Joe Chan on Kitschy Hotel Lounges and the Perfect Pulled Pork Sandwich

The Vancouver Slop food writer savours the nostalgic, sentimental side of the city.

Credit: Tina Kulic

Joe Chan, writer for Vancouver Slop and professional foodie


Tangentially, sentiment and romanticism cloud my favourite place to drink around Vancouver. There’s something about old hotel lounges in town: the kitsch, the outdated glamour, the music. That really warms my heart. With that said, the Hotel Vancouver tugs my heartstrings the most. Two elderly friends, a gentleman in his 90s and his lovely lady friend, visit the lounge every weekend and dance to the performing lounge act. And by dance, I mean dance: the two cut a mean rug, dancing circles around the entire bar. It’s completely joyous, a celebration, and magical.


I enjoy meticulousness, particularly when it borders on near obsession, so when people pursue their craft relentlessly, like in a crazy Brian Wilson sand-in-the-living-room kind of way, I dig the romanticism of it. There’s a few places in town that remind me of this.


Re-Up, the new Southern barbecue cart behind the Vancouver Art Gallery, is a great example of how one type of food can become a lifestyle. When you ponder the worship people lavish on barbecue, it’s no surprise that a guy like Chester Carey can devote his life to smoking meats and beer (Carey is a cicerone, a sommelier for beer, and teaches the Serious Beer course at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts), and you can taste that level of sacrifice in the pulled pork sandwich.


Old Faithful (pictured above), the new store in Gastown, is another case in point. There are many “lifestyle” stores in town that sell all sorts of cool little knick-knacks, but there are few that present it in such a solitary, single-minded manner. I’ve only spoken with Walter Manning, who—together with Savannah Olsen—runs Old Faithful, for a couple of minutes, but spend a minute in the store and you can tell how much of it reflects a coherent vision, rather than a grab-bag of mere objects. Plus, it’s one of few places in town that stock Fire & Knives, a great UK quarterly magazine that reflects how the game is changing for food magazines.


Where do the cool people go in Vancouver?

bcliving asks in-the-know locals for their go-to eat, drink and be merry spots in our weekly “It People” series

Tina Krueger Kulic for Sad Mag


Tina Krueger Kulic is a Vancouver photographer who loves to capture people in their element. She is fascinated by Vancouver’s many personalities and appreciates it for all of its quirks. You can see more of her work at