We meander through the neighbourhood and find ourselves on Powell Street.
Named after Dr. I W. Powell (1836 – 1915) – a doctor, businessman and politician who played a role in extending the CPR line from Port Moody to Coal Harbour and donated land for Vancouver’s first City Hall. As Maple Tree Square feeds out to four distinct streets, Powell Street is blessed with many fine restaurants, some rather stylish clothing boutiques, a pair of inviting coffee shops, an all-female tattoo parlour, a fun dog supply store and an gift shop selling all sorts of weird and wonderful things.
It’s Powell Street. You could spend all day here.
Rodney’s Oyster House has an excellent happy hour and the nautical theme is apropos to the food on the table. Low Tide is Monday to Saturday, 3pm-6pm (and all day on Sunday!) – spilling over with fresh fruits de la mer – mussels, clams, oysters and shrimp as well as Haida Gwaii Candy. Exclusive to Gastown is a secret area of the vessel – The Ship’s Hold – hidden underneath the Oyster House, this intruiging room comes complete with its own oyster bed and bar! The room can hold gatherings of up to 30 people.
If you’re craving some good home cooked Indian food, come to Sitar Restaurant. All the classics are here as well as a few interesting variations. They make their own desserts and there are special dinner combinations for two with a vegetarian option. They have an excellent signature SITAR DINNER – Lamb curry, alugobi, tandoori, chicken dal, rice pillau, naan, papad and chutney.
The Diamond is not what you think it is. Peering through the wide old windows that look out onto Maple Tree Square, one may think this establishment, with it’s firm oak hewn cocktail bar and great crystal chandelier, procures Southern US styled fare with a limited old world drink list. Think again – the menu offers fresh sushi, nigiri and rice bowls with an extensive, albeit invigorating composition of cocktails inspired by cities and locations along the West Coast.
The Sardine Can on Powell – and it is only slightly bigger than one– is an intimate, warm, Spanish inspired nook, made to enjoy close converstion, a ruddy good Rioja and to indulge in a lovely selction of tapas such as Champiñones, Arroz con Pollo, Chorizo con Jerez and Patatas bravas. The white tiled floor and open kitchen, along with air filled with the scent of thick olive oil, smoke and jamon, brings the visitor back to that feeling of being in Madrid and Barcelona.
Milano Espresso Lounge’s history is as rich as the coffee they roast. In the 1980’s, Founder and Master Roaster, Francesco Curatolo, brought 75 years of Italian roasting and blending expertise to Vancouver. Current Owner, Master Roaster and Protégé to Francesco, Brian Turko has mastered the art of true Italian Coffee. Are we bean lovers spoilt in Gastown? Yes. Milano has their own way of doing things and the result is unmistakable. Yet another reason to spend the day on Powell and hours in this fine café.
Just when Gastown delights us with something new and unexpected, you part ways with a friend at Maple Tree Square – one goes along Alexander Street, the other to Powell and much sooner than later, you discover that all roads lead to The Birds & Beets. For the sake of the article, say you enter the place from Powell. To your left is an ever changing but constant display of fresh flowers. At the end of the counter are two water taps – still and sparkling, that drain into a luscious bed of parsley. The brick is exposed; there are well-made sandwiches, a healthy supply of robust coffee and aromatic teas and an awareness that those who frequent the spot, feel at home here. Currently one of the neighbourhood hot spots and will be for some time to come.
Originally the site of the popular Bao Down, now home to Edwards Seafood & Spirits – named after Bao Down co-owner and chef, Greg Edwards. Complete with a canoe on the wall and a well stocked bar, the new venture serves a hearty menu of fish & chips, fried fish sandwiches, fresh seafood plates, and cocktails.
Angel Vancouver is located in one of Vancouver’s oldest buildings (the Ferguson Block at No. 2 Powell Street – one of the two oldest commercial buildings in Vancouver built after the fire of 1886). Owned and operated by L.A. Chouinard Art Institute grad, Jackie Haliburton, Angel is an authorized Desigual dealer – unique men’s, women’s and kids’ clothing from the company, based in Barcelona. They also create custom hand-painted T-shirts, each piece, a work of art by the skilled hand of Jackie herself.
In Gastown, it’s good to know your Neighbours. It’s even better to visit them. Neighbour Woman on Powell is just for her. They have thought of everything including fragrances, skincare, jewelry, footwear, housewares and clothing. Their selection is finely curated and such a store as Neighbour Woman, is a place that you can depend on for things you actually want and will wear. They carry a fine selection of Comme De Garçons Wallets. You might buy more than one; they’re that nice.
Half retail floor, half studio, The Lab is a space for design concept experimentation for lululemon. Featuring a team of in-house designers and a sampling room, The Lab develops focused collections that react to the rhythm of the city. These collections are produced in limited quantities that are exclusive to the lab space, and influence the no-sweat sector of main line lululemon.
There’s a Stussy location on Powell and it’s one of two in the entire country. They carry their own streetwear inspired brand and currently have some really nice new arrivals for Summer 2018 with many circa 90’s pastel shaded t-shirts and hats. The dream of the 90’s is definitely alive in Stussy Gastown.
Liquid Amber Tattoo & Art Collective is a mostly female group (along with one awesome dude). These talented artists bring their own unique style to the collective that results in some incredible body art. They are special in that they offer a completely vegan tattoo experience from start to finish.
EZ Dog is a family-owned and operated dog grooming & dog supplies store, offering boarding, daycare, grooming and supplies. They love dogs and the neighbourhood and their passion for both is obvious as soon as you walk in the store. Shop for for all your pet’s needs while they relax on the big red leather couch, reserved exclusively for the doggies to socialize and have treats.
Kimprints is loaded, from floor to ceiling to window with unique and interesting gifts, cards, posters and prints. They also offer picture framing services using high quality frames. Located in the apex of the Europe Building, there is plenty of fun browsing to do, with an endless amount of cool items to discover and toy with.