Definitely not the best bar in Vancouver, but the poutine is good
Oh dear God. Where to start with this place. You know, despite us sounding like complete assholes sometimes, we don’t set out hoping to tear a place apart, it just happens. Not that The Shack deserves to be torn asunder, but it’s just so… well, put it this way, it’s just one of those places that has no reason for being. It’s got about as much atmosphere as the DMV. Quite frankly, calling it “The Shack” is insulting to actual shacks, garden sheds and other assorted utilitarian out-buildings.
But that’s just part of it. Like we always say, if we come across a total dump that serves great drinks, we’ll likely recommend it. This place doesn’t, and lacks even the personality of a dump. As far as the drinks went, the night we were there, they featured an astounding two beers on tap—both big brewery swill. The beer that you’d expect to have on tap was all in bottles: Alexander Keith’s, Heineken, Stella, Guinness, Steam Whistle, etc., etc. Plus there’s the usual assortment of Coors Light, Kokanee, Bud, Corona et al. also available by the bottle.
There were a few good ones—Czeckvar and Newcastle to name a couple—but does a “watering hole” that sells primarily bottles and cans not smack of a total lack of effort? Why bother opening a place? Just sell them out of your basement suite and set up some camping chairs in the alley.
They’ve got an okay cocktail list, and their doubles go for $8, which is good. There were a few interesting ones like the scratch-made Long Island Iced Tea, No. 1 Cup (gin, Pimm’s, berries, min, ginger ale) and “I’m on a Boat” (rum, mint and oranges, 7-up), but to be honest, first impressions kinda ruined our enthusiasm.
Oddly enough, the two redeeming qualities were the poutine and Jenga. That’s right, Jenga! Those and a really sweet painting of Tom Selleck.
So we sat at the bar munching on some pretty damn tasty poutine to soak up the drinks (yeah, we know we said we don’t really comment on food, but we don’t normally comment on games either) and playing Jenga that the bartender thoughtfully produced from behind the bar.
So, The Shack… uh, go for the poutine, stay for the Jenga.