The West End is getting a well-deserved casual gastropub, and its owners are hoping it becomes a staple hangout spot in the neighbourhood. Blind Sparrow is moving into the space on Denman recently vacated by Left Bank, and is poised to open mid-November with a menu of shareable casual bites, plenty of local beer and wine, a full bar, and a relaxed vibe.
The team behind Blind Sparrow is Michael Gayman and Bryce Frisky, who have worked together at several restaurants, including at Yaletown’s West Oak, where Gayman served as GM and Frisky was the Executive Sous Chef. Gayman is also one of the owners of the club 12 West, but is excited to be at the reins with Frisky for this decidedly more kick-back style gastropub.
Gayman admits he wasn’t initially looking to open up the West End, however the charms of the property, including its terrific side street-facing patio, proved irresistible, as did the prospect of giving the area a bar and restaurant that could fill a void for locals.
Inside, Blind Sparrow will boast a cozy-meets-industrial vibe, including a feature wall made of reclaimed bar wood, a back bar incorporating plumber’s piping, a glass-encased keg room, and a mix of high-top tables and banquette seating. The main TV set will be behind a mirror, and only come on when there’s a key game that patrons will come in to enjoy–at this local hang, the TVs won’t play gratuitously.
They’ll kick off weekdays with a 4 to 6 p.m. happy hour featuring drink specials, then offer drinks and dinner service till midnight. Gayman’s hope is that customers see Blind Sparrow as a great option for after work or pre-dinner drinks, full on dinner, or even drinks and snacks after an evening out.
Frisky’s menu has been designed to go well with beer, wine, and cocktails, and will feature what Gayman describes as “elevated bar food” served tapas-style. Look for global flavour influences, a bit of spice (perfect for pairing with pints), and nothing over about $15 to $16. Dishes will include things like Korean chilli-braised boar ribs, spicy prawn tacos, cedar plank roasted sablefish, and sweet treats, such as a play on the cronut (a croissant-donut hybrid). Blind Sparrow will also serve a weekend brunch.
When it comes to the drinks, Blind Sparrow will have six B.C. wines on tap, but the emphasis will definitely be on beer. They’ll have 12 taps for pouring local craft beers, of which about six to eight will stay fairly consistent, and the other four to six will offer rotating selections based on what’s coming out of area breweries.
Gayman, who says he’s not quite a beer geek but quite excited about the growth in the B.C. craft beer scene, is looking forward to cultivating relationships with local brewers, and having the Blind Sparrow host beer pairing events and dinners.
Blind Sparrow will feature a full bar with an accompanying trim menu of unpretentious custom cocktails using house-made juices–ideal for sipping on the patio, come warmer weather.
“We want to be that place where people really feel they get value,” elaborates Gayman.
Blind Sparrow is aiming for a November 18 opening day.
Address: 751 Denman Street