The Alibi Room is located in an industrial heritage space on the eastern edge of Gastown. This two level, minimalist room is owned by film types and features a diverse menu with a healthy concience.
This was one of the first cool spots in town before it was in style - what we now call trendy. The ambiance is great because it is minimalist and that's pretty much how the food is too. If you want a low key yet interesting place to hang out over a plate of food, the Alibi Room is suitable. The food is fine but not memorable - no complaints anyways.
This is a big, open-spaced place. Noisy/lively. Great ambience-- stone walls and floor, long tables, etc. A pretty cool mix of casual and fancy.
The read deal here is the food and beer pairings, and the staggeringly deep beer list. They have a small but excellent menu-- everything from basic Italian hors d'ouevres to platters to a superb elk stew-- and the servers know their stuff. There are probably fifty beers on tap-- no bottles-- from all over the world. Belgium, Oregon, Quebec, B.C., Germany and California are all represented. This is also the only place where you can get superb Steamworks beer (brewed by Conrad Gmoser) outside of Steamworks.
What sets this place apart is the owners' idea that beer-and-food pairings can be as sophisticated, yummy, whatever, as food&wine pairings. The servers know their beer list, and will make excellent recomendations. Where else are you going to find Deschutes' Inversion on tap in Canada, and have it served with,say, curried chicken? Weird..and awesome. Go, and try a beer you've never had!
For beer lovers, this is the best place in Vancouver (with Steamworks a close second), and it's a great dining experience for anyone.
Drinks: good selection of beers, good overall drink menu
Food: Appies are good, humous, yam fries, spring rolls, chowder, etc. come early on weekday and they are all only $5, good breakfasts.
Service: decent to good
Ambiance: cool space, lofty, loungey and not overcrowded, not too loud with a slightly older crowd (like over 25) than a lot of other gastown drinking establishments. Causal but nice at the same time. A good place to meet friends for a drink/bite during the week or early on the weekend. Apparently a good place for birthdays but never had one there myself. Sucks the only bathrooms are downstairs.
This is one of my favourite rooms in the city. They have an awesome beer selection, food that is more than capable at keeping up with the booze, and the room itself is pretty stunning. This is the best place to go if you are serious about beer as it is reasonably priced, a huge and unique selection, and a good sampling program. Some food items that get thumbs up include the burger, fries, and wings. Service was great in some respects -- setting up reservations and decent help with beer selections -- but lacked in the friendly and timely categories.
The alibi Room has almost found it's niche in Vancouver's Saturday night scene. It's a mature environement that's a great for a night out on it's own, and a decent alternative to a club or the typical lounge. It definitely has a lot of character, and all the potential in the world. However, to fully fit into it's niche for a saturday night alternative, they need to adjust their perspective on how they run their bar....they need it to serve drinks! We had a party of about 30 people. As the night wore on, our waitress had a tough time keeping up with the number of orders, which can be understandable because it was pretty busy with our party and a couple of other parties going on at the same time. So since it was taking so long to get our drinks, we decided to go to the bar to place a few orders. Now mind you, when I called in advance to place the reservation for this place, the hostess clearly said that the place has the type of atmosphere where getting up from your table and hanging at the bar and getting drinks was all good. But when we placed our order, the barteneder upstairs denied us! This was completely ridiculous since you could go to a family-oriented restaurant like Red Robin's and get a beer at the bar, but for a mature environment like the alibi room to turn you down seemed childish to me. The attitude at the bar upstairs does not do justice to this venue. And what a contradiction to their "policy" when you could go to the bar downstairs, and get a drink without any issues. All in all, the place has all the potential in the world and with a few pieces in the right place it could be a really cool place. But until the bartenders treat their bar like an actual bar, it's still falls short of a "place to be" on a saturday night.
Spent a friday evening down there for dinner and drinks, the beer selection was second to none and Nigel the owner/bartender really knew his beer. It was nice for a change to see a bartender/owner really take his job seriously.
Every beer I drank I had not heard of and enjoyed thoroughly. I will go back and would recommend to anyone who likes craft beer to check this place out. The food was also excellent.
The ambiance was nice - the server was attentive and the drinks were tastey. The food was good and I would come back here again.
We had burgers and the chicken - both were quite good dishes and the server was quite knowledgeable about the menu, which was helpful.
Had never heard of the place, but went along with friends to try it out.
Huge selection (20+ ?) of beers on draught - beers/ales, lagers, porters/stouts, fruity little numbers & even a couple of ciders. You're spoilt for choice if you're a beer drinker. Excellent, with the possibility of small sample orders. A breath of fresh air, more like a traditional British pub.
