We were driving by and with its lights on and parking lot full, this was as good as any place to dine at.
This craft kitchen and bar is attached to a privately own liquor store. Both entrance doors are side by side. A smart strategy, giving patrons the ability to go from one to the other. You start with a drink or two and take the party home with a bottle or four.
The bar’s entrance was an impressive wood and brick foundation with double doors. Their name branded on to wooden planks in Times New Roman. This snapshot was a good idea of the theme within. Inside, the dark of the room opens up with vaulted ceilings. The brightness of the wall to wall television screens lights up the space. Several flat screens broadcasting various sporting matches, one screen under another, and many more side by side, by side. Though without commentators, the overhead music with its base is what kept the place bumping.
The entirety of this setting is what you expect on a Friday night from a good bar. Walking in you could tell this was a safe bet for a good time in Port Moody. You could feel the energy from the visiting crowd, the vibe exuding from the bustling staff, and the joy of the people already seated, and many more coming in after 9pm. And best of all were the drunken bodies stumbling to the washroom after successful shots.
All this, coupled with a rustic comfortable feel taken from wood panels walls and worn wood furnishings. Whimsical signs invited you to drink, go outdoors, and to drink outdoors. “I’m outdoorsy. I like drinking outdoors”. “Go jump in a lake”.
There were several different areas for seating. An elevated section surrounding a stone fire place, a dining area with the option for large groups, and an outdoor closed off patio currently serving as a room to play pool in. We were given a high top overlooking the bar.
The bar was seated along a curve, it arched from one side of the room to the other. A well stocked and multi tapped line against a brick wall with wood slat for shelves. On tap were seasonal offerings with the option of having a few be part of curated flights. Though if you are looking for something with more kick, they also had plenty of seasonal cocktails available. Not surprising from a bar with a liquor store adjacent, their drink menu was a very impressive list to appease all palettes.
The food menu was pretty diverse as well. The bar basics like poutine, wings, and burgers were present. As well as interesting twists on classics like garlic infused fries, panko breaded Brie, and a coconut and cilantro seafood chowder. I thought long and hard over their confit garlic and goat cheese pizza served with a whole egg on top. In general I was pretty optimistic given their sub title of “craft kitchen” in their name. However my faith in titles would be mistaken, and my partner’s assessment of this just being a bar with “bar food” was dead on. Luckily we played it safe with chicken and pasta, two things most bars tend to do quite well.
The food took a long time to come; surprising, given we ordered it at 9pm and at this point in the night, majority of their patrons were happy with a liquid menu.
“Gnocchi and pulled braised beef”. Potato gnocchi topped with braised beef, tomato ragu, arugula, and shaved Parmesan. The dish was more meat then pasta: 1:4, gnocchi:beef. The pulled beef was good, but there was just too much of it to eat as a dish on its own, it needed a base. We ordered additional sides of garlic bread triangles, but we’re still left with enough meat to take home and make into a sandwich. But I thought it would be weird to doggy bag only the meat from a pasta dish, like I intentionally only ate all the soft and chewy gnocchi lumps. The tomato flavour in the sauce was present, but the sauce as a whole needed some kick. Spices, seasoning, even more salty cheese could have easily remedied this. I don’t often make use of my table seasonings, but I looked for the salt shaker and said yes to the freshly ground pepper. Each element of this plate was good, but bland and not very exciting all together.
“Cajun chicken”. Skin-on blackened Cajun chicken breast served with garlic mashed potatoes and Tuscan vegetable. These were flatted prices of chicken breast, orange from the spices. I wasn’t visually excited by it, you could tell the chicken was dry just cutting in. Though having it in a bite with buttered carrot and garlic mash helped. The chicken was seasoned very peppery, a tingling spice that creeped down the throat. Overall the base flavours were all there, and like the pasta above, it was just missing a little something to make it truly satisfying.
At one point we had great difficult finding our server. Eventually we spotted her sitting down and taking selfies with a group of young men. I guess if any establishment allowed this from their servers, it would be a place like this. So we waited with glasses of water left empty and my food cooling, wanting bread we couldn’t ask for. Similarly our neighbouring table was sat, but not greeted or approached in timely manner. But this was a busy bar, a rowdy place, I guess I couldn’t and shouldn’t expect prompt care. But there were just so many servers standing idle by the kitchen pass. I manage to meet eyes with a few as my head roved the room from side to side, but even with a wave and gesture, none cameas I wasn’t seated in their section. Eventually I just walked back to the entrance and listed my requests to the hostess, she agreed to help. And I eventually got want I wanted delivered to me by two other servers.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I would recommend them more for their setting then the food. And would personally like to return just to drink with a large group of friends. Shame they are sort of out of the way and hard to get to with transit. Don’t deny your cravings.