The Charlatan offers 15 fresh tap beers with 12 imported brews, along with a menu featuring all your pub favourites.
The chef does it right.
Tuna bites - grilled to rare perfection with wasabi mayo. $9
Goat cheese - a HUGE slab of WARM cheese, lovely foccaccia, greens - $7 ...let me repeat that. $7.
Our burgers were very well executed, with just the right combo of ingredients to go with it.
Duck breast cost $17 - have paid a LOT more for not as good.
We will CERTAINLY go back, and soon!!
Do not miss it.
Dropped by The Charlatan on Saturday to get away from the non stop drizzle outside. We were greeted by a very unfriendly young looking girl, looked about 16, who took us to our table. Barely a word out of her and she certainly didn't look like she was having a great day. Attention bar/restaurant operators, hire people who at least fake interest in what they are doing.
Ordered calamari and wings. They were out of calamari and the day really had just begun. We were there at around 2pm, so they didn't stock up yet from the day before or what?
Instead of the calamari our server, who was actually not bad, suggested the mussels so we ordered them.
The order arrived in a good enough time and the mussels were just passable, somewhat fishy tasting and not very plump. The sauce served with them was sparse and reminded me of something made with a water base. Let's see, water, salt and pepper to taste. The 'butter sauce" they were suppose to come with certainly didn't taste buttery.
The hot wings that we ordered along with the mussels were your standard hot wings not a single thing special about them. They were also a little on the small side with a couple of carrots and celery sticks and no dipping sauce.
Come to think about it, the experience was just slightly better than the weather. At least we were dry.
My co-workers and I love this place. The food, fun and atmosphere is great. Were like the usuals now as it's the only hangout we go to.
The Food: It's changed since the last time we were here. I'm guessing they got a new chef. They don't have the trio of fries anymore and the tuna bits don't come with the wasabi sauce. They got rid of the asparagus with cheese and Criss Angel Martini (which were my favs). What's new is the oyster poyboy sandwich, a new kind of trio potato chips and a few martinis.
The Service: A few of our favorite host/ress are no longer there, but the ones that are currently there are also great. The service is quick and I only had a problem once in the 6 times we were there. The bartender is such a great guy. I once had an accident with my drink and he saw and gave me one on the house. Cool guy!
The Ambiance: Really cozy, there are three levels: The bar, the middle section with a fireplace and giant tv and the lower section with really cozy seating and romantic atmospheric setting. It's something can get quite loud with music blasting and people around you but if you not really there to watch the game it's a great place to have fun!
We had put up alot of rowdiness there and they have been great with their smiles and laughter. The one time we were there the owner even came over to humour our birthday girl with a dance and laughter.
Nice new place on Commercial and great for watching sports events. Average beers to appeal to the masses and pretty lame wine list with the usual suspects. Service was friendly but slow. Above average pub food.
Since the Charlatan is a madhouse for Canucks fans, I'll quote a former member of the local NHL franchise, Todd Bertuzzi when I sum up the Commercial Drive hotspot..."It is what it is".
And its popular for a reason, people
The Char gets a general thumbs up from me because it delivers decent if not fantastic food and drink for a very reasonable price, especially if you keep an eye on their daily specials. Case in point: A pretty ok burger and a sleeve of beer for $14. Wedenesday nights wings are 50cents each. They're good too. Plump and tasty...and zippy on may last visit. Weekends they serve a very good b-fast (two eggs, sausage or bacon, h-browns and toast for $9.95. But get this: A decent caesar is INCLUDED! So you break your fast and get the first glimmer of a needed hangover-numbing buzz. At least in my case on most weekends...
Daily drink specials are reasonable. Sit up at the bar if Phil is working. He's a very friendly dude and a fine bartender. The service really is outstanding generally speaking when he's mixing 'em behind the high wooden bar. Its insanely loud when the game is on and service does fall off a bit when the staff is running off their feet on busy weekend nights. Where doesnt it? The girls are generally darn pretty and quite attentive. Ecclectic in appearence as you might expect on Commercial Drive.
More free advice:
Try the Tuna Bites....YES
Bennys are good value and well-executed
Avoid what appears to be more complicated menu items as they tend to be hit and miss in my experience
Bring some Raid...there's a fruit fly problem at the bar. Brings new meaning to the term "barfly"
I lived two blocks away from this pub for about 6 months and probably went there at least once a week. although it seems like recently with their new menu their prices are higher but the food is still great.
their selection of on tap beers / ciders is great. i like a place with strongbow on tap.. the servers are pretty friendly and after a while knew what I wanted to eat and drink. I always get the same thing.. chicken pot pie. it sounds like a strange thing to order at a pub, but seriously, you have to try this thing. I think this might just be my favorite meal in vancouver..
tuesday is wing night, and is 50 cents a wing. that seems a little high but their wings are huge and the flavor is good. if you really hate yourself, try the 911 wings, they're painful but delicious.
