Best Dive Bars in the Metro Vancouver Suburbs
We like to go to a craft brewery tasting room or trendy cocktail bar as much as the next person, but sometimes you just would to split a pitcher of happy hour beer and bite down on an honest hard-working beef burger, not an artisan deconstructed arugula salad with an ethically sourced olive oil vinaigrette.
Dive bars are a great place to meet some locals and get a feel for the unique culture of each Metro Vancouver Suburb. Here at Lifty Life, we encourage you to visit the Vancouver hot spots but also get out of the downtown core and experience the small independent bars and restaurants in the suburbs.
The Heritage Grill (New Westminster)
Heritage Grill is located on the main strip of New Westminster, one block South West of the Columbia Skytrain Station. You will likely hear the nightly live music well before you walk through the door. Shortly after you sit down on a chair with ripped cushions your surly waitress will greet you for your drink order, but don't worry, you will have a very long wait for your food order to come up.
Heritage Grill is one of two pubs in New West with a late-night license to operate till 2 am (Boston Pizza is the other), so as you can imagine it fills up with drunk people as the other restaurants close.
Address: 447 Columbia St, New Westminster, BC V3L 2Y6
Phone: (604) 759-0819
Recommended night: Any night the Wheel Grinders are playing
Recommend eats: Daily special
Recommend drink: Whatever is on the rotating craft beer tap
Singles Scene: You might find a dancing partner
Lifty Life Rating: 9/10
Brownsville Pub & RV Park (Bridgeview Surrey)
The Brownsville Pub is located inside a trailer park quaintly sandwiched between the Fraser River and auto body shops and lumber lots. You have undoubtedly seen the huge neon rooftop “Pub” sign as you cross the Fraser River on the Skytrain into Surrey. Despite being located under the Skytrain, the Brownsville is remarkably difficult to get to from the Scott Road Skytrain Station.
I haven't been to the Brownsville Pub in years, but it gets surprisingly good reviews online, and it might be worth gamble of ordering a meal.
Address: 11940 Old Yale Rd, Surrey, BC V3V 3X3
Phone: (604) 580-1841
Website: No website; they might still have a fax number
Recommended night: Annual poker tournament in August
Recommend eats: Daily special
Recommend drink: Bottled beer
Singles Scene: I friend of mine famously says “Never date a guy from Bridgeview”
Lifty Life Rating: 6/10
Clydesdale Inn (Cloverdale Surrey)
The Clydesdale is located in historic Cloverdale Surrey. Cloverdale has had a bit of identity crisis for the last 50 years, as it has shifted away from a farm country town center, to cowboy themed low-income neighbourhood, to a trendy gentrifying townhouse neighbourhood for millennials with 2.1 kids. Cloverdale hosts both the rodeo and Gibbons Hospitality's Beer Festival.
The Clydesdale welcomes you like a game show contestant choosing which mystery door walkthrough, before traversing a labyrinth of hallways and storage closets. Eventually, the warm glow of the shitty fluorescent lighting will welcome you, and much later still a friendly yet frazzled server might greet you at your sticky table. They have an active pool table and enthusiastic karaoke on weekend nights.
The food is your regular pub fare with all the inspiration of a chef that has clearly been dialing it in since BC Tel installed the current payphone. You would think given Cloverdale's ranching history and the proximity to the Cloverdale Rodeo, that the Clydesdale would feature a thick rib-eye steak dinner with all the fixings, but sadly this is not the case. However, the Clydesdale does feature the dirtiest most infected beer lines that I have ever tasted. All of the draft beers taste like apple cider vinegar. It is so bad that you have to wonder if it managements strategy to sell bottled beer at a higher markup.
