Dunlevy Snack Bar

By Emmy Lee | Posted on May 23rd, 2013

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I have often bemoaned the lack of good bars in Vancouver – the kind of place where you can just sit back anonymously with a drink and food is a secondary thought. I tend to go either high or low – so typically I’m at the Georgia Hotel (at their Lobby Lounge) or the Caffè Brixton – as there is a certain kind of slick, corporate feel to a lot of mid-range bars in Vancouver I’m not particularly fond of. Dunlevy Snack Bar, a small, independently run spot in Strathcona has recently been licensed so they are a good option when you want to go somewhere very casual and entirely unpretentious for a low key drink. The space has a DIY vibe, as if it has been cobbled together from cast-offs gathered from friends and family, with long pew-like benches and small round tables that can be pushed together for your group. A whimsical white installation by local artist Nathalee Paolinelli hangs from the rafters and there are often artworks on view – the latest grouping is a set of prints created by the publication Setup – and DJs play eclectic and funky tunes, avoiding the dominant top 40 hits. Dunlevy has a food menu (their Bicycle Plate – a big share spread with hummus, feta, olives, ham, cornichons and bread looks generous and tasty) but I’ve yet to explore it. My friends were pleased with the Anchor Steam, Whiskey Sours and bottles of Cava. At $28 for a bottle of Cava, it feels very reasonable for bubbly and the Dunlevy folks created a makeshift champagne bucket for us filling a large pot with ice, calling it Downtown Eastside style. Admittedly, the service is relaxed, but that’s also part of the charm – you don’t feel anyone is pressuring you to order another one, or that they are trying to turn over their tables.


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