Big Bad John's is THE bar in town if you don't want any pretense whatsoever. And by pretense I mean the full spectrum from poseur hip-hop gangstas in Top 40 dance clubs to obnoxious indie hipsters who think they're so ironic and cool.
At Big Bad John's you get straight up service, including free shelled peanuts which enevitably lead to shenanigans in the back of the bar (peanut shell wars for the most part). Chances are you'll find yourself sitting next to someone you'd never dream of talking to on the street - and by the end of the night you're best drinking buddies. The surreal log-cabin redneckish environs is cozy and so over-the-top that no one takes themselves too seriously - which makes for a great melting pot environment.
Foodwise - you can get food from the same kitchen that serves the Sticky Wicket - and it will seem better at Big Bad Johns because it's not pretending to be a pub or restaurant.
The only qualm is the shared washroom facilities with the hotel. It would be nice if they built some sort of crazy Big Bad John's styled washroom so you don't hit the sterile and sobering hallways and washrooms of the Strathcona inbetween drinks.
Nonetheless - this should remain a mainstay of Victoria nightlife for years to come. A must-see for any visitor, if only for a couple drinks before a night on the town.