Interesting décor, to say the least. You feel almost in the lobby of an old art deco hotel. What really floored us was the large, looming painted portrait of Pierre-Elliott Trudeau not too far from the bar. With his haughty, condescending grin, I felt like he was staring straight at me, calling me a hotdog eater and telling to “foodoo-boodoo ma gang de tabarnak”. Honest to God, it really fazed me. At least at the few other pubs we poked in on our quickie tour of Victoria, we had Lizzie the second’s austere yet grandmotherly likeness welcoming us in. Thankfully we sat down at a table where I couldn’t see him, so it didn’t ruin it all for me. Other than that, the place was quite charming, along with the rest of the city for that matter. They were about to clear away our section to make room for the band, something not everyone likes in a brewpub, but I think it’s great. What else…I found it strange to have the toilets protected by a code lock, but it wasn’t the only pub I’ve been to on this trip that had this “feature”. Service was prompt and I got my sampler tray quickly. Selections ranged from uninspired to somewhat interesting, with nothing really catching my eye, save perhaps the Scottish ale that had interesting smokiness to it. It stood out from the rest, but I had better. Didn’t get to try any food either. But it was a fun place to visit in good company (certain former prime ministers excluded), if only for a few tasters.
Stopped in to try a sampler after the lunch crowd. Good service, beers were fair. Menu looked fine but I didn’t eat there. In convenient location if you’re on foot from the Washington ferry (a little more easy to get to than Spinnakers).
Nice decor, we were served quickly and in a friendly manner. The beer is better (arguably) than Spinnakers, and the food is more affordable and still tastes good. We were forgotten for a while by the serving staff, but otherwise a pleasant experience.
Hit this at a busy time. Hard to find seats, hard to get service. Noisy. Venue was sort of over modernized restoration. Other than that the food was pretty good, and the ales were more than worth the effort. Shouldn’t miss this one.
uhlan (1) Vancouver, British Columbia | March 6, 2007
Swan’s is Victoria’s second best Brewpub after Spinnakers. This was our Friday night haunt for over a dozen years. About the only bad thing that I can say about the place is the food has never been that great. The ambience is great, beer is good, staff all knew us by name and basically kept one end of the bar open for us. The art on the walls is for the most part cool... However there is one exception. The first Friday after one of our crew had his wisdom teeth done, a new piece appeared on the wall. It was a light box installation that wires holding in place a set of dentures as well as a set of dental x-rays. This offended us! Until we moved away we made a point of unplugging this horror. The offending peice is on the wall between the end of the bar and the kitchen door, on the way to the washrooms. Please do me a favour, if you pass by this thing, keep the tradition alive.. unplug it!
Seems that every time I go to Victoria I end up stopping at Swans.
I really like their bar. Clean and airy, comfortable, friendly and bright. Nice glassed in atrium style patio around the front is great for people watching. The food is good, appetizers are great and they have a decent selection of styles on offer, with drink specials as well.
I generally enjoy their beers , though I’ve never really tested their servers knowledge that much.
Oakes (835) Vancouver, British Columbia | September 11, 2005| Updated October 31, 2005
Bright, woody, and roomy, it maintains at least a little Victorian parlour feel to it along with distinctive Canadian accents, like a portrait of PET. The house beers I found a little underfermented. Staff were fine. A good place for sociable drinking. I’m amazed how crowded this place can be. Even on a Saturday afternoon it was jammed to the gills.
Big bar with 9 beer engines right out front - but only three of them were serving. They had ten beers when I visited, and a few of them were impressive: good IPA and porter. Next door is the Swans/Buckerfield bottle shop. This spot is easily walkable from almost every other beer-worthy spot in town.