Brew pubs Spotlight

Sipping Spotlight: Vancouver’s Bells & Whistles

There’s no shortage of places in Vancouver to enjoy a pint of local beer. Drinkers are spoiled in Vancouver with the wealth of options including cozy or stylish brewery tap rooms, pubs or restaurants that cater the the beer lover. But Bells & Whistles has managed to find a way to stand out from the crowd.

Located at 3296 Fraser Street, the beer hall (don’t you dare call it a pub) already benefits from the ‘cool’ factor of being in very close proximity to well reviewed Savio Volpe, Matchstick Coffee and Crowbar (one of my personal favourite cocktail bars). But, rather than just resting of the laurels of being in a good area, Bells & Whistles has taken a very dedicated approach for both their design and beer program.

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It’s clear right from walking in that they’ve taken a minimal and clean approach to the overall aesthetic of the space which is complimented by the floor to ceiling windows bringing in plenty of natural light. The walls are adorned with the frequently rotating tap offerings which encourages drinkers to look around the restaurant for the best taps on offer. They’ve also smartly only positioned a few TV’s in central points, making it more of a social space rather than a “stare at a glowing box” style drinking establishment.

The real star of the show here is the beer, which has been carefully curated to provide something for everyone. There are some regular taps, including offerings like Backcountry Brewing in Squamish, Four Winds and Bomber which are sure to satisfy the casual drinker; but for the dedicated enthusiast, the rotators and tap takeovers are absolutely killer. Bells & Whistles has taken the approach of attempting to source some of the rarest beer in the province, and sourcing hard to find beer from other provinces, within the US, and internationally.

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As an example, Superflux, one of BC’s hardest to source brewers is regularly on rotation along side other brewers like Pfriem and Boneyard. Recently they’ve hosted a series of tap takeovers to celebrate collaborations from Field House or feature beer from Quebec brewer Brasserie Dunham.

Granted, a glass of these rare brews are going to set you back a little more than the average drinker will be used to. As an example, a 16oz glass of the recent Brasserie Dunham features were in the range of $11.50. But that’s not really the point; if you’re on the hunt for beer you’d otherwise not be able to drink in Vancouver, chances are you’re likely to shell out a few extra dollars to enjoy it.

While there are cocktails and wine available, Bells & Whistles truly shines in the beer department. If you’re looking for a venue that isn’t a dark, dingy sports bar with a great selection of unique beer, this is the place to be.

Check out their upcoming events list to see what tap takeovers are coming up. They are generally on a first come, first serve basis so if there’s something you’re absolutely set on tasting, better to get there early than risk having it tapped out.


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