Located in the heart of historic Gastown, this GastroPub has garnered many accolades for its service, food, alcohol & ambiance.
In a world filled with "Plastic Paddy" establishments, the Heather stands out as a beacon of authenticity. An Irish House that is owned by Irish people who actually work there...how refreshing!!
Blasta. That is the Gaelic for tasty. That sums up most of the food we had at the IH. Mímhúinte. That means rude or impolite, which describes the hostess we encountered.
Mrs. C and I were looking for some DOV action and we wandered into the IH looking to eat and have beer. We were told by the hostess that we could not have the DOV since it was booked (?), but just as we were about to leave, a different server offered us a chance to wait for a table and to sample the other fare.
We waited in the shabeen for our table. The ambience in the shabeen was crowded and rather dingy (shabeen means a speakeasy, a place to buy bootleg whisky). It is behind the pub/restaurant. After a few minutes there, we were taken to the dining room which was nice, but a little noisy. We ordered al la carte since the DOV was forbidden. I had bangers and mash and Mrs. C had fish and chips. The bangers and mash was quite tasty, but Mrs. C’s chips were somewhat burnt. The fish was reported to be good though. For drinks I had a black and tan which is Guinness mixed with a lighter beer. It was a great combination. Mrs. C had a glass of brown ale which was enjoyable.
The ambience was nothing to write home to Dublin about but the w/c was clean. The one nice server rescued what would have been a negative experience, so he gets 3 stars. Because of that I might go back.
Top marks to the staff who are attentive and really seem to know what they are doing. It is a busy and lively place and everyone seems to be having a good time.
The menu is reasonably priced and the food is good and filling. We had the Bangers and Mash and the Steak and Guiness pie. Both were very good. There is an EXTENSIVE Beer and Whiskey menu so you can try something different.
The new place is called a gastro/pub sort of like those NY bars such as the Spotted Pig. Nice decor with brick walls, long bar and great seating area. Long table on one side of the restaurant for community dining. Ordered the fries which came with some great curry dipping sauce and the sausage. Sausage was just average. Tried the lamb which was very good but the curry chicken was good but out of place here. Service was good. Would return for sure.
This is not a place we'd normally frequent, but we had a special occasion to attend, so off we went. Dang this place is hard to find, the sign is soooo discrete... and to complicate matters, we were scheduled in the restaurant section, which normally is the Salty Tongue before 6pm, if I'm not mistaken.
I understand people complain about the new location. I guess maybe some people like a grubby run down place, but the new place is awesome. It's perfect for what it should be, I like it. The staff, from the doormen down to the wait staff, for a pub? Seriously impressive service. Made us feel right at home immediately.
The whiskey menu? Boy, was it extensive. I'm no drinker, but there's a lot to choose from, many names that I recognize and even the most expensive ones seem quite affordable. I'd say whiskey fans owe this place a visit. The dinner menu was pretty decent, we started off with the "tongue" (which turned out to be Pemberton beef tongue salad) and then grilled cheese and pot pie. The tongue was a big hit, perfectly flavoured, not too heavy. The grilled cheese was okay, maybe one of the better grilled cheese I've had, but not mind blowing. Both it and the pot pie were a bit heavy, but I suppose perfect accompaniment with a few glasses of Guiness.
Yes, I am giving it 4 stars, as I'm marking it as a pub. It's really eye opening what can be had at gastropubs nowadays. Even as just a "standalone" restaurant, the service and food would be getting top marks.
Highly recommended if you're in the mood for some good hearty fare.
Too bad, this used to be one of my favourite places in town to go for some Irish pub grub, a pint or two of Guinness, maybe a couple shots of Blackbush and see where the night takes me. Unfortunately, this place has lost all of its charm in the new location. They have kept the decor simple like it was across the street but unfortunately there is no character in the new building to make up for the missing ambiance. They put us in their "dining room" next door which basically has one big table and feels like a cafeteria. I had bangers and mash and they were just plain bad. It said they came with 3 sausages and there were only two on the plate although they were pretty big. The service was good and the best part of the experience; beers were refilled quickly. I doubt I will be coming back, maybe to just grab a beer or two but definitely not to eat.
If it weren't for the Dine-Out event this year, I would have completely missed this neat little pub in Gastown. Located in one the original buildings from the 1800's, the Irish Heather used to be the first jail. So you can imagine what an amazing ambiance this place holds - the washrooms are where the original jail cells were!
I was pleasantly surprised with my dining experience here. The service was excellent! I went in not expecting any service since it was a $15 only dineout menu. We weren't treated like cheapos like most places do during this event. I was most impressed with the food, I wouldn't expect something like duck confit bean cassoulet on the menu. And my boyfriend enjoyed his fresh pasta. Well worth $15! They've also incorporated some items from their sister restaurant, The Salt Tasting Room.
