Narrow Lounge

November 15th, 2011

Location: Main Street & 3rd Avenue, Vancouver, BC  View Google Map
Website: Click Here

Sometimes I want to ditch the fancy cocktails and head somewhere free of preening yuppies and corporate polish. The first time I walked by the famed Viper room in LA, I was shocked to see that even though River Phoenix and Johnny Depp hung out there, it was a total dive bar. I liked what I saw. The Narrow takes after bars in other cities that are tucked in seedy buildings in questionable neighbourhoods complete with unmarked doors and makeshift furnishings. I first went to the Narrow shortly after it opened in 2008 and was appalled. We foolishly ordered a bottle of wine and a cheese plate and were handed a magnum of wine, which cost about $26. The platter arrived with an assortment of cheeses, one of which looked like cottage cheese and another like Kraft singles. But there is something about this grotty place that is charming and kept me coming back. I have since smartened up and so have they; this isn’t a place boasting a sophisticated selection of wine so I stick to hard bar. They, in turn, have improved their menu, although I never go to the Narrow for a meal. I go because the door is anonymous except for a red light, which leads you down a dingy stairwell…and suddenly, you are transported to East London or Brooklyn before it was overrun with families pushing $1000 prams. The walls are papered with a muddy-red pattern and decorated with kitsch paintings and moose antlers looming over the space. The bar runs almost the full length of the skinny space which is dimly lit by a chandelier that looks like it was pilfered from a Victorian grandmother’s house. They also spin records on an old-school turntable with the volume increasing, it seems, in proportion to the alcohol consumption. The last time I was there, I took my rather mainstream sister. “I feel so street!” she exclaimed, grinning. (EL)

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