Fun and Colourful Davie Village
One of the most interesting areas of the West End of Vancouver is Davie Street. It’s known as the gay village and has shops and restaurants of all types. There is a high concentration of LGBT people and businesses catering to this group, but the neighborhood is also very family-friendly.
The stretch of Davie Street between Burrard Street, all the way down to Denman Street at English Bay, is a great place to stroll, stop in some unique shops, people watch (some very colourful people in this ‘hood!) and take in the amazing scenery. The distance is only eight blocks, and the last half is downhill.
Marquis Wine Cellars
A great wine shop located at 1034 Davie Street, between Burrard and Thurlow, on the south side. The staff is what makes this shop stand out. There’s a liquor store less than two blocks away that may have slightly better prices on some of the same wine, but the staff at Marquis are not pretentious or condescending, even if you know nothing about wine. Simply tell them what you’re after, including a budget, and they’ll do their best to find a bottle you’ll love. They regularly do free wine tastings, usually on a Saturday afternoon. Stop in and ask them about it.
Amy’s Jr Loonie Toonie
This is one of the best dollar stores in the downtown peninsula, located at 1050 Davie Street. It’s locally owned and operated and has a huge selection, considering the store is not that big! From dishes, to water guns, to beach gear and Canada Day novelties, you can find it all here for cheap. There is another Amy’s down on Denman Street, but the prices at this store are ALWAYS better. They also accept debit and credit cards, which is not the usual policy in dollar stores.
This is a local, independent, discount bookstore, with eight locations in Vancouver, one of which is at 1051 Davie Street. There prices are always at least 20% off the list price, and they always have a huge selection of bargain books. (slightly damaged, overstocks, etc.). They are open from 10 to 10 everyday. Stop in and pick up something for everyone on your shopping list, it’s easy to accomplish at this great store.
This is a great little bakery with seven locations in Vancouver. The one in the West End is at 1160 Davie Street. Cob’s bakes all their products fresh daily and if it’s not sold that day, they donate all the bread to local charities daily. Their breads don’t contain chemical preservatives, added dairy, colour or sugar, so they are very healthy, and extremely tasty! They have a wide variety of products from breads, to croissants to scones, to cinnamon buns.
Kin’s Farm Market
This wonderful fresh produce market is a great place to pick-up fresh fruit and veggies for a picnic at the beach, or just a healthy snack to munch on, as you stroll around the West End. It’s located right next to Cob’s Bread (so handy) at 1160 Davie. The selection is great and they often have samples of their fruit, so you can taste before you buy to make sure it’s ripe. The prices are good for the quality of the produce, and they also have a good organic selection to choose from.
This is a small clothing store for women, men and some children’s clothing. Everything is factory or brand seconds (like Point Zero) and the prices are great! The selection can really vary, according to what they are able to stock. It’s mostly casual clothing, but the often have outerwear at unbelievable prices. The hats, scarves and accessories are also worth stopping in for a look. It’s located at 1230 Davie Street.
Grab a pint or a martini
There’s no better area in the city to stop in with friends and have a drink. There are several great little places that cater to locals and tourists alike.
The Fountainhead Pub
Located in the heart of Davie Village at 1025 Davie. This is a great pub for grabbing a pint, shooting some darts or just people-watching on the large covered patio, right on Davie Street. They offer good pub fare and open at 11:00 a.m. everyday. They close at midnight from Sun – Thur and stay open until 2:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
This pub primarily caters to male gay patrons and the best way to describe the atmosphere is casual and comfortable. It’s open 7 days a week at 1 pm – 1 am on Sun – Thur and 1 pm – 2 am on Friday and Saturday. There’s never a coverage charge but they are very busy on weekends so arrive early to avoid waiting in line. Located at 1167 Davie Street.
Speakeasy Bar and Grill
The best feature of this pub is their large patio directly looking out onto Davie Street. They are located right next to the SuperValue at 1239 Davie Street. They offer a great weekend brunch and feature drink specials everyday. If the patio is full, they also have a lot of indoor seating.
Score On Davie
Located at 1262 Davie Street. If you’re looking for a Sports Bar in the area, Score is it. They open at 10 a.m. everyday, show all the games on multiple screens (including a 71. Plasma), and have great prices on drinks and appies. Their burger is one of the best in the neighborhood, they have a large beer selection and appetizers are 2 for 1 from 4 – 7 p.m. everyday (except when showing a Canucks game).
It is very easy to find somewhere interesting and appealing to have a meal. The difficulty lies in making a decision as to which place to try. Most are casual with a few fine dining options. Just about any type of ethnic cuisine is available, showcasing the diversity of they people that live in this area.
Vera’s Burger Shack
With a dozen locations in Vancouver, this place makes one of the BEST burgers in town. They are huge, sloppy and come with a choice of way too many toppings. The prices are reasonable and there is a daily special. They are also licensed, so you can grab a beer with your burger. Is there a better combo? Located at 1030 Davie Street.
