restaurant | 869 Hamilton Street
  • Granville St. | Vancouver, BC
    Granville St. | Vancouver, BC
  • Al Fresco Vancouver
    Al Fresco Vancouver
  • The Bar | Hapa Izakaya | Scout Magazine
    The Bar | Hapa Izakaya | Scout Magazine
  • Night falls | Al Fresco Vancouver
    Night falls | Al Fresco Vancouver
  • Sid Cross looks on at a Santa Claus convention in Gotham
    Sid Cross looks on at a Santa Claus convention in Gotham
  • Al Fresco Vancouver
    Al Fresco Vancouver
  • Co-owner Nico Schuermans and Dirty Apron chef instructor David Robertson
    Co-owner Nico Schuermans and Dirty Apron chef instructor David Robertson
  • Waiting on Hastings...La Taqueria opens September 8th...
    Waiting on Hastings...La Taqueria opens September 8th...
  • Solomon Seigel of Victoria's Solomon's presents his gorgeous "Lavender Haze"
    Solomon Seigel of Victoria's Solomon's presents his gorgeous "Lavender Haze"
  • Granville Street
    Granville Street
  • Robbie Kane | Medina Cafe
    Robbie Kane | Medina Cafe

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