A friend told us to check this place out after talking him about how much my girlfriend and I loved pubbing. Right off the bat we were impressed, we were greeted not only by the girl at the front door but by a waitress walking by AND the bartender. It was fairly busy, and we were told that it would be upwards of a 15 minute wait, but that we could have a drink at the bar. We opted to wait, and within minutes of getting our drinks our table was ready.
Once at the table the service was just as fast and on point. My girlfriend is vegetarian so some times we have trouble at local pubs finding good food, not here though, the waitress pretty much customized her entire order. It’s all about the little things in life, and these guys nailed it
I've been to the Charlatan several times and it is overall a great place to hang out. The waiters are friendly and professional, however the amount of time it takes the food to hit the table can be unacceptibly long. One time it took 45 minutes for lunch to arrive, and my friend and I were the only people in the restaurant.
Generally I like the menu, not too expensive and a good variety. The best item for dinner, I'm convinced is the meatloaf, sooo good! Its got spinach and bacon in it and is served with mash and gravy, very comfort, very filling, for $12! Drinks are good, and are reasonably priced.
The only think I do not like about this restaurant, is it can be quite dark at night and extremely loud. If you sit at a table with 4 people, you won't hear anything half of them will say. I guess that's because of the 'pub-ish' atmosphere, but still, its head-ache inducing.
I really think I'm fair. I give places chances to re-introduce themselves to me.
But another brunch this week, another stab at liking this place, another disappointment.
Ordered tea. Came in a lovely carafe. So weak that a 5-minute steep couldn't make one mug tasteful even after some sugar and milk, much less a carafe full. So weak I just tossed the tea off the patio and stuck with the left-over warm water. Strike one.
Ordered the breakfast thingy-thing. Basically, a two-egg omelette stuffed into two pieces of bread, two pieces of fruit and some yam (potatoes?) fries.
Bland. All of it. I had to add salt and pepper to get any taste out of the sandwich thing and a lot of ketchup and salt to add any flavour for the fries that tasted like they'd been sitting under the heater lamp too long. Strike two.
The server was very nice and did the job.
Got the bill. Over $13.00. For what amounts to an egg sandwich and tea. Strike three and The Charlatan's out. I can easily get better food (and more of it at half the price) at the Cottage half a block away.
No more attempts at eating here for me. I'd go for drinks with a few friends, but that's it.
The food was great, had pulled pork poutine & tuna bites for appies - would have the poutine again, but maybe try something different from the tuna. The tuna was good, not the best for sharing between 4 people, but had a nice mayo-wasabi sauce. We had the Charlie burger (very filling & succulent - you have to like blue cheese though), and fish & chips (very good, nice & chrispy, & not too large of a portion). Both dishes came with a HUGE amount of fries, we could have shared one serving between 3 people (the fries were excellent, but we also had poutine as a starter, so we had fries already). All in all a very pleasant experience, good food, a pleasant atmosphere, good beer, & good service. We were there during a hockey game, so it was very busy for the servers, but they were great. Also, very reasonably priced.
We went to the aptly named Charlatan hoping for a basic supper at one of the tables in the back. We asked to be seated in a booth but were refused since there were only two of us. Which was a bit silly considering that only 3 out of 7 tables in that area were in use during our meal. Also (and this seems to be a trend on the Drive) the plates were HUGE with small food portions in the middle, which meant that our food barely fit on our table. We ordered 4 items and they all arrived at the same time, making the meal very uncomfortable and awkward as the table was not big enough for 4 huge plates.
The food did arrive quickly and the service was decent, but out of 4 dishes 2 were awful. The calamari is huge rubbery rings that look like onion rings. I've been served this type of calamari once before, at a cheap chain restaurant, and I was disgusted then too.
We did enjoy the tuna bites and the smoked meat sliders, but the Fries - (Frites trio I think they were called) were not cooked properly, it seems they took sweet potatoes, yams, and normal potatoes and dumped them all in the deep fryer together. The potato fries were okay but the other two were undercooked and inedible. The server did remove them from our bill.
With so many other options in the neighbourhood, we won't be back here, although I can see that depending what is ordered, you might have a good (or terrible) experience.
