I have been to the Rec Room a handful of times now. To either grab a bite at their restaurant or to play at their arcade. They opened within the world’s pandemic, so your experience depended on the restrictions at the time. However, with the world reopening and the arcade running in full, I figured it was time to finally review them for the blog. Since my original visit they now have new games and the opportunity to engage in a large group, all while eating and drinking, and playing arcade or carnival games.
And only recently did I learn that they also host live comedy shows as well. I did not even know that they had the stage to do this on. This is the recap of my first experience watching a Jokers Canada show.
In celebration of another year aging, my friend treated me to dinner and a comedy show at the Rec Room. The Rec Room makes a great venue considering their location. They are adjacent to the Brentwood skytrain station, and there is ample parking underground. The latter is free for 2 hours if you purchase food at either their sit down restaurant, bar, or concession stand.
We arrived an hour prior to the show, to be able to have dinner and a drink. You are able to order and enjoy food within their “I’m with the band” backroom stage, once they allow ticketholders in. However there was a delay in setting up the tables and chairs, so we had our meal at the bar for quicker service.
The menu at the bar is the same as the one at their in-house restaurant: Three10. Plenty of familiar bar eats like chips and dip, burgers, pizza, and even steak. Although having dined in before I knew what to expect today. Bar food prepared with bar quality ingredients. Not the best, but pretty good with enough drinks and the right company.
We started with a white blend from See Ya Later Ranch. Truthfully, I was surprised that they offered wine by the bottle, let alone kept it cool in an ice bucket, available for self-pouring into Rec Room branded, stemless wine glasses. But here we were, and we definitely enjoy it, and the ambiance better with it.
For food, we focused on quick and easy to share eats. Our neighbour had the nachos so we ordered the fully loaded ones. It did not come as expected. His was a pile of chips with 3 dips, set in 3 different ramekins. Ours was more like stadium nachos, with the nacho cheese that doesn’t harden, it stays runny for a saucy bite, topped with dollops of tomato salsa spread around and a big scoop of guacamole to finish it all off.
We opted to not add on meat for more, as I find that with enough dressing, nachos do not need meat. Instead, we ordered a plate of hot buffalo wings to share. I liked the size of them, but found they were dry on the inside and there was not enough dip to address each bite. Overall, everything was as expected bar quality food, with a casual chain selection and pricing. You pay more for the event-style setting, and it does make it more worthwhile.
As for the show itself, it is first come first served, and many refuse to sit up front, for fear of being add-lib-ed into the set. I on the other hand, love the spotlight by association. So was happy to be one of the last ticket holders to arrive, as we were directed to the seats they “saved for us” up front. Once again, once seated, you are able to order food or drink to enjoy during the show. But be warned, there was only 2 servers rushing about, and it was difficult to stop either for an event pricing bottle of wine.
As for the show itself, the comedians are assembled by Jokes Canada, introducing the city to local and cross Canada comedians; then hosting them at such intimate settings. Naturally, the show and the experience does vary between comedian, set, and the audience that is present. Speaking from my own experience, I had a great time. Both my guest and I are of Asian heritage so related to the communication and family issues presented by our first act and the head liner. And my guest is a mother, so resonated well with the comedian who is one as well and spoke to her traumatic experience raising children. The rest of the audience laughed particularly hard at the male comedian who lives in a trailer, refers to himself as a hillbilly and has a lisp.
After all, the trick with live comedy is relevancy. You need to be able to relate to your comic, and what they say should strike a familiar cord, and if it doesn’t, it won’t get the laugh.
After the set, still pumped on wine, with a face sore from smiling, we stumbled into the arcade for some fun and games. The Rec Room is less busy on a weekday, and later in the evening. So, there are minimal lines, if any. Here, you can walk the aisle, choosing the game you wish to play at leisure. Tokens get preloaded on to a band you wear, and scan to play. It also allows you to earn tokens digitally. The latter saves time and paper, but you do lose out than winner’s feeling, with not being able to collect ribbons of tickets to redeem for cheap prizes.
Some of my favourite games and the ones I tend to gravitate towards include: the basketball shoot out, Mario Kart, House of the Dead; and Hungry Hungry Hippo. The latter most has you straddling actual plastic hippos, where you have them chomp down on balls, like with the actual board game.
In closing, there is so much to see and do at Rec Room, a fun spot for kids of all ages. And with comedy shows available, you have another reason to visit. Afterall, where else can you enjoy a comedy show out of downtown Vancouver, and in my case, closer to home in Burnaby?
The Rec Room at Brentwood
1920 Willingdon Ave Unit 2106, Burnaby, BC V5C 0K6