Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub, Victoria, BC

Recently my partner and I had the good fortune to spend three days in the beautiful city of Victoria, capital city of the province of British Columbia. Victoria is situated at the southern end of Vancouver Island, and is blessed with a spectacular seaside setting and Mediterranean climate.

Victoria is small enough compared to BC’s largest city to offer a welcome respite from the noise and pace of Vancouver, but large enough to boast the amenities of a bigger city – universities, theatres, an excellent museum, art galleries, fine dining, and, in keeping with its heritage as the capital of a British colony, a plethora of pubs.

Every time I visit Victoria, I make a point of stopping in at my favourite of Victoria’s pubs, Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub, located within walking distance of downtown. Head west over the Johnson Street Bridge and work up an appetite by enjoying a pleasant stroll along the seawall on the way to the pub. Or, if you prefer, hop on a Harbour Ferry and make your way there across the harbour.

Spinnakers is fortuitously situated beside the water, and you can sit on their patio and enjoy the pretty view of the harbour and the city skyline, crowned by its signature Francis Rattenbury-designed Parliament Buildings and Fairmont Empress Hotel.

The food is good, the service is excellent, and they are rightfully famous for their beer. While we were there we enjoyed a delicious plate of nachos cleverly topped with melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork. I had a glass of pinot grigio from their wine list which features a good selection of BC and international wines, and my companion chose a pint of Hefeweizen from their list of hand-crafted artisan beers. Spinnakers also offers an impressive variety of single malt whiskies.

If you get the chance to visit Spinnakers, be sure to raise a glass for me. Cheers!

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8 Responses to Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub, Victoria, BC

  1. Gwyn Teatro says:

    Spinnakers is also one of my favourite restaurants in Victoria. While beer is not my thing, I distinctly remember that Spinnakers serves a great breakfast and sells homemade breads as well.

    It's been a while since we have been there but I remember having an excellent dinner there too with some very smooth wine (can't remember what it was) that rendered me appropriately happy and slightly tiddely. All in all a great experience!


  2. Susan says:

    Thanks. I will have to check it out next time I'm in Victoria – which may be soon. I just love Victoria, in general.


  3. @Gwyn: They have a great little shop in the restaurant. We picked up some hand made chocolates on the way out, for dessert.

    @Susan: I love Victoria, too! We're lucky to have such a nice travel destination within relatively easy reach of Vancouver.


  4. Tricia M. Ward says:

    Sounds very good – your review makes me want to go there.


  5. And you didn't call for a coffee…?


  6. Jon says:

    In the interest of balance, I'd like to mention that we were kinda disappointed on our trip to Spinnakers. The service was slow and uninterested, the crowd snooty and the beer was frankly bland & boring. Was a bit of a shock because we'd heard good things about the place. I guess anywhere can have an off-night but we didn't stick around to eat.

    One place that was good enough that we made a return trip (and even brought a case of their brew home with us) was Swans brewpub – http://www.swanshotel.com/pub.php. Buzzing atmosphere, live music and the beer rocked… tasty and adventurous. Would whole-heartedly recommend them. Vancouver brewpubs just don't compare.

    Slightly more esoteric would be The Bent Mast (no website but a web search will find it – and plenty of mixed reviews). A short walk out of downtown Victoria, they have a good selection of local beers (which means Awesome Beers), food & service were OK. But the best thing about it is it's built in a converted house, it's tatty, it's quirky, the toilets are upstairs and cold. It's a quiet little place with a mixture of locals and tourists and it's the nearest thing I've found in Canada to an English pub. Excellent 🙂


  7. @Sheldon: On my next trip to Victoria, I will!


  8. @Jon: I'm sorry to hear that you had a disappointing time at Spinnakers. I've been there at least a dozen times and have always had good, friendly service and I certainly didn't notice snootiness from the crowd or I never would have returned so often (with and without children in tow).

    Swans is also a fun place to go for a beer. I've walked past the Bent Mast a number of times as it's in the neighbourhood I always stay in; I've never gone in but I'll be sure to next time.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.


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