Joe’s is one of those greasy spoon type places, without a lot of grease. One of best places to grab brunch on a weekend, or lunch anytime. The prices are excellent for the good, solid food they serve. It’s busy, but the service is good and they don’t rush you out the door. Located at 1031 Davie Street.
Gigi’s is a casual Italian restaurant that is open for dinner daily (never for lunch). The atmosphere is kind of old fashioned, but the service and food is excellent. They also have live entertainment starting at 7:30 p.m. 1047 Davie Street.
Kam’s Place Singaporean
Kam’s offers Singaporean style chinese food at very reasonable prices. The food is always great and one of their best dishes is the ginger beef. They are open from 11:00 – 11:00 everyday. Located at 1043 Davie Street.
This restaurant is the gem of Davie Street dining. It is a Franco-German bistro serving French and German comfort food. They have all the warmth of a bistro but are actually a fine dining destination with excellent food and service. They offer a great selection of European beer and wines by the glass and the bottle. La Brasserie doesn’t take reservations, so go early or be prepared to wait in line. Located at 1091 Davie Street.
Denny’s is your typical breakfast-chain restaurant. The food is consistent, the prices are okay, and they are the most kid-friendly restaurant on Davie Street. Located at 1098 Davie Street, on the corner of Davie and Thurlow.
Kisha Poppo Japanese
Kisha Poppo is a good place for all-you-can-eat (AYCE) sushi. The food isn’t outstanding, but the selection is good and they are very kid-friendly, which isn’t always the case with AYCE. They have three different AYCE prices, lunch, dinner and late night (9:30 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. Located at 1143 Davie Street.
Stepho’s Souvlaki Taverna
Stepho’s has consistently had a line-up out front at lunch and dinnertime every night since I’ve moved to the West End, more than ten years ago. The portions are huge and the prices are cheap. They are by far the best value for your dollar on Davie Street. Located at 1124 Davie Street.
Davie Mongolian BBQ
This is a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant (as most Mongolian BBQs in Vancouver are) where you choose all the raw meat (usually beef, pork, chicken and lamb – shaved very thin and flash frozen), veggies and noodles you want, mix up your own sauce and give it to the cook who spreads it all out on the superheated grill at the front of the restaurant to let it simmer until the meat is cooked, the veggies grilled and the noodles coated in yummy sauce. It’s cheap, filling, very tasting and all-you-can-eat. Located at 1161 Davie Street.
All India Restaurant
They offer a good buffet, which is only $10.95 at lunch. The selection isn’t huge, but the food is very good. A great value, considering it is not easy or quick to make Indian food at home. Located at 1188 Davie Street.
This Thai restaurant offers exceptional food at very reasonable prices. They always offer a good lunch special, with a large selection of dishes. They are family-owned and very accommodating to parents with small children. My mom-friends and I have been meeting here for a Saturday lunch, for many years, since our children were babies. Located at 1193 Davie Street.
Downtown Sushi Bar
This is one of the best places for sushi in the West End. They offer a very casual and laid back atmosphere, serving great tasting sushi at low prices, especially the wild salmon. The service is excellent, as well. Located at 1205 Davie Street.
Thai Away Home
A fast-food style Thai restaurant that is actually best for cheap, take out Thai food. The atmosphere for dining in, is not great. The food is mediocre, but the prices are great. Pad Thai is very authentic and probably their best dish. Located at 1206 Davie Street.
Nightlife – Dancing
The opportunities for dancing and listening to music spun by some great DJ’s are not difficult to find. The nightlife and dance clubs are definitely gay-friendly, but it’s a very open culture. Straight people are made to feel welcome and are not shunned at all, as long as they are open and realize that the majority of patrons are gay.
Celebrities is located at 1022 Davie Street, just off Burrard, right beside the gas station on the corner. It is a great place to dance and listen to European-style techno dance music. It’s cheapest on Tuesdays when drinks only a couple of bucks. This is a place where labels just don’t apply and nobody cares what your preferences are.
Oasis Ultra Lounge
Oasis is a great place to meet friends, whether it’s to chat or to dance to the great music spun by their DJs. The service is far better than most clubs and the atmosphere is very welcoming to all. They offer a great selection of special cocktails and martinis. Probably the most fun club on the Davie. Located on the corner of Davie and Thurlow at 1240 Thurlow Street (above Denny’s).
Number is a multi-level dance club (they have five floors) that also offers darts and a pool table. They place great 80s and 90s dance music and are very welcoming to the many straight people that come here to dance and have a good time. They also hold specialty theme nights including regular Karaoke and Karaoke Dance Party Nights. Located at 1042 Davie Street.
The Junction Public House
The Junction is newly opened (it operated as the Pulse Nightclub briefly, and The Majestic before that) at 1183 Davie Street. It bills itself as a pub, which turns into a club on Friday and Saturday nights. It’s not particularly good at either role. The place is huge, but never very busy. The service is okay, but the management clearly needs to learn how to treat people better.