But whilst the beer selection is excellent, the main course food selection is somewhat limiting (5 or 6 items ?), poor quality & poor VFM. They serve a small selection of tapas-type nibbly dishes to go with your beer, which are OK.
Service seems a little stressed & a little pushy, but that could be because they were busy. Go to the bar & order direct & browse the selections on offer. Check out the guest beers on the chalk board.
Good atmosphere & not a TV is sight, so you might be able to have a conversation with your friends !
It's located a little out of Gastown. You could quite easily walk past it, as there is no signage advertising the establishment. Great for train-spotting, as it backs onto the railyards !
I'd definitely go back.
We went for a friend's birthday and it was a group of approximately 14 of us. It was a Saturday night so I understand how busy and frustrating it can be to take care of large groups. That being said...
Right from the beginning, we already felt rushed. I asked our server for a beer recommendation, and she blurted it out quickly without any explanation as to why or any concern of whether it is a type of beer I would enjoy. I don't mind if it doesn't end up working out for me but she didn't seem to want to give a recommendation.
I tried to flag her down for any appy as our group was still arriving. She was leaving a table with dishes, so I figured that would be an okay time to go. I asked her if we could order fries but she cut me off, a bit annoyed, saying she would come back. Yes, it was busy but I didn't think it was a big deal to put in an order of fries when you are on the way back with dishes. Maybe she had some other things to take care of so this was fine.
The quality and value of the food was good. I enjoyed my curry and I think others in the group enjoyed their dinners as well.
However, the thing that irked me most was that she came with our birthday cake when half the group had gone downstairs to get a drink from the bar. She didn't ask if we were ready for it - she just came and all of us were surprised with it and scrambled to wish the birthday boy a happy birthday.
Other things to note was
-Auto-grat was added on the after-tax amount. Is that normal? I didn't think so...
-She seated two guests at the same table as us. I don't believe she even let us know beforehand even though we would have been fine with it
-She took the package of sparklers and never gave it back (busy, so understandable)
In general, the Alibi Room does look like a nice spot to have dinner, just not as a big group. I did not enjoy being pushed out in a very obvious manner...Though I guess restaurants need to turnover their tables.
I love weekend brunch at the Alibi Room - it's a totally hip, yet unpretentious place in downtown Vancouver. You don't have to dress like you're going to a fashion show (like many places in yaletown) - this place just has a really comfortable feel to it.
The food is excellent and is a really good value, and service is always great.
I'll definitely be back.
Have been here for both dinner and brunch, but this is a brunch review.
The Alibi Room has a very welcoming, comfortable feel during the daytime, thanks to an abundance of natural light and the unique layout of long rows of tables.
I had the chorizo omelette, which contained some of the tastiest chorizo I have ever had. I also had a taste of the waffles with brie and strawberries (delicious!) and the portobello mushroom sandwich? (so good - it even sounded great from the menu and was my second choice).
The service was good - very organized and reasonably friendly. It wasn't too slow or notably fast.
I will definitely be back, both for brunch and dinner. This restaurant has never disappointed me.
The Alibi Room has turned into one of my favorite haunts for great beer and food. Kudos to the restaurant for sourcing their food locally as much as possible. The sandwiches are always well prepared, as are the specials. On one occasion, I had a shepherd's pie which was beautifully executed with lovely moist braised lamb, veggies, and mashed potatoes all done in a lovely presentation. On another, I had the Montreal smoked beef with sauerkraut on rye... it was very good, especially with the yam fries. The charcuterie and cheese platters, while filled with great meats and cheeses, are a little on the small size for the money. Desserts are always good... the chocolate molten cake is great, especially with a full-flavored stout.
The beer list is second to none in the city. Nigel, the owner, takes his beers seriously, and the fact that they always have eighteen or nineteen beers on tap (mainly from B.C., but with guest kegs from the U.S.) makes this the place to go for great brews.
Service is attentive. At a recent birthday party, the staff managed to deliver our food and bevvies promptly, while keeping the bills separate as requested.
The ambiance is what one would expect in a "pub" type restaurant, but it can get extremely noisy at times. The Alibi Room is not a place to go for that intimate dining experience... be prepared, especially on weekends. If you are going in a group, it's a great place as many of the tables are long ones that can accommodate large parties.
All in all, The Alibi Room is a one of a kind restaurant pub... good food and service with great beer. Prices are, all in all, very reasonable. This is a place not to be missed, especially if you like beer.
Great room, great food, great service, great beer.
They had some sort of buy-out or really large party when we went, but they still had room for us at the bar, which was comfortable and well attended by the bar staff.
Had an awesome papperdelle with chanterelles and braised beef and such a good lighthouse port - had a chocolate/coffee flavor that was delicious.
