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Swans Brewpub / Buckerfield Brewery
Active Beers: 18
Beer Ratings: 171
Beer Avg: 3.74
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery, Store ]
506 Pandora Ave
, V8W 1N6
phone: (250) 361-3310
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Reviews by IronDjinn:
vibe: 5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
We checked out Swans in the afternoon, and even then it was still fairly busy. Beautiful old rennovated heritage building on the corner of a busy intersection. The wood and ornaments within the bar are classy and well done, gives the whole place a comfortable and cozy feel to it. We sat in the L-shaped atrium on the outside of the building and watched the action happen and go by outside--great view and scenery.
A curious side-note: Swans is just up the street from some sort of drop-in centre, so if you sit in the atrium along Wharf you get to hear the screeching of tires and horns honking, plus intermittent screams and shrieks as random crackheads wander or run out right into traffic every 20 minutes or so.
Service was polite and professional, or at least our server was very friendly and accomodating. I had the most surreal encounter/conversation I've ever had with a server from another section who started out by shouting at my turned back, "Hey, pay attention to me!" Before that hadn't heard her over the din of the music and other patrons. What ensued I'll write off as just an acid flashback instead...
I sampled a few different pints (brown, stout and pale) and my friend went straight for the sampler option of 6 4 oz. glasses from their decent style selection. I found the beers I tried to be a bit mediocre for their styles, and for the most part on the watery side. Didn't get the opportunity to sample any food this time around, but I've heard from others that it is excellent.
Still, I was thoroughly content with the atmosphere of the pub, the beautiful decor, and sitting in the atrium on a pleasant sunny day, watching the citizens of Victoria bustle along their way, and witnessing the occasional wigged-out crackhead nearly getting mowed down by what was turning into rush hour traffic by that point.
I'm definitely planning on going back again, to sample a few more beers and give them a fair try, as well as to finally try the food. Definitely a place I'd love to spend an entire evening.
03-02-2008 21:02:04 |
More by IronDjinn
More User Reviews:
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | $$
easy to find spot in Central Victoria - very "airy" place on a nice spring afternoon. unfortunately the outside area requires a food purchase under BC law, and we werent eating (google Ulla, then go there, immediately). We saddled up at the small bar inside for a few beverages.
the atmosphere inside was pretty bland, which seems to be pretty standard in Victoria. it borrows from a lot of UK themes, which again, standard. The service was attentive, but rather normal. From the reading I did, seems like crappy loud music permeates this place after dark.
there was maybe 8 or 9 taps and they sell by the half-pint, pint and pitcher.
I really didnt have any expectations but found the Extra IPA to be quite good. The Cafe Fantastic double shot porter had a nice coffee flavour but was a bit watery.
It's a lot more convenient than Spinakkers and appears to be superior to Canoe, so if you're looking for a Victoria brewpub, this seems like the practical top choice.
05-29-2012 23:52:32 |
More by dirtylou
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | $
Note: only inexpensive on Tuesdays and Wednesdays ($3.87 pints/$10.87 pitchers respectively)
This place had a decent atmosphere, live music daily during tourist season (summer) and great craft beer. None of us really tried the food, rather using the location for session drinking.
Sitting at the far back of the patio affords a beautiful view of the inner harbour and the pack-rusted Johnson St Bridge.
On weekends it gets pretty crowded. A more-or-less middle-aged clientele, but gets younger as the night wears on.
I recommend the Coconut Porter and Scotch Ale (8% abv)
09-16-2011 00:24:32 |
More by BashOnABike
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
Visited this brew-pub while on my honeymoon in Victoria. Pretty nice place.
A: Normal pub-like atmosphere. Nothing made it stand out. Patio area was nice.
Q: The food and the beer were great, the service was poor, but we'll get to that. Me and my wife tried different beers and food and everything was great.
S: We were in the pub around 2 P.M. and we were one of four tables. Even so it took 20 minutes for a waitress to finally wander over to us and get our drink orders, then another 15 to finally get our drinks, another 10 to place our food orders, then about 45 minutes after we asked for the bill to actually get the bill and pay. Really shoddy service. May have been an off day, but I wasn't impressed.
F: The food was good. The hot wings were tasty and my wife really enjoyed her sandwich. Nothing outstanding, but good nonetheless.
I would love to go back just to try more of the beers, and hopefully be able to try the oatmeal stout they were out of when I visited. But the service was awful and kept us from returning for the rest of our trip.
06-20-2011 17:11:15 |
More by lespaulrocker
British Indian Ocean Territory
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Spent a night in the hotel, and had drinks and some food downstairs. The bar and hotel in general has some great history, and the inside of the bar had a great vibe. Sat in the atrium with great street views, a must on a rare sunny day in Victoria. Food was decent (yam fries, and salmon skewers) - better than your average pub, the beer was good, with the Oatmeal Stout and Coffee Porter being tops. Service was weak, but I'd chalk it up to our server in particular. All in all would definitely go back, and would certainly recommend.
As an aside I'd also recommend staying here; large rooms with excellent views and located in an ideal neighbourhood for walking (i.e. 5 minutes from Spinnakers, great local stores and other restaurants).
*Goldorak's comments about the "looming disapprovingly" portrait of P.E.T. is spot on - too funny.
10-17-2010 23:06:28 |
More by CBA
British Columbia (Canada)
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | $$$
We met some friends at Swans for a couple of beers. We got there a little after dinner time and it was busy, but there was room at the bar. The atmosphere was upscale, but still pub like. I had the IPA and thought it was quite good, nicely balanced with plenty of citrusy hop flavor. My girlfriend had the brown ale, which was also quite good. Next I had their oatmeal stout, which was a highlight for me. One of the best I have had. It was rich and creamy, and full flavored.
