Located just one mile from the 466,500-sf Vancouver Convention Center and the Port Metro cruise terminal is Gastown, a waterfront city that combines history with eccentric restaurants, local bars, breweries and entertainment venues. While attending meetings in Vancouver, a progressive dinner or city tour is a perfect evening event for large groups.
The cobblestone streets, Victorian buildings and historic courtyards date back 125 years when Vancouver’s founding father, “Gassy” Jack Deighton discovered the city known as “the birthplace of Vancouver.”
The evocative neighborhood is lined with designer-owned shops, galleries and boutiques, earning the title of “Forth Most Stylish City in the World,” by Complex magazine. We recommend stopping into Canadian Maple Delights where groups learn how to make maple toffee on snow. It’s a surprisingly healthy and sweet tradition in Gastown. Other tour options include a visit to the Vancouver Art Gallery and a walking tour of historic downtown Vancouver.
Above everything else, the food scene is really what defines Gastown. There are dozens of local restaurants, bars and lounges along the hip roadways, all boasting a true sense of culinary originality. For groups of 12 per guide, a Gastown Food Tour brings attendees to some of the city’s best bars and restaurants, while learning the history of Vancouver.
Steamworks pub and brewery is located in the heart of Gastown, with gorgeous views of the harbor and cruise port. The restaurant boasts a modest, rustic vibe with a bit of elegance. The brewery is the only fully functional steam powered brewhouse in Canada, serving up to 10 craft beers seasonally.
The bare wood panel ceilings, retro art and pool tables provide a casual and comfortable spot for groups to dine and relax. There are three spaces for planners to choose from, including the 50-seat Wine Room with built-in bar, the 70-seat Harbor Room with gorgeous views of the water and the 120-seat Uber Lounge. Combine the lounge with the nearby atrium for groups of 225 and the Wine/Harbor rooms for multi-venue events for groups of 120.
The pub maintains a huge menu, with everything from a steak and stilton salad to macadamia crusted Pacific halibut. The Angus burger with bacon and aged cheddar is a big favorite with the locals. Be sure to pair all food items with the loaded Canadian fries complete with smooth gravy and cheese curd.
SALT TASTING ROOM
Along a cobbled alley named after the area’s former butcher trade is Salt, a trendy and atmospheric wine bar serving artisan breads, dry cured meats and an endless variety of imported cheeses. It’s a simple sharing concept that gets the whole group mingling and conversing. The selection changes daily and features over 10 meats, 10 cheeses, 10 condiments, salads, hot cheese sandwiches and a toasted meat and cheese panini. Wine flights are customized based on planner requests.
Groups of 40 gather in The Salt Cellar, a basement dining room that doubles the occupancy during buyouts. The brick lined venue frequently hosts groups for meetings, private meals and fashion shows.
For a peek inside the world of “whole animal cookery,” check out one of Gastown’s hottest restaurants, Wildebeest. The multi-level restaurant is a fun cocktail bar and lounge with an open kitchen, large family-style tables, an expansive dining room with banquette seating and a cool underground wine bar. Executive Chef Wesley Young practices classic butchery traditions and simple, contemporary techniques when preparing his meat-filled meals. Each dish celebrates the season and local flavors.
We love this place because all meals are made for groups, each serving between 6-10. The menu titled “Premeditate Gluttony” includes a whole pork roast with fermented kale, roasted potatoes and berry jus. Private group dining for 90 pax is available on the second level and buyouts accommodate groups up to 140 pax.
Located in an 18th century brick and beam loft is L’abattoir, a contemporary French take on the popular farm-to-table movement. The restaurant was built in the 19th century and the site of Vancouver’s first jail. The name actually translates to “slaughterhouse” in French.
The whitewashed brick walls and dangling driftwood antlers create a cool, hipster vibe. Menu highlights include a poached egg with Burgundy truffles and roasted scallops with lemon marmalade. For private dining, book the 20-seat room adjacent to the bar, serving contemporary cocktails, wine and variety of craft beers.