There is no doubt that Vancouver has a wealth of craft beer all across the city. There’s dozens of breweries just waiting to delight, but during those summer months, you’d better get used to enjoying those beers indoors.
That’s right, despite the massive amount of choice, there’s very little in the way of outdoor patio space to enjoy. This is by no fault of the breweries themselves, I’m sure many of them would love to have a patio space to call their own. Instead, it’s the city and some antiquated rules around licensing that has prevented the majority of breweries to be able to even consider having an outdoor space.
Now that doesn’t mean there is nothing. In fact, several local breweries have found a way. So let’s breakdown the very few breweries in Vancouver proper that you can actually drink a pint outdoors:
(Note: Many of the breweries in and around Vancouver currently have temporary patios to help with social distancing and the COVID-19 pandemic, this list reflects permanent patios only.)
1. Dockside Brewing
This is the other Granville Island brewery that everyone forgets about. Located in the hotel, they actually do brew their own beer, and the patio has a stellar location looking right out onto False Creek. As with others on this list, they benefit from being a food primary, so it’s why you get comfortable cabanas and water view with your brew. Just don’t be surprised to spend $$$ to enjoy it.
2. Parallel 49
By far the best proper brewery patio in Vancouver, although that doesn’t say much. Basically P49 has managed to extend their enclosed space out onto the sidewalk, meaning there’s about 20-25 or so spots in the coveted sunlight. Is there much to look at? Not unless you value derelict East Van buildings. But that’s the least important point; there’s great beer, an indoor food truck and some form of a proper damn patio.
3. Stanley Park Brewpub
There are very few brewers located in the actual downtown core, fewer still that can claim to have a patio, and only one that can boast a patio right in the heart of Stanley Park. A perfect location for a stop over bike trip, the patio gets extra credit for the pure beauty of Stanley park surrounding it on all sides.
4. Yaletown Brewing
Technically a restaurant, Yaletown Brewing benefits from that classification by being able to have a full wrap around patio space along some coveted Yaletown property. Here’s the deal, you’re here for a few reasons. One, it’s in Yaletown so there’s lots of great foot traffic; two, there’s actually a fairly decent pub menu to choose from. Notice what’s missing? The beer. It’s good (not great), but in order to get that sunshine, you’ve got to sacrifice somewhere.
Another technical restaurant that also happens to brew its own beer. Taking over the very poorly managed Steel Toad space, Brewhall features two patio options: the front facing patio which can seat a massive 10 people, and the back alley where they’ve installed a firepit, cornhole and patio chairs. Go with the back, it’s much more chill even if you are practically sitting in an alley next to a parking garage.
6. R&B Brewing
Ah the R&B patio, that weird strip of chairs and faux lawn that runs the length of the brewery. At a max of somewhere around 15-20 people, everyone gets a chance to sit outside lined up in a neat row looking like some weird grouping of beer swigging flamingos. The sad part is it’s practically always full, that’s how desperate we are.
7. Red Truck
Red Truck’s patio is a hybrid indoor/outdoor space that converts during the winter months or when it’s raining. It gets points for having proper tables to sit at, it loses points for being a patio in a parking lot. Plus you’re stuck drinking Red Truck (take that however you will).
And that’s it folks. Seven measly breweries. Which means if you’re truly looking for some outdoor drinking, you’re better off going to a bar or restaurant, or better yet, getting outside the Vancouver city limits and having a beer at places like Langley, Port Moody, Abbotsford, etc. Our money is on Port Moody, where brewers row packs in patio after patio and people can smugly look back at Vancouver in disgust.