Every Vancouver neighbourhood has its own personality. While we may be loyal to our coffee shop and local businesses, it’s always interesting to explore the flavours and fashions of a different quarter. Avoid heading back to your corner of the city lamenting the lameness of another — follow our neighbourhood guides and discover the fun of eye-opening adventure. In this new series, we’ll visit the city’s best nooks and offer suggestions of where to dine, drink and drop a dime. We launch with what is arguably the hippest ’hood in the city, Main Street, a.k.a. Mount Pleasant, a.k.a. South Main, a.k.a. SoMa.
Main Street is hands-down home to the best second-hand shops in Vancouver. You’ll find vintage furniture and décor galore in more than half a dozen antique shops between East 27th and King Edward. Given their close proximity, you might as well pop in to all of them. In terms of fashion, the look on Main is local designer on the top and vintage on the bottom, or the other way around. For hot local looks, check out Eugene Choo, Motherland and Lüt. For unique vintage styles, visit Bohemia Gallery, C’est La Vie, F as in Frank and Woo Vintage. On the strip, you’ll also find the city’s best used bookstore (and one of Western Canada’s largest), Pulpfiction Books, as well as Vancouver’s oldest independent record shop, Neptoon.
If you’re into gaming, you’ll dig Strategies Games and Hobbies, “Canada’s board game store.” “Boards and beers” nights are now considered hip, so you may be interested in checking out one of the shop’s social nights to get the goods on a new game to share with your friends. If board games spell boring for you, Guys and Dolls Billiards offers more active entertainment, with foosball, arcade games and darts in addition to pool. And if you’re up for a little kinky fun, check out what’s playing at Fox Cinema (2321 Main St.), the city’s only XXX theatre, where $14 will get you and your girl in.
Vegetarian fare is very popular on Main Street; must have something to do with fitting into those skinny jeans. Join the green revolution by grabbing a funky 1950s kitchen table at the Foundation (2301 Main St.) and ordering the Insurgent Hummus and Persistent Pnut Burger. East Is East, a quaint “dhabba” (eatery), also offers several vegetarian options. If you’re searching for a breakfast to ease your hangover, look no further than Slickity Jim’s Chat ‘n Chew diner and his “Benedictions.” And if you’re taking her out for a casual-chic dinner, try Cafeteria for contemporary comfort food, or Latitude for Latin American street food.
Grabbing a drink on Main Street calls for coffee more often than booze. With well over a dozen cafés on the main drag, where does one go for a cuppa? Our faves are Coco et Olive, which also offers delightful tarts, galettes and sweets, and, if you’re further north and looking for somewhere to geek out with your laptop, Gene Coffee Bar (2404 Main St.). When it’s sunny out, we can’t resist Burgoo’s patio for a beer and prime people watching. When the sun sets, the Cascade Room is the place for a classic cocktail.
Image courtesy of tiddlywinker.