Happy Places: Living Life on #ThePortside

An east coast pub in a west coast city, we explore the seafaring ways of Portside Pub.

Portside Pub Vancouver Happy Hour

Happy Hour: $5.75 craft beer from 5-8pm

Walking into Portside Pub kind of feels like stepping down into the belly of a ship — a well-loved, rum-soaked ship. Exposed wooden beams line the ceiling, and glass mugs with regulars names hang above the bar. The aesthetic is wood, rope, and more wood.  

Portside is located at 7 Alexander Street, just steps away from where Gastown legend Gassy Jack’s first bar, the Globe Saloon, once stood. The Gastown area is always bustling, with tourists and the tech startup after-work crowd hustling in search of a patio or a photo opportunity.

With so much happening around this central location in Gastown, Portside’s entrance can be easy to miss. But locals know the spot well, and weekend guests will often find themselves lined up to enter along the cobblestone sidewalk. The unassuming entrance gives little indication of what lies beneath, as visitors delve downstairs into the belly of this local fave.

Great beer, friendly staff, comforting food, and good music.” – Sarah Whitney, events and marketing coordinator

Tucked beside the biggest patio in Gastown, at the corner of Carrall Street and Water Street, Portside is an “east coast pub” in a west coast city, according to Sarah Whitney, their events and marketing coordinator.

“The goal with the Portside Pub is to be the friendliest bar in Vancouver. Great beer, friendly staff, comforting food, and good music,” says Whitney.

Portside Pub Vancouver Happy Hour

Portside lives their friendly motto through a wide range of east coast-inspired events that lure thirsty visitors into the bowels of the pub. Regular “appie hours,” huge east coast boils with mountains of fresh seafood and beer flowing, whisky and beer tastings, and live acoustic performances from bawdy local talent are mainstays.

Regulars also flock to favourite nights like the weekly “Rock, Paper, Portside!” competition, an adult take on the schoolyard classic that features an official referee, prizes, and lofty bragging rights.

On weekend nights, Portside takes visitors from casual afternoon beers straight ahead into the high seas of nighttime festivities with a bumping dance floor and a line that often stretches along the block. An upstairs bar and gangway-esque walkways provide ample space for revelers of every speed.

On event-free nights, the pub’s daily happy hour offers $5.75 pours of 22 local craft beer taps. Happy hour at Portside is all about allowing guests to “[blow off] some steam off after a long day at work, without breaking the bank! Or maybe just cooling down after spending a day at the beach,” says Whitney.

Portside Pub Vancouver Happy Hour

Where to Find Cheap Beers for Under $5: Downtown Vancouver

For frequenters of Vancouver’s downtown core, here are the cheapest happy hour beers you can find.


Sure, sometimes you go to happy hour to try something new, elevate your palate, or expand your boundaries. But a lot of the time, you go to happy hour looking for the quickest, dirtiest, cheapest beer you can possible find. Because really, what you’re needing after a long day at the office is the sweet satisfaction of cheap alcohol. For frequenters of Vancouver’s downtown core, here are the cheapest happy hour beers you can find.

Bin 941 Tapas Parlour

This quirky hole in the wall packs big French flavours into a small dining room. Let them lure you in between 5 and 6:30pm for $4 draft beers.

Butcher and Bullock


This darkened, lush pub atmosphere boasts a rich mahogany bar and pool tables, making it popular with the financial district’s after-work crew. Beers are $4 from 3 to 6pm.

Cactus Club Cafe (Coal Harbour)


The flagship location of the casual dining giant has $4 Longboard Lager and $4 Gypsy Tears from 3 to 6pm. Nab a spot on the patio to enjoy views of landing float planes and the Stanley Park seawall with your drink.

The Greedy Pig

Despite the name, this downtown eatery’s specials are fairly generous. From Tuesday to Friday, you can get $4 sleeves from 3 to 6pm.

Hapa Izakaya

Izakayas are a type of informal Japanese gastropub, and Hapa delivers on complex Japanese flavours with a casual feel. Plus, beers are $4 from 3 to 5:30pm.

JOEY Bentall

Check out JOEY’s Bentall location for a slick patio and a fusion of Eastern and Western cuisines throughout the menu. From 3 to 6pm, beers are $4.

JOEY Burrard


A few blocks up from the Bentall location is JOEY Burrard, making the upscale casual chain one of the most accessible in the area. Just a few steps off Robson and next door to YYoga, JOEY Burrard is great for post-shopping and post-vinyasa imbibing. Beers are $4 from 3 to 6pm and 9pm to close on Sunday through Thursday.

Library Square Public House


Cruising past the downtown branch of Vancouver Public Library between 3 and 6pm? Stop by Donnelly Group’s Library Square for a chill patio and $4 beers.  

Original Joe’s Restaurant and Bar

Original Joe’s Robson location is right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Vancouver’s downtown shopping neighbourhood, making it a perfect choice after hitting the boutiques. Check out their 3 to 6pm happy hour for $3.75 Original Joe’s Draught — one of the best beer deals in the city.

Yagger’s Downtown Restaurant & Sports Bar

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Come swing by and grab a drink tonight 🍻

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Channel the ghost of Cinco de Mayo’s past during Yagger’s 4 to 6pm happy hour: Dos Equis are on special for $3.50, and draft beers are $4.75. In terms of vibe, expect a relaxed sports bar with plenty of comfort food on hand.

Vancouver’s downtown core is dense and always bustling, but there are still plenty of quiet oases where you can enjoy a relaxing drink. Head to the closest of these spots next time you’re needing a beer and craving the sweet satisfaction of paying less for it.

Feature Image: Lance Anderson