Steamworks is a popular pub and brewery located in historic Gastown. Steamworks gets its name from the famous Gastown steam line that runs through their premises.
Went to Steamworks after work for a few drinks and appies... how many people do they have working there? Seemed like there were dozens of them running around, but none of them were running in my direction. it took us ages to get served, and when we finally did, the server had the nerve to tell u that we had to move tables!! they must have been trying to pack that place in the silliest way. it was ridiculous.
the wine selection was pretty standard, nothing interesting, but apparently the on tap beer was good.
food seemed standard, churned out.
it's not my first choice.
On Monday, June 9, a group of friends and I had a reservation for a going away party. A friend of mine had made the suggestion, and I thought it was a great idea because I have had nothing but great experiences and heard nothing but good things about Steamworks. I have been there several times in the past and never been disapointed, but this time was different!
Our group was downstairs, which is not quite as nice as the upstairs, but still pretty decent.I like the open kitchen concept and the layout and decor,but the view is not as good as upstairs and the lighting in the women`s washroom was way too dim. Our original party was supposed to be 15-20 people, and unfortunately ended up being only six or eight. Perhaps the waitress was waiting for all of us to get there until she served us-it was a little busy, but several staff walked by us several times and it was probably a good 5 or 10 minutes after arriving that we finally ordered our first drink. I am a server myself and I am usually quite patient if I know that it is really busy or short staffed, but neither was the case. One of my friends suggested that our waitress may be new, but I don't think that was the case either, since she was quite knowledgeable about the beer selection.I began to get impatient when my glass had been empty for several minutes, but once we finally received our pitcher of sangaria, we were happy again although it took a good ten minutes to finally get the third glass we had requested.
The food was also a huge disappointment. The menu is a fairly decent size and there is something for almost everyone. I settled on an 8 oz steak with peppercorn sauce. Other people at the table ordered some pasta, a burger, a quesadilla and a salad. Although I ordered my steak medium, it was mainly medium well to welldone, and it was thin and very unimpressive.The burger was really overcooked as well, and the quesadilla was so small. When I pay $23for a steak, I expect a good steak! I would have definitely asked for them to remake it, had the waitress came by to do a quality check. She didn't even deliver the food, meaning that she didn't come to the table at all since she took the order, and the food took quite a while to cook! I was not at all impressed by the level of service we received. Even after the bill had been dropped off, she never came to check to see if we needed change or a credit card ran through or anything, we had to ask. It made me sad that we had told my friend that it would be such an awesome experience for his last night in Vancouver and it was such a disappointment.
Despite the experience, I will go back sometime soon and give it another try. It has such a great atmosphere and an excellent drink menu, so I really hope that we just happened to catch them on an off day. I am sure things will be better next time.
This place is anything but pretentious....and so refreshing to visit. Walked in with a bunch of friends this past Friday night (12 of us all together), without a reservation, but hoping for the best. The hostess was extremely accomodating and sent us to the lounge for a drink while she put a table together for us. It took about 5 minutes for her to put something together, which wasn't too bad considering the place was packed. We sat down in the room right at the bottom of the stairs with the view of the habour. Me and a couple friends started of with a pitcher of Sangria, which was really good....everyone else had beer. Not sure what kinds, but everyone was happy. Ordered some appies to start. The Ahi-tuna ap, tasty. Not all that origional, there is a similar dish at Joey's. Had the crab dip. everyone loved, dry ribs, average and wonton prawns, very yummy. Server was very prompt to take our order and ansered all of our questions. We all had diffferent things for dinner. I had the buffalo pizza which had amazing flavour, rest Other dishes at the table included sirloin steak, a bacon cheese burger, pasta, etc. Everyone loved their food. One thing about this restaurant that I love is there is something for everyone on the menu....it is HUGE! Time for the bill. The server seperated it for us no problem. A few of us wanted to pay by debit. Heads up, NO DEBIT HERE! This surprised me since it is such a big place. You's think they would accept it. The server directed us to a cash machine - $1.50 service fee! All in all though, staff extremely friendly and accomodating, busy place, great atmosphere and we had a great time. Will defiately be back.
I had given this restaurant a good review just a few months ago, and now I wish I could take it all back after some bad experiences since then.
I will just mention my last time there. I was having a farewell party for one of my friends, and I had made a reservation for 10 people. The staff put us in the harbour room.
Well, first of all, 4 of us ordered the taster round, which is usually around 8 small glasses of beer, and our server seemed reluctant to bring it to us. She tried to convince us that we needed only one that we could all share, and I had to insist that she bring us 4. She seemed to be a little annoyed (well, probably too lazy to carry and place so many glasses).
For some reason, almost none of us was hungry that night, and only one person ordered a dinner. Ths became an issue later on, as you'll see.
Well, the room was supposed to close at 11:00 according to one of the servers, but they decided to close the room at 10:30 instead, without warning. Since it was just our group in there, I guess we weren't valuable enough for them to justify keeping it open. So they noisily put all the chairs up on the tables around us! How rude was that? Our whole group couldn't believe it. When I asked what was going on, she said the room was already closed, and that they usually don't let people like us in there who aren't going to order food.
