Restaurant: The Charles Bar
Cuisine: Pub Food/American/Breakfast/Brunch/Burgers
Last visited: October, 9, 2010
Location: Vancouver, BC (Gastown/Downtown)
Address: 136 West Cordova Street
Price Range: $10-20
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
Food: n/a (I didn’t try enough)
Ambiance: 5 (if you’re a sports fan)
- Same owners as Caprice nightclub
- Mostly a sports bar
- Recently opened
- Pub Food
- Man’s club/sports fans
- Good for drinks/bar snacks
- Casual, comfortable, clean
- Affordable, but small portions
- Breakfast/brunch available
- Occasional live entertainment
- Open late
**Recommendations: n/a because I haven’t tried enough, although the pulled pork is tasty and the nachos looked good.
The Charles Bub is new to the Gastown scene and it’s part of The Adelphia Group. They also own PIVO Public House as well as a few popular night clubs such as Caprice, Celebrities, and Venue. I looked at the menu for PIVO Public House and they look very similar with some items overlapping, however I would say The Charles Bar is much more of a sports bar and more casual with food and ambiance.
I think it’s safe to say that’s it’s not a meeting place for foodies. My expectations were low and I can’t say that I was disappointed or really impressed either. The Charles Bar is for hardcore sports fans who appreciate a sleek night club-ish atmosphere, so I’m not really the target market. There are televisions everywhere including a massive jumbo screen behind the bar.
The food is a bit classier than typical bar food featuring a “French Fry Bar” and a “B.A.L.T.I.C Sandwich”, which is a 2.0 version of a BLT. I was a bit surprised by the small portions so it is pricier than your standard bar. From the few items I tried I was inspired to make it better, but not really to order more or come again anytime soon… unless they’re playing Gossip Girl on Mondays. 😉 The food will probably do for the average guy who just wants to watch the game with a beer in hand… actually it’s more like a cocktail or Yagger Bomb in hand… yes, it’s a little that crowd. However, if I was going for this style I would actually just rather hit up Joey’s or Romer’s Burger Bar which I think both have better food.
I was surprised that they served breakfast and brunch, although it’s really more for snacks and casual eats.
On the table:
- Kennebec, Fries, Lemon Zest, Truffle $7.50
- I could definitely smell the truffle as soon as they put it down. The aroma was awesome.
- The portion was a bit small and the fries were a bit bitty and short. They could have been crispier and I was surprised they were Kennebec potatoes because the texture didn’t taste that creamy.
- I could taste the truffle which seemed rolled in a little bit of Parmesan cheese powder with some fresh lemon zest, herbs and rock salt. It was a bit clumpy so you had to make sure you had a clump of seasoning on each fry. It was very flavourful and tangy, but the fries could be better as well as the execution.
- I actually liked the flavour better than the Truffle Oil Reggiano Fresh Cut Fries at Romer’s Burger Bar, although the fries at Romer’s are better.
Mini Pulled Pork Sandwiches – 3/6
- Small buns, saucy slow roasted pork and pickled cucumber with matchstick fries $11
- I saw “pulled pork” featured 3 times on the menu including on brunch AND it’s featured on the menu at PIVO Public House, so I had to try it out. I also love pulled pork anyways.
- This was on the “bar food” section as an appetizer and I think it was worth $9 instead of $11.
- These were good, but not amazing. The bun tasted better than it looked. It could have more toasted but at least it wasn’t too thick, hard or dry.
- It was very simple, but the pulled pork was very juicy, soft and tender. It was so shredded that it was almost like a pulled pork stew. The barbeque sauce is sweet and it’s thin like a soup so it’s really almost a stewed pulled pork and the juices soak down to the bun which is great.
- The slider itself almost tasted Asian to me with the pickled cucumbers. They actually aren’t that pickled so there’s not much tang at all. They’re soft and sweet and with the pulled pork it reminds me of those Peking Duck wraps.
- Overall it’s quite tasty, but nothing too special. I would rather have the Terracotta Short Rib Sliders at Terracotta Modern Chinese Restaurant + Lounge + Bar just down a few blocks.
- It came with a side of these matchstick fries which were more like chips and they reminded me of Hickory Sticks without the seasoning. They seemed like potato scraps, and I would much rather have the matchstick fries like the “Pomme Frites” from Bin 941 Tapas Parlour or the “Haystack fries” from Blue Canoe Waterfront.
Beef Short Rib Flat Bread Pizza – 2.5/6
- Crushed tomato, slow braised beef short ribs, horseradish cream, and green onions $12
- They feature a section of flat bread pizzas, but I found them minimal in size (appetizer size) and creativity. It’s quite impressive for a casual sports bar, but for a restaurant it’s underwhelming. I would much rather have the flat breads from Joey’s.
- The braised short ribs were juicy and tender and overall it was a sweet and tangy flat bread with the tomato sauce. It was pretty crispy but it was just so standard and it had so much more potential. It just needed a couple more ingredients like sweet pearl onions and some dried or fresh herbs.
- I wish I could taste the horseradish, but you could barely taste any at all. It wasn’t spicy and the horseradish cream was more like cream cheese. It was good, but then they should call it a cream cheese drizzle and not a horseradish one. People who order horseradish usually want to taste it and aren’t afraid of the kick it has. I thought this was a sports bar?… Bring on the heat!
You must remember that drunken, uncouth young men who argue loudly about sports, women, politics and toys, will be those eating this food. They wont have any expectations(except hopefully to get served by the hottest looking girl).
Bow – lol the hottest girl probably… however I think the real rowdy guys that are really just there for the game will probably not want to pay that much for smaller portion “fancy” food… and would rather get a burger and a beer for $8.50 at a pub near by.