Enough said, just go there.
The Alibi Room has the best beer selection in the city. I love to go here for group gatherings as the communal tables lend themselves well to big dinner parties. I also like to sit at the bar on my own sampling a selection of micro brews. The staff are so warm, very inviting. I never feel uncomfortable sitting by myself. I love the menu. There seems to be a local focus on ingredients which I am always in support of. If you are looking for a casual atmosphere, a great time, good food and friendly service check out the Alibi Room.
Great concept but the Alibi Room did not deliver. It is a great space and great diversity in its customers however.
We ordered several food items from the menu. The duck wrap seem interesting and appetizing at first but it came soggy due to the wrap soaked in the sauce. The duck was salty and didn't really live up to its description. The halibut appetizer and the halibut dinner was both underwhelming. These 2 dishes were bland and again didn't really connect with the palate. We also ordered the hamburger. This was also a disappointment. The hamburger also was not seasoned well. The bread was soggy due to the salad. The menu items mentioned above seemed like great concepts but did not deliver in taste and appeal.
The customer service was okay. I understand that its busy but that should have been the focus to provide giving good customer service. We had to constantly flag the waitress what we needed. Good customer service requires the wait staff to constantly check in with the customers to see how they're doing and making sure that things are okay. The food took a long time to come with no apologies. Again, good customer service would be to let the customer know and apologize. Customers would be more forgiving in that. It seemed like the customers were a nuisance for being there and for making the wait staff work.
I've been to several lounges both in the U.S. and Canada. The Alibi Room would have been great but are lacking in customer service and good food.
I would like to consider myself 'restaurant savvy'. I dine out a minimum of 4 nights a week; my business is so that I have to. So, when I say that The Alibi Room is a marvelous and down right excellent restaurant, I mean it. I started to frequent the establishment about a year ago, and have gradually found myself spending more time there as the weeks go by. Why? A few simple reasons. The service for one. It might be a little too casual for some people, but that's my main draw. The service is as friendly as I've ever seen it anywhere, and professional at the same time. They make you feel like family, and the long cafeteria like tables add to this niche perfectly. The beer selection is beyond anything this city has, and if beer is your thing, look no further. The food is rich with ideas and taste, and well priced and portioned, when reviewed with other restaurants of it's caliber.
A special word for the new owners, whom I am told took it over a couple of years ago, and have slowly been molding it to the fine place it is today. A job well done. Your hard work shines through.
There is not much more to add that the last reviewer didn't already say. I agree fully that this already satisfactory resto/lounge/bar has only gotten better since staff took over ownership of this place not long ago. The kitchen, bar, and aesthetics have all improved noticeably over the past year. With the recent flurry of new restaurant openings in Gastown, it would be ashame if the new Alibi Room was overlooked.
I'm a fan of industrial spaces, and Alibi has always been a place I wanted to love, but never really delivered in terms of food & drink - until the current owners took over. I'm a beer snob, and have found local selections typically lacking; Nigel is doing his part to change that. He's got a fantastic range of locals on tap (several of which are sadly under-represented in town), as well as a diverse range of bottles. Lots of great brew that's not found at your local liquor store (and some especially nice 'big' brews in the mix). Apart from the Belgians (which are well-represented elsewhere in town), I'd be hard pressed to want for much else than what's offered here. It's my new favorite watering hole.
Though my primary attraction to this place had been the beer selection, the food has been a pleasant surprise. The menu is a bit unique in my experience; I'd characterize it as upscale English pub fusion - Vancouver style. Tasty & satisfying, but not too heavy. Really satisfying stuff.
Service has always been good & Nigel is the consummate barkeep - great guy. It's a bit of a hidden jem, and seems to attract a low-key crowd. The space has a great ambience; not too loud, casual & unpretentious, yet funky. Nice place to chill with quality brew & good friends. Highly recommended.
I would definitely recommend this place to hang out with friends or to have a nice big get together. I went there last week with a group of friends and we had a blast. The food was good and the service was excellent. The staff at the Alibi Room know how to treat their customers and make them feel right at home. Of the times I've been to this place, I have never been disappointed. I first heard about this place from a friend and I am glad she told me about it. The locale is a definitely a great place to host parties!!! If you are in need of a place to organize a party, book your party at the Alibi Room...you won't regret it
FYI - The Alibi room is now under new ownership and has a great new emphasis on quality beers (local and Interenational micro-breweries) and good food.
While I do think the service and atmosphere require a lot of work, I think that they have all the ingredients to make this a happening spot once again.
Some inspired promotional nights would be good and the bar good benefit from some better mood lighting, background music and friendly effiecent service. I think once this is all taken care of you'll find this place buzzing again.