Located in Swans Hotel, the Brewpub is a year-round restaurant open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night dining. The menu boasts a selection of traditional and contemporary pub fare, a variety of salads, burgers and daily features using fresh West Coast ingredients.
This is first and foremost a brewpub. And their beer is absolutely fantastic. For the modest price of $10 you can have a selection of 6 of their beers in fairly generous sampler glasses laid out before you to savour. But a hint: instead of pints buy the mid-sized beers (sleeves, I think they're called). You save about $1.50 and it's barely smaller than a pint - better value by far. They also have weekly specials, so if you're on vacation or feel like a mid-week beer you may be able to get a $3.50 pint or a $10 jug. Not too shabby for microbrew.
I've only eaten three dishes here - the BBQ burger, the portabella burger (a whole portabella mushroom cap instead of a beef patty - much more delicious than it sounds), and the fish and chips. I think I had a beef dip once. All times with either fries or Caesar salad The fish & chips was a bit expensive compared to some other pubs but was pretty good. The BBQ burger is a solid favorite - very tasty, especially after a couple of beers. Fries and service? No problem from my perspective. The waitresses are usually pretty prompt and have an amazing capacity to remember two 6-beer samplers (that's 12 beer varieties to remember in one order). No cleanliness issues either. Kitchen looks clean, bathrooms are sparkling. Other reviewers must have hit it on a bad night or something.
The food isn't remarkable but it's perfectly tasty pub food, but the beer is what keeps me coming back. In addition to their regular beers (brown, pale ale, IPA, bitter, Bavarian lager, light ale, strong raspberry ale, stout, and scotch ale - Yes, I remember them all - I love beer ;)) they have seasonal specials. At the time of this review it's a belgian-style unfiltered wheat beer which is quite good - strong and flavourful, not like the sweeter hefeweizen-style (which hey, I also like). Sitting out on the enclosed patio and drinking some of Western Canada's better microbrew beer is definitely worth the visit for me. I don't understand the dramatically negative reviews, because it's been a favorite place of mine for a long time.
But go there for the beer. The food will fill your stomach and is as good as any other pub-food, but the beer is out of this world.
I have been this restaurant a couple of time in the past, and it was just okay. Tonight I wanted to eat there again, and visited there. The restaurant was not many people, and I got my table.
The waitress brought the menu to our table, but even never came to serve any drink. ( even no water serving!!) . We have been waiting to her come back to take order almost 10mins. It was really really no customer, and not busy at all. I don't know she never showed up!! OMG!!
It is really terrbile service... I will never recommend this restaurant, and I don't want to think the place for eating at all.
We come here often. Once we had terrible service but now the service is quite good - not as fast as I'd like but solid. I like the ambience here, the wood and the hangings, and there's a snug out back which is where we hang out. If you sit in the main pub for lunch you get a great street view and the music fits the mood. There are 7-8 craft beer on tap, one of which is a seasonal. Some of the beer is served at room temp English style and some colder Canadian style; I prefer the latter and wish some of the others were colder but that's me. I also wish they'd serve the pints in chilled pint mugs rather than large warm pop glasses. The menu was for years very basic and expansive but they've now toned it down - which is good - and revitalized it. I still find the food overall pretty basic but they've been able to keep their prices competitive. They do breakfasts quite well.
I have been going to Swans on and off over many years and the trend seems to be inconsistant food quality coupled with some good home brew.
I find if you treat this place like a pub with typical pub food then you won't be too disapointed. I do enjoy their unique and delicious beer which can come in taster-sized glasses of four or six; try it if you wish to try some variety. Also the music is exceptional with the Bill Johnson Band (arguably the best blues guitarest on the Island.)
Swans service can be inconsistant as my friends and I have had quite good service one day and have been ignored another. But generally a decent effort is made.
I like the look of Swans; it's unique and its Westcoast flavour in a converted wharehouse and feed store works well with tourists and locals alike. But most locals know not to go here for food.
The service was very slow and inattentive. The food is your typical pub-grub - well actually maybe better than typical. For Victoria, I found the value and food/portions to be noticeably superior to Spinnakers which I also tried the same weekend. The appies/fish and chips were quite fine. However, everything was outshone by the superb, and I mean SUPERB live band that was playing on Monday (I think they play every Monday there). I have heard many bands play at joints in Vancouver but this one was outstanding in terms of the quality and variety of music they could play. They do an expert job of playing a nice mix of hot jazz, ellington/goodman 1940's type standards and 1950's jump blues/rock & roll etc. They swing so hard that you just have to get up and dance to one of their swinging numbers!
I've been to Swans many times over the past few years, usually later in the evening for drinks, and hadn't ever blinked an eye at the service. This may have been because I'd already had a few, though. Upon eating dinner at Swans this past weekend (for Tourist in My Own Town), I was utterly appalled at the slovenly service. To get in, eat a burger, and leave, it took upwards of 2.5 hours. We did not order drinks, either (other than a simple iced tea, which took 30-40 minutes to receive a refill for)! Simply unacceptable. We had to help ourselves to menus, ask about 3 people to clear the table so we could sit down....and never mind trying to flag someone for the bill. Nearly walked out before that! Yikes!
I have visited Swans many times and keep forgetting to submit a review.
Swans is a local icon with a host of award winning beers.
Their pub menu is pretty extensive and I do have a few favorites.
I absolutely think they have the best fish and chips in the city, they serve a beer battered halibut fish and chip meal.
I have had it a few times and been happy every time.
The only down side is that I was charged $1.00 for a side of mayo (not cool)
If you like a bit of spice the Jambalaya pasta is really good.
I have never had a bad experience and will always recommend Swans
This place used to be famous for their fries (crispy & full of potato flavour) and they brew their own root beer, which has a distinctive minty taste. When I visited Victoria a couple of weeks ago, I went back deliberately because this was one of my hang out spots when I lived in Victoria.
Little did I know that their food is SOOO bad now. We order a chicken dish - $16 and there was only 1 small piece of chicken + a few side veggies. I can easily finish 2 dishes myself and wouldn't be full.
The fries was cold & soggy. The root beer tasted funny and was different from before - it now tastes like toothpaste.
Worst of all, the waitresses kept ignoring us! Our table wasn't even properly cleaned with dirt & leftover food all over the table, and none of the wait staff bothered to clean it for us. We waited 10 mins before successfully flagging down a server to take our order, and then waited an additional 30 mins for our food to come.
Wonder why this place is packed? Was it all for the live music?! I should've stuck it out at Il Terrazzo and waited that 30 mins for a table there instead for much better food & service even if it's a more expensive!
Was here last night with a few friends. It was martini night. First one I ordered was warm. Like room temperture warm. How does a shaken martini get warm? Second one had dirt in it. Literally a piece of dirt. Third times a charm? Not likely. I ordered something sweet. I got bitter and sambuca. If the beer was any good I might of order one. If your bartenders can't make the drinks on the menu then don't have drink specials on them. Our service was pretty bad too. She seem disinterested and thunked every drink down on the table. Wings were pretty dry. Don't bother with this one. May of been great in the past but not so much anymore.
The only person I saw doing any work was a bus boy clearing tables. And he was the friendliest of them all.