By the way, there is a room right next to there where you can drink after the harbour room closes. A few of us got transferred into that room after. Okay, why do we have to move 5 meters into another room so we can keep drinking? The mysteries of Steamworks' management.
Anyway, one of the results of this bad experience is that none of our group will be going back there for a long time. I definitely won't organize a party to be held at that place for a long time (probably a couple of years). This is a place that seems to say, "We are not lucky that you are here; you are lucky to be here!"
What I love about Steamworks is the beer and the ambience, esp. downstairs. True, the service has been often late and sullen. But the beer is reliably good, and the decor is tremendous--the winding stairs and the big chairs, the wood, stone, and books. They sell wild T-shirts. The food is good, but angled towards extreme flavour (garlic fries, blue cheese on burgers) which is not my thing, though I appreciate that it is for others. They have a separate cocktail room and bistro. It's cool. Love the view of the harbour and rails.
Went out after my friend's choir concert in Vancouver. My friends raved about the place but didn't seem that special to me.
-It was way too loud inside, hard to hear each other when talking.
-My food was okay but nothing special. Actually I got kind of sick of it and decided to stop eating it because I felt it wasn't seasoned well, tasted very plain.
-The portions are pretty generous. I did notice that the nachos came in a HUGE portion which was nice. My friends loved them, so nachos here are good.
-Price was okay for a bar in Vancouver, but I think I spent too much for food that was pretty plain tasting.
Overall I had a mediocre experience and would have rather spent my money elsewhere.
My colleagues often end up at Steamworks simply due to the good location for downtown office workers. They have a good selection of beer, but the food is mediocre. If you are looking for a burger, be prepared to receive some cardboard-y, frozen patties, and McCain-type fries. Prices here have been creeping up slowly over the last 18-24 months which has now pushed the price point too high for a weekday lunch (beer and a burger - you're looking at over $20).
I'm sad becasue I think this is a nice place to go for a drink in gastown, its a great place to take people from out of town and I like the specialty beers...only problem is, you can't really enjoy food here.
We made the mistake of ordering the crab dip---gross, it was dark gray and covered with cheddar.
So, go here fore the beer but eat elsewhere.
Since Sailor Hagars moved their brewing operations to Squamish's Howe Sound Brewing, Steamworks is bar-none the best Vancouver brewpub in terms of beer quality. Try the oatmeal stout, hefeweizen, and other seasonals like autumn's pumpkin and sour cherry ales. If you are lucky you can also sample the fine rogenweizen, made with rye malt and hefe yeast. As with many other local cliche beers like "pale" and "nut brown," Steamworks will not wow you but will certainly satisfy. The IPA needs a boost in the hops department to make it comparable to Sailor Hagar's. Nevertheless, any beer you order at Steamworks is leagues ahead of any of the Mark James productions (ie Yaletown, Dix, Taylor's Crossing, et al).
I do not come to Steamworks for food. In fact, I avoid eating here. If you are hungry by all means, but don't say I didn't warn you. Service might be the one thing at Steamworks worse than the food. I have been coming here for years (at least 8) and have never been impressed with either. Note that I have NOT eaten in the dining room, only the pub lounges and so it is possible the dining room serves superior grub. I do believe that their pub lounges could and should serve better quality food for the price they charge.
The place is huge and claustrophobics will be welcome. The view offers you a strong selling point when you need a reason to bring mom, out of towners, and anyone who doesn't even care that they brew on premises.
The best place for a brew -- and get an appetizer to go with. I had the calamari and it was tasty and very fresh -- perfect with a brew -- my neighbor had a pizza and he too was very happy with his choice.
The bartenders were very personable and will let you taste the different beers so that you can find one that you like best -- the rooms are well appointed and the view of the mountains and the bay most picturesque. The crowd is friendly with mixed ages and economics.
The graphic elements which made up the restaurant - logo, menu, posters, beer labels and T shirts were very well designed -- give that illustrator a raise! Also the writing on the walls "thirsty!" and "hungry?" -- what more can you say when in a well appointed bar.
We were a party of 15, out for the dinner portion of my stag party(also my birthday). We thought that Steamworks was the place to accomodate us all, thinking we would have a great time and good food. The food I suppose was decent but after how our experience went, I don't think anybody even remembers the food. We did book in advance and had the wine room downstairs. Not bad, but it did lack atmosphere aside from what we provided. To start, our waitress for the evening looked completely disinterested in being at work, and just got worse from there. Not a smile or a pleasantry. We were all well behaved. Our service went from poor to non existant. We planned on staying from 6pm until about 9:30pm, and then off to our next adventure, when from just before 8pm, we did not see our waitress until about 8:30pm. We were having to pour our own water, and waiting to order more drinks. On my way to the washroom, the waitress was having a nice ol' time with her friends behind the bar. They easily could have made close to a couple hundred bucks more in business. She came back after her absence with the bill in her hand and us wondering what the heck! We paid, we left, we unfortunatley all spent the next while outraged at how poor our service was. It put a damper on what otherwise was an amazing day. The mandatory tip was in no way deserved. A couple of us including myself called in the following days, and I also sent an email through their websites customer feedback section. I still haven't heard back from anybody.
