Gastown is Vancouver’s original neighbourhood and is steeped with history, edge, and charm. You’ll find cobblestoned streets, beautiful facades that are relics of the early 20th century, and some of the best heritage loft conversions in the city. As with any urban locale, you’ll also find a wide range of restaurants, bars, boutiques, and coffee shops. Read our take on a few Gastown favourites below!
Victory Barber & Brand – 77 E Cordova
After making a 'loftcall' to our good friend Tonia Mattu, Victory Barber & Brand caught our eye as we were walking down Cordova St. We decided to pop our heads in to investigate further, and found a heritage-style double-height loft space that’s equal parts sultry and quirky – in other words, right up our alley. Highlights include the authentic 1930’s styling chairs, the prohibition-themed mural, and the taxidermy game that give off a speakeasy man-cave vibe. Besides dishing out top-notch trims and shaves, they also carry Victory Brand grooming supplies to help you with the likes of pomading your hair, waxing your Movember ‘stache, and keeping your beard in tip-top shape. They were also kind enough to nudge us the direction of The Birds & the Beets when asked about their go-to spots in the ‘hood.
Wallace Hamilton – 253 Columbia St
Wallace Hamilton was another chance find, and boy, is this store a gem. Being a blustery November day as it were, the sight of comfortable leather couches, oxidized wood, and warm lighting just looked so damn inviting. We had to have a peek inside and look around. This menswear boutique has a rugged heritage vibe, and is fresh to the scene having only opened their doors a mere seven weeks ago. Owner Matt Hamilton carefully curates boutique brands (with several items that are new to Canada) that reflect the values of ethical production, high quality materials, streamlined design, and practicality – something we can get behind! Anyone who has a stylish Mr. on his or her Christmas list – check these guys out.
The Birds & The Beets – 55 Powell St & 54 Alexander St
The Birds & The Beets might just be one of the cutest darn coffee shops that we’ve ever laid our eyes on. You’ll feel all kinds of warm and cozy inside, with the delectable smell of fresh bread wafting through the plant-cladded space. On offer is a delicious selection of gourmet coffee, sandwiches, breakfast items, and snacks, made with fresh and local ingredients where possible. You can even pick up a stem or two of fresh flowers to brighten your day. We enjoyed the house-made kombucha, coffee, and the miso barley bowl, which was earthy and delicious.
L’Atelier Home – 253 W Cordova St
We headed to L’Atelier Home on the recommending of Tonia, who sourced a few amazing pieces for her loft from here. Offering up an eclectic array of goods, you’ll find everything from a Parisian chaise to a boho-chic hanging chair to an industrial side-table. Having set up shop about five and a half years ago, owner-extraordinaire Linda loves Gastown for its boutique vibe and community of like-minded business owners. Her storefront acts as a showroom for the design and one-to-one consulting side of her business, meaning there is a plethora of additional products available besides whats on display. This is a great place to pick up a unique gift for a loved-one’s home, or to seek some professional advice to help you design your space!
Nouvelle Nouvelle – 302 W Cordova St
Next we stopped by Nouvelle Nouvelle, a purveyor of independent up-and-coming lines as well as tried and true staples. Run by a kick-ass couple, the boutique is laid-back, contemporary, and stocked with carefully curated men and women’s fashion as well as accessories and housewares from local and international brands (some of which are carried only by a select few stores in Canada). Offerings including Opening Ceremony, The Horse, Cheap Monday, Sea Monster, Barber + Co, and more. We’ve been fans of the boutique since they opened their doors in 2009, and we highly recommend swinging by if you’re in the ‘hood. We also couldn't leave empty-handed, so we picked up a new keychain from Karl Zahn.
Litchfield – 38 Water St
We are long time fans of Litchfield here at Vancity Lofts, and thanks to the rotating collection of goods on offer you never quite know what you’re going to find (you just know it’s going to be good). Whether you’re on the hunt for a kitchen accessory, looking for a new blanket for the couch, or searching for the perfect ottoman, you’ll find the whole gamut here. Jonathan Litchfield, the store’s namesake and owner, values the family aesthetic of living and the goods on offer reflect this while encapsulating the virtues of beauty, quality, and craftsmanship. The only downside? Trying to leave without taking everything in the store home with us.
Nemesis – 302 W Hastings St
After a full day of exploring one of our favourite ‘hoods, we were feeling in need of a pick me up. Nemesis Coffee is hosted in a beautiful Scandinavian inspired space below the SFU building, adorned with hanging plants a-plenty, and lots of light wood accents. A vibe we can get behind! In watching the baristas prepare pour-over, it’s clear that they treat caffeine as both an art form and a science. And the product speaks for itself – the coffee here is nothing short of incredible. We would recommend Nemesis to even the most discerning of coffee enthusiasts.
Of course, there are so many awesome spots in Gastown to feature that we couldn’t visit them all in an afternoon. We’ll be back to shine the spotlight on some other favourites soon! Do you have a go-to spot that we have to visit? Give us a shout and let us know!