I’ve often wondered what, exactly, gets a pub the reputation of being an ‘English’ (or Irish) style pub in Canada. Does the Wolf and Hound make the cut?
- The name?
- The Wolf and Hound – I think that counts
- Playing British sports on TV?
- They show football and rugby (although I’ve never seen cricket), so we’ll give them a check mark on that one
- The choice of beer?
- Although mostly local, they do have Irish imports such as Guinness and Harp – maybe half marks
- The food?
- Lamb stews, Pies with Guinness gravy and Sunday roasts – I think they’ve got that one
So, you probably won’t walk in and think “wow, just like being in England (or Ireland),” but yes, this is what passes for an English/Irish pub, in Vancouver.
So, let’s get right down to what’s important – the beer. It is, after all, what the Wolf and Hound does best. They have an excellent selection of local beer – from lagers like Vancouver’s own Red Truck to the dark, like Storm brewing’s Black Plague stout, they have a bit of everything.
Highly recommended is the Black Plague stout. It is like Guinness, with a massive 8% alcohol kick – just the thing for a wet winter day. If you’re more of a bitter beer man (or woman), then go for Driftwood’s Fat Tug IPA. It has the traditional IPA bitterness, along with a hefty 7% alcohol content (are we sensing a trend here?).
The only downside to drinking at the Wolf and Hound is the price. At $6 a pint, it better be damn good beer. The price is, however, somewhat moderated by the fact that they do serve full size imperial pints (20 oz, or about 475 ml).
The food has a bit of a ‘homemade’ feel to it – meaning it can be of exceptional quality, but it can be inconsistent. The steak and mushroom crock is a good example of this – it always seems to taste different and has varied from average (due to being overly salty) to maybe the best pub meal I’ve ever had.
The lamb stew is also good, as is the Irish onion soup (really, just a French onion soup). If you’re looking for a burger, the Cajun chicken burger is pretty good and the BBQ barnyard burger (lamb, bacon, blue cheese and barbeque sauce) is the best burger on the menu. Overall, despite the inconsistency, the food can be excellent, and is above average for pub food.
It does tend to be a bit pricey, mains run around $12-$15, but because of the quality, it is still a decent value.
Overall, the Wolf and Hound is a pretty decent place for a pint. They have several couches to sit and chill, or to watch the game (beware – always busy on nights when the Canucks play). Spacious enough that you never feel crowded, but cozy enough to (almost) pass for an English pub.
Excellent beer, above average food and a good atmosphere (but somewhat high prices) makes for an overall decent experience. And if you’re a dark beer drinking, don’t leave town without trying Storm’s Black Plague stout – you won’t regret it.