Hadn't been to Steamworks in a while, and suggested it for dinner the other night. Our order arrived extraordinarily fast, definately in under 10 minutes. We were discussing that for a burger and a second meat dish on a busy Friday night, this is too fast. We were left wondering was this actually made to order, had it been under a heat lamp for a while, and when exactly was it made? The burget actually gave off a 'this was not made fresh' type flavor.
Thanks to the waiter for confirming that yes the burgers are all pre cooked earlier in the day and thrown on the grill to reheat. Yes for just under 12 dollars this is what you are getting. We were also informed the fish and chips, aka 'best in town' according to the menu are actually cooked in the morning, and reheated. Gross, I'm not sure how you even do this, pre cooked and reheated f & c? Are they throwing it back in the deep fryer, or the microwave? Anyway feels like they are serving left overs to me. Won't be back here for a long time. . . clean up your act!
I regularly patron Steamworks because I love the fresh beer but am stuck between a rock and a hard place because the food is so poor. I usually go eat somewhere else before I visit Steamworks to drink some beer.
Some friends and I were looking for a table for 12 and the greatest part about Steamworks is they are very accomodating of large groups. Unfortunetly, they were jammed pack and could not get us a table until one of the managers offered us a seat at their sister restaurant across the parking lot. Apparently there is another Steamworks in the Waterfront Station!! This place was great! Very busy too. Beautiful room, great ambience, the food was very good and the best part is they pour all the same Steamworks beer.
I will be back for another visit.
I have been making monthly visits to this beloved Vancouver brewpub for a few years now, and have noticed a very large fall in the quality of service in the past year or two. I was in last week to grab a pint of the Heroica Stout (which is fabulous) and maybe something to eat. At first, I was greeted by a hostess who directed me to a table without asking, I guess assuming I was part of another party. I let her know i was heading to the bar and did not need assistance. The bartender was good company and took great care of me, even letting me know that my favorite pumkin beer would be available in a week or two. I ordered a burger, only to have it come over-cooked, cold, and lacking any flavour. I flagged down a manager who said he would look into it, but was apalled to hear him comment to another staff that one server's "behind" could use some excersize!!!!!! The burger was taken off of my bill and I asked to speak to the GM who I had seen on the floor and recognized from past visits. I was told she was not in by the hostess, when clearly she was as I had seen her not five minutes before. I work with a local company in the area and I can promise that after the experience I had, we will not be coming back for our monthly lunches. Except to get a growler or two of the delicious pumpkin beer.... So long steamworks, it was good to know ya.
Have been to Steamworks many a time and have always been a fan! Was in again last night with a group of 12 friends after class. What I love about Steamworks is that you can almost ALWAYS get a table no matter what! Hostess seemed a bit unorganized at the door when we came in but quickly got help from a female manager to get us a seat. We sat downstairs tonite and started with some beers. Service was prompt and friendly as usual. We were told about the seasonals (raspberry beer!!) - apparantly you can only be served two! 9% beer!! My girlfriend gave it a shot ....was it ever yummy (yeah, I know, had to admit it even though it's a girl beer!) I had the Pale Ale, my favorite at Steamworks. We all ordered and the food came out very quickly....in the past the waits have been long at times, so I was impressed tonite! The group of us all had different stuff from the menu. I can't speak for everyone, but my Fish and Chips (THEY ACTUALLY USE HALIBUT!!) and my girlfriends Salmon Wellington were both fantastic!! We asked for separate bills and our server handled it without a problem. All in All - A GREAT NIGHT! Perfect end to a busy day with friends! Would highly reccommend and will definately be back....SOON!!
This is probably the most innovative brewpub in town. The seasonal beers regularly play with different flavoring ingredients. The food is typical pretentious upscale pub fare, which means sometimes it is trying too hard and misses the mark (is duck really necessary on pizza?) and other times manages to surprise you. Their soups however are consistently good.
The gastown location is superb and service generally decent, but during busy times entail a bit of wait.
If you enjoy locally brewed beers straight from the tap, Steamworks has that to offer and more.
The large selection of beers brewed in-house is impressive, and the beers are really quite excellent. From the light and smooth Lion's Gate Lager to the hoppy Empress India Pale Ale, the beers are all very well-crafted.
The food at Steamworks is also quite good. The Deluxe burger is very good, and for a reasonable price.
The ambiance is very welcoming and comfortable. The mixture of the decor and the crowd (especially downstairs) makes for a very relaxed atmosphere.
What could use some work, or in fact a lot of work, is the service. The service is absolutely horrendous. I've even seen an annoyed table leave because their server completely forgot about them. What was most surprising to me was that when the waitress finally arrived she didn't even realize that her customers had dined and dashed she was so oblivious.
I would definitely recommend sitting next to the bar itself: the service is faster, and you have easier access to the beers.