Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Unassuming but neighbourly, the new Riverdale pub plays on its strengths; you see, Whitehorse, with all its suburbs, had no proper neighbourhood pubs. Riverdale aims to correct this with a pub where everyone is welcome.

Located right in the hub of Riverdale at 95 Lewes Boulevard, near Peak Fitness, the pub doesn’t jump out at you. In fact, when we first went to check it out, I wasn’t sure we had the correct location.

The décor definitely didn’t wow me; it wasn’t unattractive or grimy, but just didn’t have that “pub” feel to it. The walls are pale, not wooded; seating is arranged neatly in groups of four, like in a restaurant, and with the exception of prominently displayed taps, it all screamed “restaurant” to me.

My first visit to the Riverdale Neighbourhood Pub, we found the seating arrangements awkward to the point of intruding on conversations. We were used to long tables, ample seats and didn’t like being confined to four per table.

We worked around it by switching chairs around and then it worked for us. It was surprisingly busy, but, as a new pub on a Friday night, I’m glad they are experiencing a boom.

The clientele seemed predominantly older with a few mid-twenties groups mixed in. I wonder if the proximity made a difference and, if the pub was downtown, who would patronize it?

The idea of neighbourhood pubs is to cultivate a clientele of locals who can stop by after work or for a drink after dinner, making it a comfortable meeting place for adults. Perhaps they had this in mind while decorating.

Doubtless, the pub is still working out a few kinks as it has only been open for a few weeks. There aren’t any attractive pictures or moose heads or exposed wooden beams, but I’m willing to overlook that for some quality conversation and decently priced drinks.

Currently, there seems to be a rotating system of two beers on tap, and they switch it up regularly. Also, like a sports bar, there are two TVs perched high up for ample viewing opportunity.

Drink prices are where the Riverdale pub can really make its mark. The Friday we were there, a sleeve of Kokanee was $3.50 and a pint is $4.50 – not too shabby. Highballs are around $5 and the liquor is of reasonable quality.

Happy hour runs from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday and the drinks are usually a dollar off evening prices. You can get a sleeve of whatever’s on either of the two taps for $2.50.

Rumour has it that once the pub works out its growing pains, they will start bringing in pub snacks like wings and pizza, which would be great, but again, just a lingering rumour.

I really like the fact that Riverdale has a neighbourhood pub as an alternative to meeting for drinks downtown. Hopefully Copper Ridge follows suit (we get thirsty too).

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