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1. There’s no livelier place than Caffé Roma Sports Bar to watch a Canucks game—armed with a trademark Italian sausage on a bun. (When the Fifa World Cup is on, these are the most coveted seats in town.) 1510 Commercial Dr., 604-215-8801.

Coffee culture thrives on the Drive, with a number of cafés appealing to different tastes: 2. Turks Coffee Lounge has a low-key vibe and aromatic Milano coffee; 3. Prado serves organic fair-trade coffee (custom-blended by 49th Parallel Roasters) in a spare white space with worn wood floors; 4. JJ Bean is a locally loved chainlet, brewing its own roasts and—bonus!—it opens at 6 a.m. Turks: 1276 Commercial Dr., 604-255-5805. Prado Cafe: 1938 Commercial Dr., 604-255-5537. JJ Bean: 2206 Commercial Dr., 604-254-3723.

5. Bleary-eyed parents come to Little Nest for the delicious, organic, and locally sourced menu (fruit and granola, fluffy eggs, grainy toast) and the strong coffee, all served in a tot-friendly, if chaotic, space complete with play area and custom-built toy kitchen. 1716 Charles St., 604-251-9994.

6. A 750-millilitre container of Dolce Amore’s velvety-smooth gelato easily feeds a family of four and can be loaded with up to three flavours for $14, plus taxes. 1590 Commercial Dr., 604-258-0006.

7. Timbre’s version of Sloppy Joe’s substitutes sweet and spicy ground bison served on a grilled hamburger bun (recommended with a heavy pint of Hoegaarden). On Fridays, the cabin-like spot hosts live jazz; arrive early to snag a table. 2068 Commercial Dr., 604-215-7515.

8. Abruzzo Cappuccino Bar is the place for Boardwalk Empire fans. Greying descendants of the Drive’s Italian population nurse crema-laden doppios under an Italian flag while Euro soccer unfolds on the big screen. 1321 Commercial Dr., 604-254-2641.

9. For minimalism to go, head to hot newcomer Cassia Cupcakery. Try a classic vanilla cake base with peanut-butter icing. 1706 Commercial Dr., 604-568-6188.

10. Fratelli’s, purveyor of fine focaccia and other fresh-baked artisanal loaves, also peddles high-quality espresso. Settle outside with an Americano (the Arabica beans are sourced from Vancouver’s Torelli roasters) and Sicilian cannoli filled with rich ricotta and a subtle orange zest. 1795 Commercial Dr., 604-255-8926. 

11. At gastropub The Charlatan, 15 chrome taps pour local brews like Granville’s Honey Lager and Driftwood IPA alongside imports. Forgo the bar for the 80-seat patio filled with diners trying to finish the sizable “Not Your Mom’s” bacon-wrapped meatloaf or the robust tzatziki-topped lamb burger. 1447 Commercial Dr., 604-253-2777.

12. Hipster magnet Bandidas Taqueria showcases the Drive’s Latin American influence. Hand-made soft corn tacos come in veggie options like the Ronny Russell (roasted yam, fresh guac, green salsa, and pumpkin seeds). Pitchers of white and red sangria are the drink of choice. 2781 Commercial Dr., 604-568-8224.

13. Biercraft Tap and Tapas serves up lavish cones of frites and hefty bowls of mussels done seven ways. The red-hot Thai curry bowl necessitates multiple cooling pints; luckily, Biercraft’s Belgian beer list is the most comprehensive in town. 1191 Commercial Dr., 604-254-2437.



14. La Grotta del Formaggio has Italian pantry staples like Illy coffee, olive oils, and vinegars, plus made-to-order panini, but as the name suggests, cheese is the main draw. There are strong Parmesan Reggianos, glossy bocconcini, and an ever-expanding selection of B.C. cheeses—any and all are recommended. 1791 Commercial Dr., 604-255-3911

15. The message on Barefoot Contessa’s front door is “all things lovely”—an apt description of the unabashedly girly clothes and accessories inside. A sampling: twee hankies, frilly blouses and tops from Spicy Sugar, and handmade stuffed toys by Vancouver’s Miss Audra. 1928 Commercial Dr., 604-255-9035.

16. Spank Shoes stocks the season’s must-have footwear from fun lines like London Underground and Seychelles at reasonable prices. Four blocks down, 4. Kalena’s—a Drive mainstay since 1967—stocks quality Italian brands for the whole family. Spank Shoes: 1181 Commercial Dr., 604-568-1229. Kalena’s: 1526 Commercial Dr., 604-255-3727.

17. If there’s a better place than Dandelion Kids to find children’s gifts, we haven’t found it. Classic wooden toys line the shelves; whimsical mobiles from Djeco and local Contexture dangle from the ceiling. A second location opens this spring in Port Moody. 1206 Commercial Dr., 604-676-1862. 

18. Mintage is known for its overflowing supply of unworn vintage from the 1950s onward, but style insiders come for gems like the reworked in-house line of bright silk tanks sewn from retro scarves, and a sweet range of boho frocks by L.A.-based Everly. 1714 Commercial Dr., 604-646-8243.

19. Riot
carries a well-chosen range of Van’s sharpest labels, like Lily + Jae, along with eco-fashion picks including print-happy Carny Love and laid-back Hawks Ave. Men are not forgotten; drop by for natty local Shocco Ts. 1395 Commercial Dr., 604-254-5073.

Newly opened dilly dally is the place to test yo-yos, play pirate, and score the hippest toys ever. We love sustainably updated versions of retro figurines made with recycled wood. 1161 Commercial Dr., 604-252-9727. Dilly­

21. Womyns’ Ware is unabashedly the best sex shop in town. The bright space boasts a wide array of apparati. (The staff are eager to demo.) The CandyLand section features handy options like a purse-size tin holding a mini vibrator and lipgloss-sized lube. 896 Commercial Dr., 604-254-2543.



1. Victoria Park has toadstool-shaped picnic tables, a busy playground, pathways that wind through the landscape, and is surrounded by colourful heritage houses. One block east of Commercial, between Kitchener and Grant streets

2. The staff at Harry Rosen will send you to Angelo Tailors for difficult suit repairs like invisible mending. The shop also offers made-to-measure shirts and suits using imported Italian fabrics. Closed Sundays. 1501 Commercial Dr., 604-253-7633.