Dix BBQ & Brewery, home to Vancouver’s original cask night, was a major player in the city’s craft beer revolution. The brewpub closed without notice in May of 2010 and the gigantic space sat empty for more than 5 years, the brewing equipment extracted and sold (much of it to Brassneck Brewery who opened its doors 3 years later). The location at 871 Beatty Street was eventually snapped up by Central City Brewers + Distillers in late 2014 and reopened the monumental space to the city’s craft beer community last Friday.
I spent a lot of time at Dix, for nearly 3 years I was almost always there on Thursday for cask night. I watched the NHL, the NFL and the entire 2010 Olympic Games at the big, beautiful bar. I participated in at least 4 Caskivals, a biannual beer festival featuring more than 20 casks from around the province, possibly the first of its kind in BC. I met some of my closest friends at Dix. It was the quintessential Cheers pub, where everybody knows your name.
Yesterday, I rode my bike across the Cambie Street Bridge to visit the new Central City location, a week after its opening. I was nervous as I locked my bike outside, the exterior of the building, the entire city block, nostalgic and familiar. Walking in the doors and up the stairs of the entrance, I felt a strange feeling, a flood of happiness, the layout so similar to the days of Dix, a travel through time to a place of joy and celebration. The friend I was meeting was seated at the middle of the bar, exactly where I would have gravitated. He stood up as I approached and held out his arms for a big hug, both of us smiling, “It is so strange to be here,” I said awe-like, wide-eyed, taking in the setting.
“It’s happy hour, $3 beers!” he told me as I sat down next to him.
$3 beers! The place seemed even more like Dix, back when beers were $2.50 during Canucks games.
The pub offers more than 40 taps, featuring some of BC’s best beers alongside Central City’s Red Racer lineup. It was hot and sweaty, making the Red Racer Kolsch exceptionally crisp and refreshing.
I ran into Central City’s brewmaster, Gary Lohin. Gary, too, had enjoyed many a beer at this bar back when it belonged to Dix. It was great to see him. I asked if he planned to host Caskival at the new location, he told me they are hoping to, and also that a Friday night cask series will commence over the coming weeks. Growler filling stations already installed, they’ll be filling jugs by the Spring, once they obtain the license to do so.
Visit Central City’s Red Racer Restaurant on Beatty Street and continue the beer revolution at this legendary location. Happy Hour from 4pm-6pm daily.