Address: 17630 56 Ave, Surrey, BC V3S 1C5
Phone: (604) 576-2826
Recommended night: Karaoke night if that's what you're into
Recommend eats: Chicken wings or just go to the Vault Restaurant beforehand
Recommend drink: Bottled beer, this might be your only chance to drink canned Molson Pilsner in a BC bar
Singles Scene: Surprising high number of bachelorette party girls in cowboy hats
Lifty Life Rating: 7/10
Rendezvous Pub (Langley City)
A classic neighbourhood dive bar that has been a local hangout for 30 plus years. If you grew up in Langley there is a good chance your Father did a line of coke off the bathroom sink while watching the Vancouver Canucks get knocked out of the NHL playoffs. Currently, there is just a bunch of friendly locals vaping outside between pints of cheap lager.
There is a large menu of pub food but nothing will impress you and some might downright disappoint. There are great daily specials and appy hour deals, but trust me when I say that the Wednesday $1 tacos are overpriced.
The Rendezvous has an active friendly pool table and bar trivia on Wednesdays, but fundamentally it is a neighborhood sports bar where the bar staff and barflies will know your name.
Address: 20620 56 Ave, Langley City, BC V3A 3Z1
Phone: (604) 534-3455
Recommended night: UFC Fight Night
Recommend eats: Friday steak dinner special or cheap weekend bunch
Recommend drink: Fat Tug on tap
Singles Scene: It is easiest to meet someone smoking outside or at the pool table
Lifty Life Rating: 9/10
Ranch Pub and Grill (Maple Ridge)
The Ranch is way off the beaten path but is worth the drive. Located on the picturesque Maple Ridge Equi-Sports Centre; you can sit on their wrap-around deck and watch people ride and jump horses while you eat and drink. The food is very good and cheap, but the daily specials are what puts the Ranch on the map and on this list. Monday are $6.99 buffet-style all you can eat tacos and on Wednesday they have $4.99 burger and fries. The Ranch offers both Bud and Bud Light and not much else. You are not going to find any of Maple Ridge's local craft beers offered here.
Address: 21973 132 Ave, Maple Ridge, BC V4R 0A7
Phone: (604) 467-5616
Recommended night: Monday
Recommend eats: All you can eat tacos
Recommend drink: Sleeman
Singles Scene: Sexy yoga instructors don't drive to the middle of nowhere to stuff themselves with “you can eat tacos” but you might meet a cute country girl with a horse obsession during the weekend afternoons.
Lifty Life Rating: 10/10
Honourable Mention: The Fort Pub (Langley Township)
Although, not as old at the Fort itself the Fort Pub has been around for ages and had gone through many changes over the decades. As a kid, I remember the Fort Pub as a motorcycle gang bar with a lineup of Harley Davidson's outside and some pretty rough looking folks inside. Bikers from all over the Lower Mainland would take the Albion Ferry across the Fraser River from Maple Ridge and stop in for cheap pitchers of Budweiser.
In 2009 the Golden Ears Bridge connecting Maple Ridge and Langley Township opened several kilometers down the Fraser River and the Albion Ferry permanently closed. The Fort Langley and the Fort Pub had a bit of an identity crisis without a steady stream of ferry traffic. The Fort Pub slipped into the bar where Fort Langley old-timers and Walnut Grove high school students drank pitchers of cheap beer.
Over the last five to ten years Fort Langley has reinvented itself into a cute walkable neighbourhood with high-end restaurants, cute cafes, and boutique shops.
Now the Fort Pub has a great enclosed patio and sells delicious food that goes well beyond the typical pub fare. The bar back is clearly leftover from their dive bar days, and they have a lot of Parallel 49 on tap to the detriment of other craft breweries. But it is a clean trendy place to get a drink with friends after window shopping for cranberry jam.
Address: 9273 Glover Rd, Langley City, BC V1M 2R6
Phone: 604) 888-6166
Recommended night: Sunday
Recommend eats: Bunch
Recommend drink: Parallel 49 Tricycle Grapefruit Radler
Singles Scene: Maybe on the patio or the pool table
Lifty Life Rating: 10/10
Nathan Griffiths is the Operations Manager for Lifty Life Hospitality. He has over a decade of experience managing small and medium-sized hospitality businesses across western Canada. Nathan has a unique ability to improve operational efficiency and profitability of every property he manages.