The Shameful Tiki Room

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4362 Main St. Menu

I had heard about this place from a coworker. “It was awful. There were no lights, and the drinks were disgusting.” Now, I take pretty much everything this coworker says with a good helping of salt; which is why, when my roommate suggested we go there one bored Friday night, I figured I’d give it a go. Arriving outside the bar, I was struck by the large blacked out windows. It seemed very strange for a cocktail joint, however, all was revealed once entering the bar. The small room was a re-creation of a standup beach bar in Hawaii, or other Polynesian island. The walls were lined with greenery, palms, and bamboo. The humidity had been cranked up, in order to simulate the stifling heat, and there were glowing tiki masks protruding from various spots in the foliage. Every table in the small room was occupied, so my roommate and I took up positions at the bar, where they were showing a black and white movie on a small vintage tv nestled in with the bottles. As we sat down we were startled by a gong ringing out and a chorus of “Myyyystery booooowl!” from the servers. We turned to watch a large shell, full of flaming alcohol be served to one of the nearby tables.

After vowing never to order one of those, we perused the extensive cocktail list. I immediately ordered my favourite tiki drink, the blue Hawaiian, and my colleague decided on a Zombie. I’ve recently found that sitting at the bar is, by far, the best way to experience an establishment. Your drinks arrive promptly, you are able to engage with the tender who makes your drinks, and is much more refreshing to talk to than someone who is paid to be nice to you. This was certainly the case at the Shameful Tiki Room as well. The bartender was very friendly, made superb drinks, and had an extensive knowledge of the menu. The chap was also fantastically patient with the vapid group sitting next to us at the bar, who ordered eight piña coladas (not on the menu) and didn’t say a word of thanks.

I have has some bad experiences before at tiki bars, specifically in regards to over priced, watered down drinks; Shameful does not suffer from the same dilemma. After three drinks (blue Hawaiian, some kind of gin and ginger concoction, and a Bermudian swizzle) I was holding myself up on the stool. Roomie and I decided to put something in our stomach before leaving and quickly decided on some tortilla chips and salsa. We were both pretty wavy at this point, so I don’t feel I could give an accurate assessment for the appie, but it’s also really hard to mess up chips and salsa.

The crowd was fairly young, mid twenties I’d guess, and in large groups. Clearly this place is a one off for many people, they come for the strange atmosphere, bring back a couple of friends, and then never go again. I personally think Shameful is great bang for your buck and a welcome relief to the cactus club clones popping up around Vancouver. I’ll defiantly be back, Aloha!<

The Village Taphouse

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Food: $13-20 mains $7-18 app. Drinks $$$
Menu

The Village Taphouse gets a ton of publicity solely because it is the only decent place in West Vancouver to grab a beer. Don’t get me wrong, the Taphouse does a lot well; but I feel that if any competition arose in west van, the Taphouse would then be reduced in public opinion to the generic underwhelming sports-bar that it is.

The bar was split up into a lounge/restaurant area, with tables and a fire place, and a bar area furnished with tall tables and a pool table. Both areas were decorated with rows and rows of TVs which, while the local hockey game is on, are turned up to a deafening volume. The bar’s logo, the crown from the keep calm poster, decorated the walls, menus, uniforms, and much more. The clientele were mostly older men, the after work crowd catching the game on the many TV screens. There were a few younger folk, but I think this was due to it being mid afternoon.

The Taphouse had quite an impressive list of beers. A row of taps lining the brick wall behind the bar and a long chalkboard overhead can be quite overwhelming for the average beer guzzler. Fortunatly, the Taphouse also has quite a few fan favorites. For the cautiously adventurous, the Taphouse also offers sampler planks; three small glasses of any beer for $6.

The food was nothing amazing, and terribly overpriced. The appetizers were almost as much, if not more than the entrees. I just can’t bring myself to ever pay $18 for basic nachos. A couple of highlights were the tuna tacos and the fat albert burger. I haven’t had the pleasure of consuming either of these, but every time I’m there someone goes for one of these and I’ve never heard anything but rave reviews for them. Plus, they are the only things on the menu that are remotely unique. The tuna tacos come in a soft shell and are dressed with a coleslaw and some kind of chipotle sauce. The fat albert burger has become somewhat of a challange among my male friends. Due to the heartclogging nature of the burger, and the shear amount of food on the plate, it is more than difficult to finish the entire thing. The burger is dressed with bacon, ham, sausage, crispy onions, and a few different types of cheeses. After witnessing the pained looks on my friends faces post consumption, I think I will avoid the challange myself.

The Bimini

2010 west 4th ave
C+ $$$
Menu

The Bimini is one of those bars you hear about from your parents, that is, if you grew up in Vancouver. It was one of the old grungy hang outs in Kits, populated by greenpeace supporters and other dirty hippys. It became run down and was then the first pub bought by, the now famous, Jeff Donnelly. Unfortunatly, it burnt down shortly after, right after the renovations. It re-opened a month or so ago, after being rebuilt by the now all-powerful Donnelly group.
Unfortunatly, what this means is that the Donnelly’s have taken any individuality that was once in this icon and turned it into another generic Donnelly pub. Usually the Donnelly’s add some kind of differentiating feature to their pubs to minimize the twilight zone feeling when going to more than one in a night. At the Bimini, the Donnelly’s have framed photos of the bar burning down and hidden them behind large, overwhelming flatscreen TVs. Other than the photos, the Bimini shares the same traits as most other Donnelly pubs: dark wood panelling, chalk boards, Donnelly Group coasters and napkin wraps, and large flat screen TVs everywhere.
The food was rather pricey for pub fare. I had the sliders ($12) and my friends had the edemame ($6) and the mac and cheese ($12.50). All three were alright, not peticularly imagiantive or inspirational. They did have a few interesting menu items, like a waffle sandwich, but for the most part the menu items were old pub favorites with slight twists.
The cocktails, the same at every Donnely pub, were quite tasty and if you manage to get the cocktail of the week they’re actually affordable ($6.50). The cocktails were very well made; they were made with fresh ingredients, and generally without added sugar. The draught selection is what the bar really seems to be proud of. They claim, on their drink menu, that their selection changes so freaquently that they can’t print it on the permenant menu and so they have a paper slip with the seasonal draughts tucked in it. I didn’t have a chance to try any of them, but there were quite a few.
I can’t really say much about the atmosphere at the Bimini; It was around 9pm on a Tuesday when we went, and pretty dead once we got there. Overall, we had a nice couple of drinks and some food before heading downtown. I wouldn’t stay there all night unless it was the weekend, but it’s a nice stop off point. Also, it being a Donnelly pub, you know exactly what you’re getting into walking through the doors.

Moving

I’ve moved. No longer am I plagued by living in the burbs. I am now right in the centre of the action in downtown Vancouver. Also, a new neighborhood means new bars! I’ll be trying out all sorts of new places with my new roommate. I’ve started another blog as well, The Morning After, for when you’re feeling a little rough the next morning. Check it out!

L