This is my long awaited visited to Olympic Village. Here I got a beautiful view of Science World, still waters, the city that I grew up in; and there right in the fore ground is “Tap and Barrel”. As their name eludes, they have beers on tap and wine by the barrel
The restaurant has two floors, each with a patio, accompanying an outstanding view. Inside you are able to get the same scenery at a distance, with floor to ceiling windows and no shades. You walk in and admire their bars. The one on the first floor hosts rows of local beers and their taps. And the top floor has wooden barrels of wine to pour. With all this beer and wine to choose from they cleverly offer taster options for both; which they have named “flights”. The presentation of both was a little lack lustre. I have had tasters on blocks and paddles and it really elevates the drinking experience. Here it is 3 short glasses placed on a piece of paper with numbered drink rings printed on to it. Below each ring is where your bartender neatly prints which is what. My disappointment in presentation was furthered when the “wine flights” came in the exact same way as the beers before it did. I would have appreciated each of the white, rose, and red in a miniature wine glass. Proper wine glasses are designed to allow for better breathing of your wine. This increase in air adds to the bouquet of the wine and gives you that regal sophistication when sipping. I got neither here, and it really took away from the beauty of the wine. For both “flights”, I got our server to suggest his favorites from different categories. A lot of effort is put into choosing their house beers and wines. They offer a good selection that not only satisfies every pallet, but are ones that are home grown and support our province. We were impressed that the “Stone boat” rose was only available here and at a winery in Oliver.
The dress code is street casual. Both sexes in tee shirts, women in skirts and shorts and men in cargos. The front of some shirts boast “Tap and Barrel” as “one of BC’s best companies to work for 2012”. Something that they are so proud of, that it is immortalized on to fabric.
There is a great vibe to the place. Everyone is happy, laughing, and filling the space with lively energy. My only beef is the tables are too close for intimacy and the lack of shade to block out the at time bothersome sun.
The “bacon chips” were a disappointment. They were described to me as baked bacon, that is seasoned and deep fried, then served with house made scratch catsup. I found this no more than crispy bacon pieces with salsa for dipping. I could have had both at home, but at $5 I was not too bent out of shape.
“Jumbo wood stone oven baked giant pretzel with rock salt”. Had it served with their spicy mustard and a beer and cheddar dipping sauce. The pretzel was amazing, leagues better than the ones you get from a stall in the mall. Inside the dough was chewy, outside had a great smokey flavour from the oven. The sauces gave each bite its flavour. The $2 extra was worth it for the cheddar bacon sauce. Melty cheese and bread are always a winning combo.
“PB&J burger” named so because of the chipotle peanut butter and bacon jam. The patty was 7oz of certified angus beef seasoned to perfection; then sandwiched between their potato barrel bun with a generous slathering of house mayo. The finishing touch is their “best deep fried pickle”. You are given the option for either a side salad or sea salt fries, or as in my case you can get a little of both. The burger had hints of curry power. And the peanut butter reminded me of Southeast Asian satay peanut sauce. A great burger, that is not a taste for everyone.
“False creek chef salad” made with jumbo prawns, scallops, mussels, salmon, and a white wine vinaigrette. We were not caught of guard, thanks to the warning that the seafood, sans the salmon, was intended to be cold. This dish reminded me why you don’t order salads at a pub. The salmon was cooked well, but was tasteless. Each seafood component was ok on its own, but the vinaigrette did nothing to bring them all together. There was not even enough seasoning for the greens.
Would I come back? – Yes, the thought of the patio on a hot day, the city skyline as scenery, and the giant bird statues across the way are enough to entice me back. The amazing fun food at decent prices seal the deal. With plenty of snacking options this is an ideal place for a drink after work, to unwind.
Would I recommend it? – Yes, the concept of beer and wine tasters is fun. A perfect place for beer and wine connoisseurs to come together and discuss their craft. Just remember, “beer before wine and you are fine” or was is “wine before beer and you are clear”? Don’t deny your cravings.
TAP & BARREL
1 Athletes Way, Vancouver BC, V5Y 0B1