Beer for bus fare: cheapest drinks in town

January 13, 2010 by  

It’s mid-semester and mid-terms are closing in, your school savings may be disappearing and you might be feeling the need to blow off some steam.

Spending $10 on a cocktail at Lux on Granville may not be some-thing you want to do, but you can still have a rocking night out and not wake up in the morning wondering where your money went.

The first thing you need to know about having a bevvy on a budget is that beer is the cheapest drink on the menu, so if you’re into the $8 martinis at Cactus Club you’re going to have to make some sacrifices.

A survey of 15 different places in Vancouver revealed that most places charge about $5 a beer before taxes, which are 10 per cent on liquor. Two beers will cost you $10 to $11 on average, and don’t forget to tip your bartender or server.

The standard for tipping, according to Lonely Planet Canada, is 15 per cent on the bill before tax, but if the service is excellent, 20 per cent is recommended.

The important thing to know is when the good drink specials are on and plan around them. Check out the Tuesday-night $7.50 pitchers at Whineos on Granville Street. The cozy wine-cellar atmosphere attracts the mid-20’s to 30s crowd and the pitchers of beer only come out on Tuesdays.

Any other night you pay by the bottle, which will set you back $5.75 each.

Hungry? Order a burger at any Vera’s Burger Shack and add a Granville Island Honey Lager for $3 any night. If you wait until Wednesday, you can get two beers and Vera’s massive burger for $9.95; go on a Friday and get two beers for $6.
Any given Tuesday you can hit up The Cambie in Gastown for $7 pitchers, which give you about four glasses of beer, depending on the size of the glass.

You can also grab a pint there on Mondays for $3.50 and any other night you won’t pay more then $4.50 for a beer. The Cambie is underneath a hostel and has a lot of character, with its old glass windows and big communal picnic tables.
It’s most unique feature is the picket fence that runs up the centre of the bar. Half of the bar has a restaurant license and the other half has a pub license, which means you can’t cross over the picket fence.

The clientele is mixed, and you may be sharing a table with someone from Europe, a UBC student or a local Gastown resident.

Richard Saunders, the manager of The Cambie, said he knows that the cheap drinks are what attracts people, but said that it’s the relaxed vibe that keeps them coming. “There’s just no pretentiousness here,” said Saunders.

Bars like The Cambie may have a laid-back vibe, but if you don’t want to share your table with a stranger and just want a beer at a nice place and are willing to pay a little more, you can get pints at the Yaletown Brew Pub on Sunday nights for $4.50.

The pub serves comfort food including meat loaf, schnitzel and pizzas, which you can get on Sundays for $8.

But be warned, any other night a pint will run you $6.50 and if you decide to change your beverage to some wine, it can cost you up to $11 per glass before tax.


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