The Fringe Cafe, the Little Bar that Could

It’s absolutely amazing that The Fringe is still around. And that's not a slam.

Credit: The Boozecan

This neighbourhood bar on West Broadway proves character trumps corporate every time


You know, it’s absolutely amazing that The Fringe is still around. And that’s not a slam, by the way. That’s the ultimate compliment in a city where, more often than not, as soon as a bar/pub/restaurant/whatever opens, the countdown to closing begins. Eating and drinking establishments in Vancouver are like tubs of yoghurt, they seem to come with an expiry date.


The Fringe Cafe

3124 West Broadway, Vancouver

In fact, we used to joke that there must be a secret city bylaw requiring places to implode after two years. And if that didn’t do it, what establishment could possibly withstand the awesome business-withering power of fickle Vancouverites who can turn the hottest room into last week’s cold porridge at the drop of a martini glass?


The Fringe could, that’s who. Twenty years in business and this humble little institution is still going strong. And it really hasn’t changed much. Why would they? People come here to drink ’cause it’s “real”—no pretense, no ‘tudes and (at least the night we were there) no douchebags!


It’s small (like 48 seats small), dark and cramped—just the way we like it. Honestly, it’s the kind of place that would seem more at home on Commercial Drive, or even tucked away on a San Fran side street. And yeah, there’s a bit of a boho vibe to it, but that’s what makes it different.


But enough of our rambling—onto the drinks, or specifically, beers. Here’s the mostest bestest thing about drinking at The Fringe: $3.99 pint specials EVERY DAY! Hellz, yeah. And it’s not big brewery swill, either. It usually rotates through a choice of local beers on tap. Take your pick of:


West Broadway drinking holes

The Boozecan’s Andrew and Wayne review three other local drinking holes along West Broadway.

  • Russell “Dirty Girl” lager
  • Russell “Ugly Boy” ale
  • Russell Cream Ale
  • Russell Honey Blond
  • Lighthouse Beacon IPA
  • Lighthouse Keeper’s stout


Or, you can order from their impressive selection of canned and bottled brews. The giant fridge is stocked like a beeraholic’s wet dream—everything from Smithwicks, Cooper’s, Newcastle Brown, Anchor, Red Stripe, Tsing Tao and on and on and on. There’s even Smirnoff Ice on hand just in case the ‘bag crowd does show up. Isn’t that thoughtful?


So come early, grab a seat or sidle up to the bar, and along with your drink, soak up some atmosphere you rarely get in this town.