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Stella's Tap and Tapas Bar – Vancouver, BC

April 19th, 2009 · No Comments

Stella's Bar & Tapas Bar
I’ve been meaning to write about this place for a while. M was in town, and after having checked out the Cascade Room and The Five Point together, we had heard that Stella’s had a good selection of Belgian brews on tap, so off we went.

Now M is a gent who knows his beer. He has toured the Affligem Abbey/Brewery in Belgium (a little place I like to call ‘heaven’) and he knows his way down to the bottom of a glass of lambic, stout, bitter – whatever bubbly, bitter concoction you’d care to serve him in a glass.

While I love a good glass of beer or 12, I’m more of a food and cocktails guy, so I wanted to try out this place that called itself a ‘tapas bar’ and was known for its Belgian Beer – not a combination that you see every day.

We started off the meal with some Tapas – their Filo wrapped baked double cream Brie with organic honey and sambal drizzle – which was on the whole – as advertised. A chunk of melted brie, covered in phyllo, and drizzled with something sweet and savory. Pretty much a winner unless you don’t know how to cook – so it was just fine and filled the belly with something to delay the quantities of strong beer that were about to arrive. M ordered the Belgian Poutine – this is your usual poutine with Blanche de Chambly & Miso gravy and green onions. Annnnnddd… tasted like poutine. Pretty much in Vancouver, Chambar is the game to beat for Poutine, but this is more a bar than Chambar’s fancy scene, so what did we expect? The fries weren’t as crisp as they could have been, but at least the beer/miso gravy was interesting, and points for the green onions.

To me, this is bar food – not really Tapas. Below is a picture of a dude working at a tapas bar, serving tapas, in Barcelona, in a country where people eat tapas every day after work. That is tapas, not what they serve at Stella’s, which is “fancy bar food”.
(this picture is not from Stella’s)

I digress.

On to the beer. Now this is something that Stella’s understands, and isn’t fooling anyone with. They have some great beers in their fridge.

We started things off with a Duchesse de Borgogne and a Leffe, then M found they had Kwak on the menu – for which he promptly lost his mind. His friend J and he discovered Kwak in Belgium and it was one of their favourites. To find it again in Canada was pretty much one of the best days of the decade for M – especially as they served this beer in a proper Kwak – the long, crazy glass you see in the pictures above. Don’t try to abscond from the bar with one of these my friend – not only is it something a Bon Vivant would never do, you can imagine the add-on you’ll find on your visa bill the next morning. We went on to have a Piraat 10.5%, a Bornem Tripel, a Tripel Karmeliet, a Petrus, and one heck of a sore head the next morning.

So what do I think of Stella’s? I’d go there any time for the beer. Vancouver isn’t a city that has any bars with really, really interesting selections of beers (go to Smokeless Joe’s or the Beer Bistro in Toronto for that) – but Stella’s stands head and shoulders above the rest of the crowd in Vancouver for this. The food? If you need something tasty, it’s fine – but it’s just bar food with a little more effort than something that came out of the freezer and got dropped in the fryer. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so harsh – and I should give the menu a few more tries. M is coming back to town soon, and there were still a few Belgians on that menu that we hadn’t yet met…

Go for the beer.
Stella’s Tap and Tapas Bar
1191 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC
Tel: 604-254-2437

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Stella's Tap & Tapas Bar on Urbanspoon

Tags: Beer · Vancouver

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