Scotish pub in downtown Victoria on Government Street.
I went to this pub a couple nights ago as I heard some good things about it. The place is big with two floors of seating and very high ceilings. There is a cool spot on the second floor for a band that you can see from pretty much anywhere in the restaurant. Overall, the design of the pub is very nice.
The service was good, beers were re-filled quickly and our food arrived in a reasonable amount of time. However, the food itself was mediocre at best. I might even be being generous on the food rating. The fries were undercooked, maybe because the fryer wasn't hot enough. My shepherd's pie was decent, not great. Overall, they really need to work on their food.
I will probably go back for drinks but will avoid the food.
This was our first time there. The room is amazing! Unfortunately, the food is just...yuck! two of us had sandwiches which were bland and dry. The burger was also dry and was served with the tiniest patty we've ever seen! Also, have the regular fries instead of the yam fries. The yam fries were kinda soggy. The bass and meat pie was said to be good but only about a third of it was consumed by our "starving" dining companion. Service was good to begin with but as her shift came to an end, we began to feel a little rushed and her friendly attitude became a "get the heck outta here" kinda attitude.
Food: yam fries were fairly decent, didn't have much of a yam taste to them but compared to the two burgers thereafter...yikes. dry and tasteless burgers for $13-15?
Service: a little casual but it's not the worst I've seen
Value: again..tastless burgers for $13-15?
Ambiance: I suspect this is why they can afford their food to be of subpar quality. Tourists come into downtown Victoria and they see this great spot to enjoy the pub atmosphere. Too bad they leave with a bad taste in their mouths.
Stopped in at the Bard for lunch today with a couple of old friends. The interior of this place is fantastic and you can definitely tell they pumped a lot of money into building the interior. This is reflected in the price of food as many reviewers here have commented. I opted for a burger which was on the steep end at $15 but a good pub burger is hard to beat when done right. Sadly, the burger here is made with a frozen patty and tasted much like a Whopper from Burger King, but 3 times the price. I should have expected this given the location of this place as it's a tourist trap for people who will eat there once, drop a tonne of cash and then leave the city. I doubt this place has too many regulars.
Service was adequate but the servers didn't try too hard. I would definitely consider coming here again to grab a pint as the beer prices are comparable to other downtown pubs and I really like the atmosphere. I'll just make sure to grab a bite to eat beforehand.
The ambiance of this pub/restaurant is great in the offseason, busy but not too, and quiet enough to have a nice conversation. Beautiful room. We found the service to be enthusiastic and helpful. Food was nice, not outstanding but very high priced. We will return again as there are many things on the menu that interest us, but I would go on deal nights as it is very expensive.
Love the atmosphere! Very beautiful inside, lots of glass, brass and crafted wood. Probably the best looking pub I've been in. Have been there several times, service has always been great as well as the food! Really have enjoyed the Lamb burger as well as the Tuna. So good! They have tons of beers on tap as well! And a scotch list like I've never seen.
Always impressed by the level of entertainment, ie. Bands and singers there!
Great time, would highly recommend.
I recently hosted a special event in one of the Bard's party rooms. I called several times to make changes to my reservation (due to an increasing guest list) and I was impressed by the professionalism and general pleasantness of the staff. They were very helpful in suggesting the best room for my event and were more than happy to answer all of my questions...they even offered to show me around before we made a final decision.
During the event, we ordered plates of appetizers and drinks for everyone to share - my guests were impressed and so was I! The live music was a fun bonus and was loud enough to hear, but quiet enough so that we could talk. There were no extra costs associated with booking our beautiful room, which we really appreciated. It was a fun and classy evening, which I would recommed.
I love the ambience here, and bring my out of town guests in regularly. However the food is overpriced and not well constructed. The burgers are dry, salad made entirely of lettuce and no other veggies with uninspired dressings. And you're still paying a premium for it! Bring your guests for a drink, enjoy the decor and history of the place but eat elsewhere!
The Bard & Banker has all that it takes to be a great pub restaurant.....except for the food. The atmosphere and decor are terrific, the staff are helpful and friendly and the service is good. The food, however, is a whole different story.
I ordered the vegetable curry and was served a bowl containing a big, sticky lump of rice covered in vegetables that were barely cooked, a hint of curry sauce and a drop of sour cream topped it off. It was honestly the absolute worst curry that I've eaten anywhere, even worse than those frozen currys you buy in the supermarket. It was obviously something that was created, frozen and then re-heated in a microwave oven before serving...it was terrible and the price was outrageous for such a tragic attempt at cooking.
