One evening last week I set out to perform a formal comparison of my local watering holes.
First off was Bailey’s, nestled into the corner of an aging strip mall just down the street from my house. In the year or so it’s been there, it’s become my pub of choice. I order a pint of Yukon Gold and a cranberry-brie chicken burger. In the kitchen, a young chef with thick blonde dreadlocks and an assortment of piercings meticulously assembles my meal.
The room is loud with trendy alt-pop music. Gotye. Mumford and Sons. fun. Tegan and Sara. The Black Keys. You know the stuff.
All of the furniture is dark wood, dark leather. New. The floor is smooth wooden plankwood and the lighting is subdued, like in any living room you might find in the multi-unit SimCity-esque condos that suddenly plopped onto the landscape around this strip mall last year. Most tables are crowded with groups of twenty-somethings, a pastiche of hoodies, tattoos, balls caps, tight jeans, beards, and hand-knit toques.
I sit at the bar alone and observe the scene while I finish my burger (which is absolutely delicious, of course). No one speaks to me.
After a while I pay and head out. I walk down Wann Road, past a row of glowing mansions to a ramshackle collection of mobile homes. I soon arrive at the Sportsmans in the Casa Loma Motel. This used to be Porter Creek’s only bar, until Bailey’s showed up. It is affectionately known by locals as the Wax Museum for its aging clientele.
Some of the overhead fluorescent lights don’t work, so the bright room is dotted with patches of darkness. And then there’s that smell. A mix of spilled beer, stale smoke (from the days of yore), pinewood, and cotton curtains cooked blonde from the summer's 24-hour sunlight.
The bar is populated with grey men dressed in jeans, mackinaws, old trucker caps and wrinkled leather jackets. They all say hello to me. There is no music and no way to avoid conversation here. Over the course of the evening, as the bar grows fuller and louder, several people haul themselves onto the stool beside me for a long chat. It's more like a big, friendly party than a pub.
Well past midnight, one too many beers in my belly, I step outside and the wind blows me home.
A visit to the Sportsmans is like a run-in with a Gold Rush ghost, a fun, eerie glance back at the way the world used to be. But I’ll admit it: I’m more at home at Bailey’s, a step in the Yukon's trajectory towards Vancouver Junior. After all, I'm one of the new condo dwellers just around the corner.
by Wayne Chan | May 3rd 11:55 am
My daily commute is like a small gear of mechanical time, of epicycles upon epicycles, where days turn to months and to years, and the seasons cycle through. The rhythms of time are constant, but the changes they bring are not.
by george ilsley | May 3rd 1:44 pm
The neighborhood of Broma in Vancouver (around Broadway and Main) used to have salmon streams and a temperate rainforest. Now it has hipsters.
by Brendan Harrison | Apr 12th 12:54 pm
When white supremacists moved into my neighbourhood, I was forced to reconsider what community meant to me.
by Monica Meneghetti | May 2nd 11:45 pm
Queer Banffites come in every stripe but, like other wildlife, most of us are well-camouflaged.
by Christin Geall | May 3rd 10:16 pm
In my neighborhood, houses float out to sea. Theyre jacked up from their foundations, lifted onto trucks, and barged away.
by Andrew Robulack | Apr 29th 10:07 am
Mike Tribes is the King of Centennial. He just needs a theme song.
by Andrew Robulack | Apr 22nd 4:16 pm
I live on Stan McCowan Place, a new street that takes its name from the Stan McCowan Arena that was removed 5 years ago to make room for it. But no one Ive ever asked could tell me who Stan McCowan was, or what he might have done to earn his name a permanent place in the world.
by Andrew Robulack | Apr 16th 2:36 pm
The biggest change in Porter Creek? Condos. And lots of em.
by Andrew Robulack | Apr 8th 2:10 pm
My son, Cole, age 9, is walking with his cousin/best friend, Kiiwaadin, to Heathers Haven, a convenience store in the local strip mall.
by Andrew Robulack | Apr 2nd 12:43 pm
Some of the overhead fluorescent lights dont work, so the bright room is dotted with patches of darkness. And then theres that smell. A mix of spilled beer, stale smoke (from the days of yore), pinewood, and cotton curtains cooked blonde from the summer's 24-hour sunlight.