The Bent Mast is a wonderful community restaurant located in a converted Victorian house in James Bay Square. Serving a full menu until 2am (12am Sunday) with a great selection of appies, burgers, soups and salads, this restaurant also features local draught beer, a fantastic patio and and eclectic groups of servers that will charm you into coming back. Rumor has it that the place is haunted.
I use my Friday lunchtimes to sample restaurants and pubs around Victoria. On a cool and damp day (aren't they all this winter?) I visited the Bent Mast and found it deserted except for a lost tourist couple and some musicians' equipment left from the night before.
It was like being in someone's living room. The beer was good and lunch arrived quite quickly and was very tasty so I have no specific criticism, other than it was odd being in a deserted pub. I am told it has ore atmosphere at different times, so I should try another time to see. Otherwise, decent food...not cheap but OK.
There's something about the heritage building that The Bent Mast is situated in. Although they periodically get called on their cleanliness controls by the VIHA inspectors, I can't really fault the staff of a building that seems (and sometimes smells) like there's dead things in the walls. I catch whiffs of mildew sometimes, other times I get nose full of strange cleaners, I can't tell if it's carpet cleaner, bathroom sanitizer or some sort of pest control chemical. Given the quality of food often served (a lot of it seems like it's take-aways from the Thrifty's across the street), I'm not sure if I'm glad I can't smell the kitchen or not. I've had everything from tepid borscht, to burnt "medium-rare" blade steaks (for $17!) to limp grease-saturated fries. I've also had more tolerable food, but there seems to be a frequent change-over in staff that doesn't lead to consistency from the kitchen or the servers.
The Bent Mast is probably the best, affordable outdoor patio in James Bay or lower Cook Street village, so I don't expect them to go away or change too soon. It can have a great neighbourhood pub vibe on warm summer nights when things are hopping under the tiki torches outside. Sadly, because of their license, the Bent Mast can't roll with what makes them truly popular (a great place for pitchers of beer), and occasionally you get a rather aggressive server trying to tell you that you can't drink beer without ordering food as well. Despite the smells, I'll still probably keep going back nonetheless.
The Bent Mast is a good old fashioned pub located inside an old victorian home right on one of the five corners of the James bay villiage intesection. The building is run down and is not well kept, but that adds character to it. The kitchen is dirty and so are the dishes that come out of it. You can always be sure to find a few things floating in your beer LOL from the old taps that they use to poor your drinks. But if that sort of thing does not bother you, then the Bent Mast is the place that makes you feel like you are in your own living room. The atmosphere is great and is very unique in it's art and interior decorating. It has a huge outdoor patio with a nice old porch out front where you can sit and drink your brews on a nice cool night and converse with all the friendly neighbourhood people that are there on a regular basis. Inside you will no irritating TV's but instead there are plently of board games to choose from such as Trivial Persuit and Balderdash. And you will also find a nice little library of interesting books to choose from as well. This is a sea baring pub with lots of maritime feal and character to it. And if you look in the right spot you just might encounter one of the many Ghosts that are said to be permenant guests of the old house. This pub is a great place to meet new friends and just have a good old time. I love the atmosphere and you will never find another place like it on the planet. It is simple, and yet when you are there you feel right at home.
Well, The Bent Mast has certainly changed, without becoming a stranger. The sign outside states that the ghosts didn't help put out the fire, but perhaps they have been whispering into management's ear and helping to effect a change for the better. The food quality and cooking have vastly improved. The staff has -by and large- remained the same and the atmosphere is a happy one. It's always been an eclectic, place catering to a client base that stretches from 6 - 60 or beyond. Keep up the good work people and ghosts. I had a great time when I was there.
I am happy there's new carpets and the whole place smells a lot better and is clean. It a great place to go back to.
A couple of friends and myself stopped here for a meal and a few pints recently. We were suprised by their new and improved menu to choose from. The service was much better than the last visit and the food quality has also improved and prices are o.k. too. We were all pleased with our meals along with the friendly service. The new manager was especially nice. Now that summer is finally here, we plan on sitting out on their patio more often. The bus stop is conveniently just around the corner on Menzies St. Cheers!
A friend and I stumbled upon this place in search for a small quite place to get some drinks. Upon entering we were ask weather we were looking for something to eat or just drinks. We replied "just drinks" at which point the hostess told us we could only sit at the bar. This would have been fine except for the fact that there was only 1 stole not occupied so the hostess told us we could wait until one came avaible or order food so that we could be seated in the restaurant area. Rather then wait we decided we would order an appitizer. We were seated and give a food and drink menu. Our waiter prompty came and took our order of 2 ciders, fries, and topedo dills(which turned on to be 2 cut up dill pickles for $3.50). Our waiter came back with our drinks and dill pickles and said our fries would be right out. 15 miutes later our waiter came with our cold basket of fries. At which point we spent the next 20 mintues trying to get his attention for a basket of hot fries and refill on drinks. When we finally did manage to grab his attention to come over to our table we explained that our fries were servered cold that we were tring to get his attention. He simply repied 'Yes its busy". Out of frustration we asked for the bill and the waiter promptly retured with our bill that charged us for the fries. We asked that the fries be removed from the bill which he agreed to do. He then returned with the new bill and debit machine. As I was making the transaction he stood over me to see whether i was entering a tip and continue to stand over me while I entered my PIN code.......very unprefessional!
