A short two-block walk Northwest from the Sea Bus ferry building in North Vancouver lies Sailor Hägar's Brew Pub. The small five-barrel Specific Mechanical brewhouse with its stainless steel brew vessels and uni-tank fementers is visible from street side. A small L-shaped bar hosts five hand pumps, a good sign. The interior features a raised dining area with light wood chairs and copper-topped tables. Tan wooden slats for a ceiling and patterned green carpet create a light, welcoming atmosphere. Beer memorabilia populates the walls. Colored chalkboards sport logos of the house beers and even list the names of popular "megas" served on the premises. Two pooltables and two traditional dartboards occupy the wooden floored game room. A Golden Tee Golf video arcade game stands where American bars would most likely have a shoot-em-up game. A projection TV hovers over the fireplace and is visible from most of the lounge area. Light Rock & Roll drifts from overhead as televised Hockey games appear from various directions. For smokers, the glass, mostly-enclosed patio offers a dozen green plastic patio tables and chairs and shares the spectacular nighttime views across the harbor to Vancouver. The crowd seems 95% male and no one under 19 is allowed inside. Pub t-shirts and logo merchandise is displayed for sale.
The menu touts "traditional pub fare with an emphasis on the tastes of British Columbia's West Coast and the Pub's Scandinavian heritage." The full menu is available until 11 p.m. everyday and weekend English-style brunches are available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for $7-$8. The standard food is fairly light, affordable, and goes well with the nine house beers. Soup and Salad selections run $3 to $10 CAN and the salads include Ceasar, Chicken, and Hot Prawn & Scallop Ceasar. Appetizers are $3 to $11 and feature Jalapeño Poppers, Veggie Samosas, Cajun Chicken Strips, Garlic Toast Baguettes, Nachos Grandes, and Calamari "Wings". Hot Sandwiches are $8-$9, Burgers $8-$10, and thin-crust Pizzas $9-$10. Hot Entrées run $8-$11 and include Lasagna, Deep Fried Breaded Oysters & chips, Halibut, Sirloin, and Halibut & Chips. Daily specials are also advertised. Saturday is Hockey Night, when pizzas are $4 and pitchers $13.
Happy Hour runs 3 to 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday and features $4 Wings, Burgers, Sandwiches, and Lasagna. Standard beer prices include $3.75 for a 12-ounce glass and $6 for a sampler set of three five-ounce glasses. The Belgian Wit Ale is a hazy dark gold with a spicy and tangy flavor where a "soft" wheat flavor goes great with the very smooth mouthfeel to make for a very mellow ale. The Sherpa Porter (seasonal) shows a creamy tan head along with a pronounced peated, nearly smoky, flavor along with a smooth mouthfeel. The Grizzly Nut Brown Ale is dark amber with a rich, dry maltiness where the flavor is evenly balanced and very smooth. The Scandinavian Amber Lager is a clear amber with a rich light malty flavor. The Honey Pilsner sports a lasting white head over its golden body. The CO2 and hops combine to make a big mouthfeel, perfectly appropriate for the accompanying clean hop bitterness that dominates the pale malt flavor. The Heffe Weizen, at 5%, is a hazy dark gold with a fine white head. Both aroma and flavor start with pronounced clove before a light banana character arrives and meets with the wheat to create an overall "tangy" impression. The Lohnin's ESB is a clear amber with a very dry, malty flavor that offers plenty of supporting hop bitterness in this medium-bodied brew where the hops last as long as the Brussels Lace on the glass. Served at cellar temperature - nice job!
The attached West Coast Beer & Wine Shop is a good place to pick up some of the local wares but 341 ml (12-ounce) singles from micros are disappointingly scarce. A few 22-ounce bottles are available, as are 8.5 Liter "pigs" of Guinness for $50. Open daily from 11 a.m. to midnight, its easy-going atmosphere, great view, and excellent lagers and ales make Sailor Hägar's well worth the $2.50 fare for a quick trip across the harbor to North Vancouver.
Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - December 2000