Dogs on leashes, murals on brick walls and tattooed dads on skateboards—this must be Main Street.
Forget to BYO growler? No worries, the north end of Main (a.k.a. Mount Pleasant) is lousy with craft breweries (but it’s Brassneck that creates our favourite illustrated refillable collectables). The condo developments have arrived and so have the crowds (open patio spots are as hard to find as rental vacancies), and we’ve lost an iconic storefront or two—RIP Hot Art Wet City—but what remains is a rich East Van hub (vintage shopping, parks, farm-to-table restaurants, boutique coffee shops) that hasn’t lost its small-town community charm.
(Photo: Ariana Gillrie)
Front and Company
3772 Main St., frontandcompany.com
This consignment boutique is easy to spot for its elaborate window displays (from fabric-strip scenes to a waterfall of glassware). Inside, half the store is quality, colour-coded thrift, while the rest houses local jewellery and new designer sample sizes. F&Co. also runs a pop-up shop next door with rotating themes like camping and wellness.
(Photo: Fahim Kassam)
The Soap Dispensary and Kitchen Supplies
3718 Main St., thesoapdispensary.com
Roll in with your refillable Mason jars and stock up on natural laundry soap, cleaners, grains, herbs and spices, dairy products—the list goes on. They also sell Swedish dishcloths, sustainable toilet paper, natural soaps and ceramic kitchenware.
3612 Main St., shop.vanspecial.com
From smoky glass geometric vases to wooden wiener dogs and beyond, find unique and artful pieces for all areas of the home at this East Van original.
What to Do
Nooner at the Nat
A Nooner at the Nat, a.k.a. a lunchtime baseball game at Nat Bailey Stadium, is a cheap and cheerful way to spend a summer’s day. Grab a couple of $14 seats in the shaded grandstand and a few craft brews from Howe Sound, Whistler Brewing and the like, and enjoy the mascot races (that wasabi roll can run like the wind), crowd-wide sing-a-longs…oh, and the baseball! 4601 Ontario St., milb.com
3995 Main St., theacornrestaurant.ca
This small and cozy room with elegant, fresh-from-the-forest harvest plates is the pinnacle of Main Street meat-free. Arrive the minute they open (5:30 p.m. on weeknights) to avoid a wait, or try the new weekend brunch menu, with features like Southern-fried artichoke and waffles accompanied by bourbon maple syrup and savoury mushroom gravy.
(Photo: Christin Gilbert)
Anh and Chi
3388 Main St., anhandchi.com
A Vietnamese family restaurant with a modern twist, Anh and Chi serves up some of the usual suspects (phô and fresh spring rolls), but it continues to elevate with offerings like the smoky, grilled aubergine with pickled radish, chili and lemongrass. The room, designed by resident Karin Bohn, is a stunner with geometric woodwork, Vietnamese tiles and vintage oil lamps.
New Kid on the Block
Little Mountain Revisited
Almost a decade after more than 200 social housing units were demolished at Little Mountain in Mount Pleasant, redevelopment is well underway at the sprawling 15-acre site. The first of more than a dozen new buildings opened to seniors and people with disabilities in 2015, and if everything goes according to plan, the site will eventually feature 14 residential and three mixed-use buildings, with 1,573 residential spaces—including 282 social housing units—as well as shops, a daycare facility, a neighbourhood house, a village square and more.
Josh Michnik, Founder, 33 Acres Brewing
“Les Faux Bourgeois, for cheese and beer, then over to The Acorn for dinner for chef recommendations, and finally find a dark corner at The Narrow for a cleansing ale.”
Best Summer Activity
Craft Beer Crawl: “Brewery hop: Brassneck, Main Street Brewing, Faculty, Electric Bicycle and of course back to 33 Acres.”
Nectar Juicery: “Devotion or Chill juice.” 3633 Main St., nectarjuicery.com