The new menu is an improvement, but it's still consistently mediocre, and the draft usually tastes off - bad pipes? Staff are friendly but I only eat there when because it's close - every meal I've had for years has been "meh" at best. If they ever really improve the food and draft I'd be there a couple times a week instead of once every few weeks.
I, like most people in my age group, enjoy going out to the odd dive bar. In saying that I have different expectation for these establishment then I would at other places I like to go. I don't expect much from the food or the service, but there are still limits to what is acceptable at any food service business.
I do enjoy the feeling of the room at the Bent Mast. It has a unique creepy feel to it, especially in the upstairs area by the washrooms. Lets just say I wouldn't want to close the place by myself at night.
The food was exactly as expected. Pub Gub. However they did fail at an attempt at an olive tapinade that my girlfriend had. I feel like it serves her right for ordering it there. I know its not a hard dish, but at a place like the bent mast I think sticking to fries and nachos is appropriate. I had the steak sandwich and it was just fine, nothing special, but that is what I expected.
The issue came with the service. Everything was fine until I received my food. The server dropped my meal. No big deal, it happens, but in the process I was sprayed with salad dressing. In my hair, on my face, shirt and pants. As soon as the food was dropped the server ran into the back with my plate, not saying anything to me. We had no napkins on the table so I waited till she came out again with my food (quickly enough that it was just a re-plate and not a remake). When she came back I asked her for a napkin and she snarkly replied, 'oh, did I get you?!' No apology or concern, and no drink on the house or meal discount, that I would get in any other establishment. Also I think a remake in the steak sandwich would have been appropriate as well.
This may not sound like much but I was literally covered in dressing, not only did it stain my clothes, but it was embarrassing as well. Just a sorry would have sufficed.
The service at the Bent Mast, an attractive local James Bay pub, is terrible again. It has been good to terrific for the last few years [Sarah was wonderful!] but now Lindsay has arrived.
A polite request for the bill yielded a long delay. A second polite request yielded
the "I'm your server not your servant!" snarl.
I gave my opinion of this appalling lack of professionalism with a one-cent tip. She retaliated by informing us that she would not serve us in future. So be it.
So, the room is attractive, the beer is good, the food is OK [but nothing special], but best to stay away until Lindsay departs. Which won't be long, if they want to stay in business.
wow things have improved scents the last time i was in i almost promised myself i would never go back the service sucked the last time and the food was gross i was vary unimpressed but now the same server was sering me last night i was really hoping that the would have gotten rid of him (i think his name is Chance )he was doing a great job last night it must have been his first week when i came in. i had the fettuccine carrbonaira wow that was awesome and such a cute little chef i seen u putting glasses away all last night u had a brown t shirt on and i also think your name is chris cross lol that is soo cool jump jump and lots of love come here and u wont be disappointed !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I stand corrected, my grammar is the worst of the bunch! Lmfao. Rembered, when ordering you can always specifically order, ie order mums wings with a side of west-indies sauce or the potstockers steamed, but only pan-fried for 30 seconds at high heat and with green onions in the rice wine vinegar. If you don't like any food the first time, personalize it, they'll let you and it'll become you favorite, no need to follow and eat cookie-cutter food like all the other restaurants! Cheers
My partner and I have vowed never to return to the Bent Mast after the nightmare service experience we had there. The waitress was rude from start to finish: snapping at us for every little thing, accusing us of lying, telling us everything we wanted to order from the menu was out (which may have been true, but she certainly wasn't apologetic or even civil about it) and then ignoring us for the rest of our meal which was eaten in tense silence because we were so shaken by the service.
Admittedly this was several years ago, but the experience stuck with us so strongly we can't bring ourselves to return.
When visiting Victoria....be sure to go to James Bay and visit this place! It is located at the 5 corners in an old heritage house. The staff, Jerry (the owner), Bartender David, and Bartender Bill provide exceptional service and hospitality! Be sure to try the home made Spring Rolls and don't forget the Mushrooms! A very friendly and pleasant atmosphere with excellent service that goes with it! The regulars that frequent The Bent Mast will make you feel right at home. If you want a nice relaxing atmoshere to have a few in then this is the place to go! This is a "must go to" place with a "uniqueness" all its own! Here is to "my new found family".........The Bent Mast!