I am an owner in the hospitality industry (not restaurant) who has the opportunity to recommend dining establishments to my guests, but I'll certainly steer them away from this "food failure". Too bad, it could be a great place otherwise.
My girlfriend took me to the Bard & Banker Public House pub on Canada Day in the afternoon, and it was our first time. We were seated immediately upon arrival by a pleasant staff. However, we asked to sit elsewhere where we could see the band, so we did. Unfortunately, once we seated ourselves, we waited more than ten minutes to get acknowledged by server staff, and had to twice ask a passing employee for menus. Once we had our menus, service was relatively quick, and the server was friendly.
The menu, while varied and offering the preditable pub-style food, threw me for sticker shock. Now, I'm no stranger to some of the high prices restaurants charge, even in a tourist town like Victoria (I live here, I know). But the least expensive item on the menu were fries. $6.99? For fries? You've got to be kidding me. A plate of nachos was--brace yourself--$24.99. Oh, guacamole was an extra $2.99 or $3.99. So, if you wanted a plate of nachos with guac it would've cost almost $30. Ridiculous! Burgers were $15, and the cheapest fish and chips were $17. For fish and chips! The beer prices were average (pub average, I should say) at about $8 a pint. We ordered a calamari appetizer for $12.99. While cooked well enough, the portion was small, as was the mini bowl of dipping sauce. So, while the quality of food was decent enough, the pricing of this place was far, far too expensive.
As for the pub, it was brand new, clean, and had a good pub atmosphere. Noisy patrons and a noisier band were great!
I'll probably go again, although only for a beer. There are less expensive pubs within walking distance of this one.
I come here now and then for work and social events. The service is usually timely, but without a lot of fanfare/friendliness. I enjoy the decor and setup of the place- quite a large, open concept restaurant, not unlike Irish Times. Bard and Banker even has a large, glassed-in patio out back complete with heat lamps and glimpses of the ocean amidst buildings! Oysters on the half shell is one of their specialities, and I've not been disappointed! As for the burgers/fries/salad type items I'd rate them a 7/10 for taste, freshness, etc. Worth going but prepare to pay $15 for a burger and $8 a drink.
As a Victoria boy coming home for the holidays one of the things I had on my to-do list was check out The Bard and Banker. Well aware that it was the same ownership group as Irish Times, I thought maybe I would have a better experience here. Unfortunately, it was not to be.
Everything about my experience except the decor was terrible. I've been to some seedy bars which had better service, and way better prices. The waitress was downright disinterested, with gaps of over 20 minutes between checking in to see how we were doing (it was not a busy night, maybe half full). The times she did come by she had a bad, almost sarcastic attitude towards us. The food is extremely overpriced, and tastes terrible. The only redeeming quality about this establishment was the decor, which is beautiful, some of the best I've seen in a pub.
Verdict? Never going back, ever. Overpriced, terrible food, with even worse service. If you're downtown and looking for somewhere to have a drink, go to Darcy's instead.
I checked out the Bard and Banker for lunch today. Loved the ambiance and the decor, but i found the overall cost a bit high. I tried the express lunch, which was filling, and with an iced tea came to 15$ before tip. Salad and sandwich were good, as was the Scotch Broth soup, although the garnish cukes were very dry. a bit much for a quick lunch, but if you want to treat yourself, this could be a great place to go.
The food unfortunately does not live up to the decor. The curry lamb burger patty tasted like it had been stored at the bottom of the freezer for a decade. Its texture was spongy and no hint of curry ever reached my taste buds. The accompanying soup tasted cheap and was served in a bowl the size of a shot glass. My friend’s meals were equally disappointing.
Overall our $75 would have been better spent on more drinks and less food.
Ok pub, nice surroundings. Would like to see livelier bands for the 35-plus crowd though, especially since demise of Central Bar & Grill. Rock, soul, R & B? The problem in Victoria is that's there's not enough venues for us older (but not old) folk who are not into going to a club full of 20 somethings dancing to loud disco music, or whatever it is. I have plenty of friends who say the same thing. We need more places for us boomers, and the Bard and Banker could be one. Also, i think such music would really attract the tourist crowd, a lot of whom are this age group.