I would go back another time since it's a great place to sit back and relax with a group of friends.
stopped by for some drinks and snacks before the C'nuck's game on a rainy night. The neighborhood, although gritty and rough, is part of the fun; like being in a bladerunner-type movie set. the new digs are cool and clean. the beers were cold and service was fast and professional. The meat platter was excellent. The sausages and fries as well. Way better than usual pub food. This area is slowly starting to improve and more bars and restaurants are moving in. Someone please open something like this in Burnaby!
Those who really enjoy Guinness will agree with me that the Irish Heather has one of the best pours in town. The food is also pretty good. One of my favourite dishes is the irish classic: mashed potatoes with cabbage. Make sure you check out the back room where the old Vancouver jail used to be, very cool.
I can't imagine a more genuinely Vancouver moment than yesterday's. After walking past Gassy Jack at noon and threading my way past the tourists and browsing in some of the avant shops along Water Street I set my weary bones upon a bench in the Irish Heather and had a (wait for it) Kilkenney. Not having eaten all day I started to get that buzz one gets drinking the first beer on an empty stomach and then, while looking out the partially opened door and feeling that cool oceany breeze, I saw the provincial flag hung across the street gently wafting. It was a surreal, quinessentially Vancouver moment courtesy of the the Heather. For those who might dismiss it as kitschy, I say never take for granted the common place and take a look at Vancouver through the eyes of a tourist once in a while to remind yourself why you moved here in the first place or decided to stay.
had a sandwich while working out at Bikram's Yoga. I'll explain later but first let's touch upon the positives, shall we?
On a Sunday a few weeks ago we were a group of 15 who first had drinks in the bar side and then we were ushered into the dining room. The bar side was a great, warm, dark, lively spot. The server was handling us, and others around us, with warmth and ease never missing a need or want. Nice job!
The bar is on your right as you enter and if I was with just a buddy or two I would've enjoyed saddling up to the bar and sampling various scotches that are on the shelves. It's a brick sided room that makes for a great place to have a few drinks and a bite.
Onto the dining, this started out well after we moved from the bar area to the dining room. We were all seated at a communal table with various other small groups on our left and right. A host introduced our servers, the chef that night, and the beer brewer ( whom also ate dinner with us ) who spoke briefly about the pints placed in front of us. A nice warm atmosphere was set.
The food arrived and our menu was pre-set, we all had the turkey w/mashed potato, stuffing and cranberry sauce. The turkey was amazing, very moist, nicely seasoned. The mashed potatoes were smoothly whipped and a nice, simple contast to the stuffing--also done very well. My two minor quibbles with the food were:
(1) The cranberry sauce was too over-powering for the dish and it was heaped on too heavily on the plate.
(2) They ran out of dessert for me to try, but the others said the cheesecake served was tasty.
Small problems easy to overlook.
The servers on the dining side were fast and efficient, given that you're at a long rectangular table with many others in the small room the volume rises where you have to speak very loud to be heard, so the servers don't engage in much banter.
Lastly about my title, the only reason I gave The I.H. a 1 for ambiance is because of the unbearable heat while we were eating. No kidding, the temperature in the room was at least in the high 30's! Sweat was literally dripping off my forehead, I looked around to see if others were affected by this and the Brewmeister's face was beet-red and not because of the alcohol he was drinking: cold beer.
Summing this up I'd definitely go to drink & eat in the bar side, but the dining room would be a no-no unless they bring temps down significantly.
Have attended two of the Long Table series of dinners. Outstanding value. Where else can you get a yummy meal and a pint for $12? We have tried the Roast veal stuffed with olive tapenade and a pint of Guiness. On another ocassion we dined on the roast suckling pig and pint of cider. On each ocassion the food was delicious and the portions ample.
Service of course is great as everyone has the same meal so it is easier to be consistent in this area.
The ambience is great as you get to meet new people in this kind of social setting. We've had some very pleasant and lively conversations with our table mates.
We will definitely return again for their new fall menu.
Popped by for the first time to the new location. Nice room with high cieling, great standing bar, and nice bathrooms. Menu is tiny I'd think after three visits you would be bored with the food. Go for the bottled beers and draft beer. Noisy room compared to the original location. I was a mit miffed that the menu stated you got three bangers and I only received two - the server said they were bigger that's why and walked away - service needs work. Standing at the bar you'll be overcome by the noise level and the smell of dishwasher chemicals. All in all a great place for a drink. Lots of import beer, small wine list, and great pours of draft.
Great pints. Very good food . We had steak and Guinness pot pie and Great pints.bangers n mash. Tasy and filling. Only critique would be th Curry chips" - little to no curry flavour. Unpretentious atmosphere. Reasonable prices. More great pints...
Had the beef potpie..their house specialty. The pastry was the best I ever had but the meat inside the pie was so fatty and tough ,it was almost inedible. Had not been slowly braised before put into the crust to bake. Mash potatoes were good but the rich demi glace was way over reduced and very salty.Left a third of the food on my plate. No quality check. Barman was great, great beer and whiskey list.Ambiance is always good. Overpriced pie that is basically flour and a cheap cut of beef.
