There's something about Craft Beer Market that I'm really fond of. Whether it's their extensive beer selection, or the fact that they broadcast more than one sports game at a time on their wrap-around TV screens (any basketball fans here?). Or the country wood furnishings to the glass-walled keg room with rows of giant barrels brewing with local IPAs, lagers and such.
I had the chance to check out Craft Beer Market on a calm November evening with a Vancouverite who couldn't stop raving about their mussels. The place reminds me of my favourite Sunday afternoon at a cottage - it's cozy, casual and laid back. But the noise level here is far from quiet, as it seats 500 in the gargantuan Salt Building in downtown Vancouver.
And oh, the beer. Your woes seem to fade away as soon as that pint arrives at your table. Ok maybe not entirely, but you're in good hands when there's 140 lines of draft to choose from. My beer of choice was the Okanagan Spring Pale Ale from Vernon, BC - fruity on the palate and hearty in hops with a nice, round finish. I managed to snag this one at just $5 during their Happy Hour special available from 3-6pm on Mondays-Fridays on select drafts.
As for the appetizers, the Fast Food Sushi piqued our curiosity and we jumped at the opportunity to order it when we saw it on the menu. It had cheeseburger and fries wrapped in bacon, then dressed with BBQ sauce and jalapeño cream cheese. Dream combo, right? Certainly not for the health conscious or anyone on a respectful diet, but interesting nonetheless. It reminds me of those silly days when my friends and I had an obsession with making the most epic bacon-esque thing you can (or can't) imagine.
I really enjoyed the Baja Fish Tacos, grilled to near perfection and seasoned with Ocean Wise fish spice. They were served in soft shelled tortillas with fresh cabbage, pico de gallo and a side of Craft signature hot sauce that gave just the right kick.
Then there's the Coconut Curry Steamed Mussels simmered in a house made green Thai curry coconut broth that's comparable to the kind you'd find at a local renown Thai restaurant. The broth was so flavourful we started drinking it like soup. It came with slices of bread that we also used to dip happily away in the broth. I admit, I even contemplated on having an entire bowl to myself.
I highly recommend this place for anyone with an appreciation for beer and always on the lookout to expand their beer palate. The prices are slightly high for a pub and certain dishes could be hit and miss with customers, so it's a matter of knowing which ones are worth your money. The service was carried out in a timely fashion during my experience here, and they always have daily specials going on. A thumbs up for a definitive chill spot after work with friends and colleagues right in the heart of the Olympic Village.
85 West 1st Ave - Salt Building, Olympic Village
Vancouver, BC V5Y 0C4