Darby's takes over Bitter Tasting Room, expands beer and food menus


Bitter Tasting Room launched in 2011 with an aim to focus on bottled beers, much like what its sister spot, Salt Tasting Room, does with wine.

However, in the changing tides of the food and drink business, Bitter has split from the Heather Hospitality Group, and is now under the ownership of the team behind Darby’s, Lightheart Hospitality.

Bitter tasting room

SEE ALSO: Craft Beer in Vancouver: Bitter Tasting Room

With subtle tweaks at Bitter already in place, beer lovers can expect an expanded selection of brews and hours in the coming weeks.

Brendan Bonfield, Lightheart’s general manager, says they took over Bitter two weeks ago, and are in the process of adding in more lines, to bring the craft beer on tap options to a whopping 28. They’ll also be pouring two wines from tap, and house two beer casks. There will be some expansions to the seating (think long tables) and by next summer Bonfield says the vision is to have two patios up and running–one out front and one resurrected in an adjacent space (permits willing).

When it comes to the Bitter beer program, Bonfield says the biggest change is to leave the bottle options to a few Belgians, and a refocused emphasis placed on the taps. They’ll be pouring predominantly B.C. craft brews, but will save a couple spots for standout brews from nearby U.S. states.

Bitter has brought in a new chef to revamp the menu. The cherished Scotch Egg is still there, but diners are now able to soak up the suds with salads, sandwiches, flatbreads, and mix-and-match charcuterie board. Expect a further food expansion in the coming months, as the kitchen gets new equipment.

One other piece of good news is that while Bitter Tasting Room has been operating Tuesdays through Saturdays from 5 p.m. to midnight, they’re planning to expand to seven days a week with an 11 a.m. open. Bonfield says to watch social media for that announcement.

Bitter Tasting Room

Address: 16 West Hastings Street
Phone: 604-558-4658
Website: www.bittertastingroom.com

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Lindsay William-Ross Lindsay is a Senior Editor at Vancity Buzz, and currently runs the site's Food section. A fourth generation Vancouverite, she spent the last two decades in Los Angeles, where she was EIC of the city's top blog, earned her MA, attended culinary school, and was an English professor (among other things). Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancitybuzz.com

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