This restaurant is an example of twitter promoting a venue. I had heard a bunch of people rave about Irish Heather on twitter so my boyfriend and I thought we'd check it out while his cousin was visiting. It was a little hard to find as the entry is quite tiny and the numbering didn't make sense (or perhaps that was just us). There was an okay amount of people in there on a Friday night but it was by no means a happening place. The boys had bangers and mash which they said was good (and very very generous serving) while I just settled for dessert. The dessert was very tasty and came from the venue next door (salt room...???).
This experience itself didn't make me go back but I have since heard that going on a Friday night was a no-no and the right time to go is for lunch on a weekday or a weekday evening (local gastown workers are apparently what make the atmosphere great).
One thing that would make me go back anytime was that they sold Bulmers/Magners. I hadn't had this cider since the UK/Ireland and it was always a favourite so was certainly happy to have one again.
It was a very busy night. We were seated in the makeshift covered patio area, and although they filtered in warm air, it was still too cold for most of our party to take off jackets.
Our waiter was friendly and prompt... Was that a hint of Irish lilt? Hard to tell--the voices of dozens of patrons drowned out all but the nearest conversations.
The menu featured a decent array of entrees, appetizers, and desserts. But the strength of Irish Heather lies in its drink selection. They offer several good Irish beers and some classic beer blends--try the Shandy.
The bathrooms were dirty, but what can you expect from an irish pub in Gastown? Anything less would make me question its authenticity.
Will I return? Not unless my friends really want to. Am I glad I went? Definitely! Give it a go, you might like it.
I would tell my friends from all over Canada about the Irish Heather in Vancouver - that it was the closest thing anywhere in the country (as a musician I've been to many pubs across Canada on tour and search for things like a genuine pub experience when asking locals to take me out) to the experiences I've had while living in Scotland. The back greenhouse and courtyard (and the whiskey bar across the way) were an outstanding environment.
When last I went to Vancouver I was horrified to find they had relocated across the street and are "reinventing" themselves as a gastro-pub. The tradition pub menu seems discarded for items like any other boring gastro-pub in Vancouver. Part of the former venue's charm was that it was nothing like Yaletown or Kitsilano bistros.
So now we have to wait for the Bard & Banker in Victoria to get a "worn in" feel to it to approach anything close to what Irish Heather once was.
Whether the bar has been sold to new owners, or they're trying to be something they're not - the Irish Heather has sold out. Lame.
The Irish Heather, to me, always represented a sort of workingmans vacation to Ireland. You could go in there and sort of get lost in the ambience and color that mostly came from the crumbling old building. The food and service were also oversized and comforting like an old leather sofa. Too bad that's all over. The new location feels like the shuttle ride to the
zurich airport. Cold, cramped and unwelcoming. Gone is the welcoming service. The food has been sanitized and shrunken to suit the stuffy digs, plus a few dollars added on. All in all, the new place takes itself way too seriously and has none of the charm of the old place. Get over yourself, guys. You're just an Irish Pub and this is not yet Yaletown. And try smiling occasionaly.
It was our first visit to the Heather since the renovations and I have to say it has a hint of identity crisis. The left side is authentic and intimate while the right side leaves you a little "wtf?".
We made reservations in knowing how busy the old location could get...so we arrive and are greeted with "ughhh, your reservation, ughhhh, yeah, what was your name again?"
Sure enough it wasn't taken down, they bluff their way through it and tell us they have a seat for us, no problem, we are taken past the bar (which is gorgeous) then to the right where there is apparently another room...we walk in and there is this single long long long table that is supposed to be this pseudo communal eating place for their patrons. Do you guys honestly think I want to be elbow to elbow with some WWE fan from calgary while I eat? I think this was a romantic idea on the owner's part gone bad.
Anyway, we order, the food was AMAZING, absolutely spot on. Pot pie rocked, bangers and mash were perfect and the service was spectacular, honestly some of the most attentive service I had had in a while but it all went down under BRIGHT flourescent lighting in a LOUD STERILE room with get this, plastic chairs to support us! It just doesn't make sense! Anyway, we stayed until they closed the kitchen and moved onto the shebeen.
Scotch flowed like water at that point, from what I can remember the bartender was knowledgeable and generous. He really put the icing on the cake for the evening.
In the end it was a solid night, the heather has gone through an evolution and the modern vancouver scene seems to have played a major part in some of it. That's really a shame. Still, I would recommend the location, the food and the pricing. It just sucks knowing you are going there having to endure a bad element.
This is a casual experience that is very satisfying. They serve the best beer in the city. A place that has Harp, Kilkenny, and Smitwicks on tap is already top of the list of pubs in my opinion.
The food is good, comfort food. Bangers and mash is our staple everytime we go... but have tried the pot pie, the burger, and fries.
We have always sat in the back (covered patio area) and it has great ambience... seats aren't too comfortable, it's cramped, but it's a great time. The service is very good and not hard to get a hold of for more drinks.
Always a favourite and will continue to be so.