St. Patrick’s Day in Canada Countdown, Edition 4


Doolin’s in Vancouver is in the location where singer Michael Buble got his start. (Katie Marti/

We count down the 12 Days to Christmas, why not the 17 Days to St. Patrick’s Day? If there’s one holiday that should be a season of cheer, it’s this one, we say. Here’s Edition 4 of the St. Patrick’s Day in Canada Countdown — where we name 17 of the best Irish bars in the land!

Day 4: Doolin’s Irish Pub, Vancouver

Story by Katie Marti Contributor

VANCOUVER — With its brass rails and mahogany decor, it’s hard to believe that Doolin’s was ever anything other than an Irish pub. Originally, though, it was a popular nightclub called Babalu where crooners the likes of Michael Bublé got their start. After a devastating fire about 10 years ago, the space was rebuilt and separated into three bars below what is now the Comfort Inn. This is most convenient on a night like St Patrick’s Day when having a mattress within stumbling distance means you can save the cab fare home.

Pub food is pretty universal no matter which side of the pond you’re on, so expect to find the usual baskets of fries, burgers and salads on the menu. Looking for something a little more traditional? No worries. Doolin’s has a selection of hearty, signature dishes like Irish Stew ($12) and Guinness Beef Pie ($12.50) to keep your pint company.

Given its prime location at the corner of Granville Street in the heart of downtown Vancouver, Doolin’s attracts a wide variety of customers from sports fans on Canucks game nights to tourists stopping by for a sample of one of the many whiskeys and draft beers offered up at the 30-foot bar. Up Your Kilt Thursdays are a ceilidh all on their own, where the servers lead the crowd in a sing-along and treat the entire bar to a jar of Alexander Keith’s.

Quote: “One of the details that makes this place kind of traditional are the dark, wooden blinds. It’s a sort of throw back to a time when pubs were a place where men would sit and drink all afternoon and hide from their wives,” says Malise Mellett, Doolin’s sales, marketing and promotions manager.

St. Patrick’s Day plans: Doors open at 9 am just in time to grab a pint and watch Ireland take on England in Premier Six rugby league action. Following the game, there will be a variety of live music all day, with everything from pipes and drums to fiddlers and dancers kicking up a storm as part of Vancouver’s Celticfest, which runs from March 14-18. One thing you will not find at Doolin’s on St. Partick’s Day? Green Beer. Mellett explains, “We wanted to avoid the cheesy side of St Patrick’s Day and try to celebrate the way they would in Ireland itself.” No need for gimmicks on March 17 when you eat, drink and dance like the Irish every day of the year.

You know it’s authentic Irish because: Servers wear kilts … even the men!

Cost of a pint of Guinness: $7.50 for a perfect 20-ounce pour.

Contact info: 654 Nelson Street (at the corner of Granville), Vancouver; 604-605-4343; Late night menu and business hours: Mon-Thurs 11:30-2am Fri-Sun 11:30-3am with late night pub fare 10-midnight.

Day 3 of the St. Patrick’s Day Countdown: The James Joyce, Calgary

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Vicky is the worldly publisher of Having graduated from McGill University in Montreal, she has set about building a talented team of travel experts to deliver to you words and images of the very best places to see and experience in Canada. Based in Yorkville in Toronto, Vicky regularly jet sets around Canada — be sure to catch up with her when she's in your part of the country.

One Comment

  • ray

    March 30, 2012 at 4:44 am

    awful service and only truly Irish on St P ‘s day to get the people in.Sorry the kilts and awful bland irish singer every night does not cut it.No staff around when i went in…… 4 times i gave it as it as i was local. In fact the service was so slow i said on the 5th time serve the 3 other people watiing. They said i must give a credit card on serving after complaining. i wonder why. Expensive to.


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