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 list of shuttered Gastown restaurants is long and sadly growing longer. It’s an area in constant flux, fed with a steady stream of cruise ship normies and cultured foodies alike. And while the pandemic has been hard on a lot of neighbourhoods, I can’t help but feel like Gastown is taking the brunt. From boutique retail shops to dive bars, the list of closed or moved businesses reads like this:
Army and Navy, Wildebeest, Pub 340, Lamplighter, Clough Club, Irish Heather, Salt, Nouvelle Nouvelle, Livestock, Ollie Quinn, 131 Water Kitchen and Bar, MIA, Prado/Smart Mouth, Parliament, Peckinpah, Rogers Chocolates, E:cle, Inuit Gallery of Vancouver, Poke Shop, Fresh Bowl, Structube, David’s Tea, Megabite Pizza, Litchfield, Orling and Wu, Espace D, ARC, Evo, Tuc Craft Kitchen, Six Hundred Four, M0851, Ampersand Bistro, Revel Room, Eyeland, Metropole, Nicli, La Mezcaleria, Charles Bar, Strike Mvmnt, Coquille, Bauhaus, Sardine Can, and probably a ton of others…
Add these to the fabled eateries already in the Restaurant Graveyard (Judas Goat, Mosquito, Boneta, Bauhuas, The Abbey, Cork and Fin, Tempranillo, Cobre, Sea Monstr Sushi, Chill Winston, and Blacktail Florist) and it feels like a revolving door. A lot of the places above have been replaced – Kozak in the Bauhaus/Boneta spot, Gringo in the Judas Goat location, Local in place of Chill Winston, and Roosh where Peckinpah used to be – so there’s some cautious optimism.
Without getting into the politics of high rents passed onto small business or the so-called worker shortage, Gastown is going through a rough patch. The sensationalist media stories painting the historic hood as some crime-ridden cesspool don’t help.
But for me one the most heartbreaking stories is that of the Greedy Pig. This cozy, unpretentious Saskatchewan-themed tavern was a beer- and bourbon-lovers’ living room (the drink list was created by none other than local barman, Nick Devine) with a seasonal food menu (the entirety of which could have been featured in the Comfort Food Guide to Vancouver) and an evocatively historic century-old room.
On top of the costs associated with the pandemic, owners Allison and Cameron McKinnon had to battle Cam’s throat cancer and resulting laryngectomy. With Cam unable to work, Allison struggled to keep the gastropub open.