Drinking your way through the beer selection at St. Augustine's on Commercial Drive would be a full-time job
You know, we really weren’t sure if there was any point in reviewing St. Augustine’s. It’s not that it doesn’t deserve a write up—we’ve been big fans for a long while now—we just figured most people (especially beer lovers) knew about this place.
After canvassing friends, acquaintances and other assorted booze-hounds like us, we were actually a little horrified to find out St. Augustine’s wasn’t even on their radar (maybe it's the stealth-like dark exterior decor?).
Well, it's high time we remedy that, oh ye of little adventure.
St. Augustine’s a hop-head’s Nirvana
The beer selection here will blow your mind. But it’s not just the overwhelming choice that make this one of the best beer bars in the city. It’s that, to their well-deserved credit, the folks running the place have turned it into an Aladdin’s cave of craft and micro-brews—the majority all available on tap. No big-brewery swill here, boyo.
There’s way too many to even begin to list here, but the 40 (count ‘em—four-zero!) beers on tap run the gamut from lagers and pilsners to ales, stouts and porters and just about everything in-between, and will run you from a modest $5.50 up to $7.50 a pint. Plus, a good few of these are seasonally rotated in order to confound your attempts at trying one of everything they offer (we kid—kinda).
Beers range from locally produced (think local, drink local) from the likes of Tree, Dead Frog, Central City, Storm and Driftwood breweries to imports from Washington, Oregon and California. St. Aug's even serve certified organic brews, including the Crannóg Ales delicious stout, Back Hand of God, made here in B.C.
The tasty, tasty sampler tray at St. Augustine's on Vancouver's Commercial Drive.
Deciding what to start with can be a daunting task, so we suggest you dip your toes, figuratively speaking obviously, in the beery pool by ordering a sampler tray: four small glasses of any of draught beer for $8.50. It’s a pretty good deal to be honest. You’re probably getting just over a pint anyway for your eight and a half bones.
St. Augustine’s also features three of its own house brews, which we highly recommend: a pilsner, a lager and a stout. All muy tasty and cheap to boot.
As far as other kinds of drinks like cocktails or highballs, we haven't even bothered to inquire. Why would we? This is like a candy store. A candy store that sells beer.
A criticism: Too many damn TVs
The pub itself is pretty big (100+ seats maybe?), but it’s often packed to the rafters. Especially if there’s a hockey game on. Which leads us to our one and only criticism: we’re cool with TVs, hockey, etc if they help you attract clientele. But honestly, there are so many screens in this place, it’s like walking into a Best Buy.
And if there isn’t a local game on, how ‘bout either turning them off, or at least showing something more cultured—like Bugs Bunny cartoons?
But for the kick-ass job the place has done at becoming a bastion of alterna-brews in our too-often mainstream supplied burg, TVs are a small price to pay.
If you want to catch the hockey game at St. Augustine's, be sure to stake out a spot a bit early because the place fills up.