Went to The Charlatan tonight definitely not knowing to expect as I'm not from the Commercial area. I was pleasantly surprised! Quality pub fare at a very reasonable price. I ended up going with the classic beef burger but substituted the cheddar for blue cheese! Satisfying and delicious burger !
I was with a group of eight on a Thursday night; not too busy inside so we were sat comfortably. The service was friendly and attentive. I never ask for split checks at the end but the server was the one who volunteered and brought them out that way which was a nice bonus! The only downside was the pub does not have air conditioning so on a hot, summer night it is quite muggy!
Next time I'm in the area I will for sure pop in for a drink and bite to eat!
Contrary to the reviews above, I wish my experience at The Charlatan had been anywhere CLOSE to half as good as some! Unfortunately, this was not the case:
Out of the 4 of us who went, 3 of us are actively employed in the service and hospitality industry. In saying that, my comments on our experience do not necessarily reflect the views and standards held by people in the industry, but rather, I’m speaking on behalf of people in general:
Upon arrival, it was a little busy, which happens. However, after being seated, it took 20 MINUTES before our "server" even THOUGHT to acknowledge us. Believe you me; we timed it! So much for first impressions. In relation to how busy it was, we were surprised to find that there only seemed to be ONE server on duty for the entire restaurant. We're all for cutting people some slack, but there's a fine line between understanding, and between being completely neglected! What's the point in having "service" if you can't even provide it? (i'll interrupt by saying, by the time the Nachos and Tuna bites DID arrive, they were decent... but nothing beyond that, unfortunately).
Through the evening, we were all feeling as though our waiter, “A_ _ _ _ _”, along with others there, were treating us in an extremely condescending manner. We just came here to eat, not to try and "fit in" to some sort of crowd/environment that has been created in their own minds. Trust me, it's not what YOU think, Charlatan! Unfortunately, “A_ _ _ _ _”, received a GRACIOUS $8 tip on top of our $140 bill, and even THAT felt a bit uneasy leaving our hands. As a group, we eat out often, we drink well, and we tip well! It wasn't until we were ABLE to order a few more drinks that... oh! All of a sudden... our server was our new best friend! What's with the selective service? Sorry guys, but that just doesn’t cut it!
All this being said, I'm not even sure that people will read these comments many more times after I send them. However, I just hope for the sake of the business and as part of the Commercial Drive community that a few more steps are taken towards providing better, more adequate service to customers of The Charlatan. I would LIKE to return here someday, but unfortunately, first impressions DO often last. Likely, we will just have to wait until we hear through the grape vine about the "Great changes they've made at The Charlatan!”
As previously mentioned, being from the service industry myself, let me be first to say that I am aware that you can’t always please everyone and some people are just born difficult. That being said, we certainly are not a difficult group to please.
All this being said, we do wish the best for The Charlatan staff, as well as anyone who reads this, a Happy New Year and all the best in 2009.
The Charlatan is definitely the best place on the drive. The food is great.. I especially enjoy the tuna bites. They have a really cool patio, although it would be even better if it was heated. They have good music, food and a great atmosphere. The staff are down to earth, fun and friendly. The Charlatan has tons of regulars.. there are always familiar faces!
2nd visit to the Charlatan, and after reading so many dissapointing reviews I thought perhaps we just got lucky on the first visit. However, again i was really impressed with the menu, just a bit different from the usual nachos and wings (which are available if you want). Service, yes is fairly relaxed, but we weren't in a rush so it was all good. We had goats cheese with balsamic & hazelnuts, halibut cakes, and the mixed fries. Also the venison. All very very tasty, great presentation and totally affordable. Great little nooks to hide in if you want some privacy but equally a great space if you're in a big group. Wherever you are you can do lots of people watching. All the servers were really friendly, if not the most efficient, but certainly helpful and smiley. Looking forward to my next visit.
Some of the worst service I ever had. We had a large group drinking and eating dinner. Our drinks took at least 30 minutes to arrive, and every time our waitress came over she would roll her eyes at us (for absolutely no reason). When told a salad wasn't dressed, she replied self-righteously, "The kitchen just go 40 orders so they're really busy". Oh really? So due to the busyness of the kitchen we should or should not expect food to be made properly? What does this mean for the burgers, should we be worried about salmonella? Food kept being brought to the table that we didn't order, and used cutlery was dropped in my lap by the waitress, who, when I plucked them out and put them on her tray, asked me to deposit them on another part of her tray instead. We overheard another table asking for their bill, and she informed them that she couldn't remember everything, she was too busy.
