Cheers to Three Years of Beer-Forward Gastown Restaurant, ‘The Magnet’

Third in the trifecta of local establishments from the clever crew behind Alibi Room and Brassneck Brewery, The Magnet is celebrating their third anniversary today (April 28th), and we wanted to give them a big ol’ pat on the back in honour of the occasion.

The Magnet opened its doors to much anticipation from beer- and food-lovers alike, at the end of April 2019. We immediately, and unsurprisingly, took a fancy to the new concept – not only for their beer list, good food, and friendly staff, but also for their creativity and sense of humour.

Case in point: the colourful and unusual art on the walls, including a triangle-themed mural that is a tongue-in-cheek reference to The Magnet’s location (a less-trafficked block of Gastown just around the corner from Victory square) that owner Nigel Springthorpe sometimes calls “The Bermuda Triangle”. This theme also factored into the naming of the restaurant.

“I guess I always knew the location would be a little off the beaten path, and the name [The Magnet] to me speaks of attraction and repulsion…like-minded folks being drawn toward something by an invisible force, perpetual motion, etc.”

What nobody (including Springthorpe) could have predicted was the overwhelmingly oppositional force of the 2020 pandemic (basically Kryptonite for fledgling and well-established restaurants alike, and arguably especially detrimental to Downtown Vancouver…add to that The Magnet’s already elusive situation) which hit right when the restaurant should have been getting its legs. What ensued was a complete remodelling – both of the business scheme, into a solely take-out and off-sales joint with a new packaged house brand (Fridge Magnet) of “perfect lil’ pies”, condiments, ice cream sandwiches; and of the interior, into a more intimate and less communal arrangement. Plus, an extended closure and, finally, a “Re-Re-Re-Re-Opening”.

Something else that likely couldn’t have been foreseen was the portentous and renewed significance of The Magnet’s cheeky lil’ motto: “Let’s stick together.” Here’s hoping that the restaurant’s magnetism is recharged and pulling crowds through its doors for many years to come.

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