For all its upsides—proximity to the beach and Stanley Park, robust athletic program, and, of course, great education—the University of British Columbia was lacking a place to grab some food and a pint that lived up to Vancouver standards. And so, tucked away in the trees on the far side of campus, near the Museum of Anthropology and Wreck Beach, with a patio to write home about, Tim Yu and his wife Britt breathed new life into a stale space, reinventing the Koerner’s Pub.
When Yu, who did both his undergrad and MBA at UBC, found out that the original Koerner’s was closed and up for grabs, he jumped at the chance to bring the city community vibe to quiet campus. “I guess I wanted to create a place that students and faculty and the UBC population in general would want to go to, would choose to go to, and would be excited to go to,” says Yu, jokingly calling himself “the VP of Stress and Small Financial Crises, but adds that he also makes “sure we have good beer that I like to drink on tap.” Which brought him to us. Though now based on Bowen Island, Yu and his wife used to live three blocks away from us, and he remembers peering into the brewery’s windows even before we opened our doors. “The space looked cool and I loved the branding, but was curious to see whether the beer would have the chops to live up to the nice image,” he says. “It really did, and it was my goal to get Ocean on tap from the first time I tried it.” We loved the idea of a campus bar that introduced students to craft beer and good food, and were happy to team up. Yu opts for pairing the Koerner’s burger—a made-from-scratch patty of organic, free-range British Columbia beef on a soft brioche bun—with a pint of 33 Acres of Ocean.
Koerner’s brings the know-where-your-food-came-from philosophy to the university’s doorstep, serving Ocean Wise seafood, local produce, and organic meat. The menu goes beyond average pub food, offering up high-quality and inventive dishes including a Kale Roasted Brussel Sprout Caesar salad and Kimchi Pulled Pork Tacos. But the real winner is Koerner’s Pho Nachos, which puts organic and grass-fed brisket, mozzarella, bean spouts, hoisin sauce, Sriracha, cilantro, jalapeños, green onion, and lime on top of a bed of tortilla chips. Unique food combinations made of superior ingredients create a heightened dining experience, and teach students something, too. “Vancouver is more and more becoming a city where diners want to know about the craft of the product—where its coming from, how it’s sourced, how it’s raised, and how it’s made. Whether this is a beer or a burger, we seem to be not only interested in consuming something that tastes delicious, but also that also represents a process that we can respect,” says Yu. “It’s something that has been important to Britt and I since day one, and really has dictated the business decisions we’ve made.” It’s a push for social change, a point for the good guys, and it starts right here, in our local watering holes. The only way to move the tides is to start at the shore and wade in, stroke by stroke.
Around since: 2013 (re-open)
Stockist since: 2015
On tap: 33 Acres of Ocean on Draft, 33 Acres of Life & Euphoria in Bottles.
Address: 6371 Crescent Rd