The service was okay, we got offered fresh pints whenever we were low, but when it was time to settle up, it took about 15 minutes of waiting to get our bill. It was busy, but frustrating to watch the bartenders fill multiple orders that came after we had asked for to settle up.
As the night went on, the place got a little more rowdy, and there was some live music. Overall it was a little on the pricey side, $6+ for beers, but they were full pints, and I'd say the beer was worth it.
09-12-2010 02:13:42 |
More by ericj551
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$$
Swans Brew Pub is set in a cool old reconditioned building turned into hotel, brewery and pub. It reminds me of a McMenamins establishment where I'm at in Portland, only with better beer.
The pub area is updated with quality, classy touches that seem pretty new. It's located on a busy city corner downtown near the inner harbor, so it gets quite a bit of foot and vehicle traffic that seem to keep business hopping. Not the most crowded place I've been, but pretty bustling on a weekend evening.
Our waitress was attentive and friendly. She seemed to have a lot of tables to wait, yet never seemed to keep anyone waiting. A team of bus staff helped, as well.
Swans had a surprising number of beers on tap, more than a dozen, I think. A solid, well rounded lineup that covered most major brewing bases but didn't hit any home runs. I tried the strong Riley's Scotch Ale (good, very malty traditional beer), their seasonal Coconut Porter (very one-dimensional coconut, but good), Oatmeal Stout (solid, roasty, malty) and the Extra IPA (despite the menu description, it didn't mean extra hops, but a good balanced IPA).
The side room we sat in was fairly quiet and insulated from the noisier bar, which suited us. It even deadened much of the volume of the cover band that started playing halfway through our time. We heard a band playing there another evening when walking by... whether that's a pro or a con for you, it seems to be a frequent occurrence.
The only food I tried was the mixed yam and potato fries, which were good, but fairly expensive for what you get to this American... so went it with just about every place I went in Victoria. However, Swans seemed in line with the other establishments I visited.
Worth a stop if you're getting a feel for the beer part of the town in Victoria. If it were in my hometown, It probably wouldn't be my most often stop, but it would be regular on the rotation. Kind of interesting, somehow Swans ended up having the highest overall rating I gave after visiting and reviewing the three Victoria brewpubs, but I think I'd be more likely to visit Spinnakers or Canoe if I was a local. I guess the standout service and good selection is maybe what skewed the numbers.
09-15-2009 04:18:44 |
More by josiahschlender
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | $$
An odd room, attached to a hotel and feels like it. A curious mix of heritage character and anonymous transience. Not the most comfortable room, but it gets bumped up a point for the exceptional people-watching on the busy streetcorner: tourists, locals, and the dregs all mingle there - not to mention the other scenery: wildlife, aircraft, and bridge and nautical traffic.
Swans' beers are uneven, mostly pleasant-tasting but too attenuated - the IPA and the raspberry ale (I generally don't like fruit beers but this one is an exception) were full-flavoured and worth a taste or two. I'm glad the six-beer sampler was on offer.
Service was efficient and anonymous.
They have a beer store attached, where you can buy their offerings in bottles, plus a few other scattered BC micros.
I'll return for their two tasty brews - hey, you can't get them anywhere else - and for the unbeatable street show.
08-07-2009 18:06:39 |
More by stagger
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
I visited in July 2009. Located about a 10-to-15 minute walk from downtown Victoria one block away from Government Street. There is no tasting room in the brewery; instead the beers are served in the restaurant on the street corner, next to the hotel entrance. The dining room is large and didn't seem too crowded, even though we were there at lunch time. We sat in the glassed-in patio, which accommodates perhaps ten tables and catches a nice bit of sunlight.
The selection of beers was quite large (ten to fifteen) and all from their on-site microbrewery. Everything is served on-tap. We chose the flight of six samplers. Our server was friendly, informing us about the seasonal specials, and prompt though not too attentive. We ordered the mix of regular and sweet potato fries to accompany our beer, which came with a delicious dijonnaise dipping sauce and was attractively served in the Belgian style, in a cone.
In summary, Swan's is a pleasant and clean establishment for a sit-down meal and beer tasting. The beers were all good and a couple were excellent; I will certainly go back the next time I'm in Victoria.
08-06-2009 20:14:17 |
More by mjbotsch
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | $$
Interesting décor, to say the least. You feel almost in the lobby of an old art deco hotel. What really floored us was the large, looming painted portrait of Pierre-Elliott Trudeau not too far from the bar. With his haughty, condescending grin, I felt like he was staring straight at me, calling me a hotdog eater and telling to "foodoo-boodoo ma gang de tabarnak". Honest to God, it really fazed me. At least at the few other pubs we poked in on our quickie tour of Victoria, we had Lizzie the second's austere yet grandmotherly likeness welcoming us in. Thankfully we sat down at a table where I couldn't see him, so it didn't ruin it all for me. Other than that, the place was quite charming, along with the rest of the city for that matter. Decor was art-deco/old train station, I liked it. They were about to clear away our section to make room for the band, something not everyone likes in a brewpub, but I think it's great. What else...I found it strange to have the toilets protected by a code lock, but it wasn't the only pub I've been to on this trip that had this "feature". Service was prompt and I got my sampler tray quickly. Selections ranged from uninspired to somewhat interesting, with nothing really catching my eye, save perhaps the Scottish ale that had interesting smokiness to it. It stood out from the rest, but I had better. Didn't get to try any food either. But it was a fun place to visit in good company (certain former prime ministers excluded), if only for a few tasters.
10-22-2008 16:39:56 |
More by Goldorak
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Swans Brewpub / Buckerfield Brewery in Victoria, BC, Canada