I will never go back there again. For so-so food and crappy service, I'd much rather spend my money elsewhere.
I do wish that disgruntled ex-employees would refrain from boringly trying to twist the knife in the back of their ex-employers. Guess what, you didn't get canned because you were good at your job. Don't be so weak, move on.
Okay, we had the Moroccan chicken, the tuna bites, the coconut shrimp and salt & pepper wings. Each of the items was warm & well presented. I like the winks crispy & they were. The tuna bite portion has shrunk but was good and tasty. The shrimp were really great, plump & had a great curry sauce.
The room upstairs by the bar is good. Plenty of floor to ceiling windows to watch the adult cartoon that is Commercial Drive. love the bar. Bar tender that night was P___. P___ is great at his job, works hard, fast & always has a smile for the customer no matter how busy. The waitresses are for the most part pretty good, courteous and diligent. Many are new and a definite upgrade from the gals they had working there up 'til a few months ago.
Newly heated patio is a plus seeing as winter is still here in late May. I think overall you get what you pay for here. The owner is always quick to make amends for any shortcomings, and there aren't too many in truth.
I'll be back for the food, the beer & the 'show' on the Drive.
I have been to many pubs around the Drive and in the Downtown core and this place is definitely top 10...no, TOP 5!!! I have been to the Charlatan a few times before and just can not stay away! First and foremost, THE FOOD IS AMAZING! (i wouldn't suggest the calamari however) The Chef's Feature specials are always a wonderful selection.
What made me want to write this review is the night i had went last friday with some old friends who i haven't seen in awhile and wanted a pub with a great crowd, nothing too rowdy but nothing too tame and pretentious. THIS IS A PERFECT SPOT! First, as soon as we walked in, we were greeted by this corky blonde woman who gave us a few laughs before we even got a table! We got a great table, right in the middle of the action. The second thing we noticed while waiting for our server to arrive, was the atmosphere. The people that attend the Charlatan are a great mix of people of all ages and styles. It felt like I was in cheers or something, everyone seemed so friendly and smiling and there for a good time. The music wasn't always the greatest, some songs definitely didn't match most of what was playing. (Also it was switched to Hip hop around 11:30 ??? i know you want to pump things up but really???) The service was great, the girls that work there are beautiful and so friendly. Even when not talking to the tables, always laughing and cracking jokes. One thing i liked is that our server was very attentive even when she was busy and couldn't get to us right away, she would still let us know she didn't forget about us. Also had great suggestions for drinks and different beers to try.
All around this place is one of the best on the Drive, 4 out of 5 stars for sure! Coming back to try out the sunday roast! GOOD JOB CHARLATAN
Went here for my birthday a couple months back with a group of friends and was pretty disappointed that this "pub" didn't even have pitchers!! The food is definetely not worth it, the portions are small (calamari, spinach dip). My friends ordered the pot pie which was soggy and disappointing. Standard greasy fare. We ended up leaving asap as I could barely hear the person next to me. I get that this is a pub and pubs are loud, but what's the point of going out with friends if it's impossible to have a conversation!!! Server was fine, and was pleased to get a shot on the house for my grand b-day occassion. Wouldn't go back. If you want a patio, go to Stella's instead.
Came to the Charlatan with a group of six on a Saturday night, hoping to have some drinks and conversation in a fun spot. The restaurant was not very busy, but, regardless, our group was squeezed into the worst table in the house. It was a table clearly meant for four, and five of us had to squish together on the bench seats while one person had a chair. Eventually another table left and we were able to get two chairs and spread out a bit, but we were still right in the way of the waitress walking back and forth to other tables.
And...the waitress. We had JUST sat down, were still squishing into the booth, arranging our jackets, waiting for one more of our party, had not even opened the menus, when she comes over and hovers, asking if we want drinks. Give people a chance, learn some timing, geez! So we get our drinks and of course over the night we want refills every so often. She would come over, ask if we wanted refills, take one person's order and then bolt off, leaving the rest of the table with their mouths hanging open, wanting to order as well. I'm sure it was annoying for her too, because she would come back with the drink and have to take another order. This lady needs to learn how to interact with her table.
Finally, for food, we ordered the chocolate fondue. It was pretty good but they sure were cheap with the dipping fruit. For $10 they could have provided more than three paper thin slices of melon, half a cut up orange and four halved strawberries. We ended up with half the chocolate left over, so we asked for more fruit, and were charged $2 more. Ridiculous.
The beers were good, so my friends might want to go back, but I won't be heading for the Charlatan any time soon.