(This story is sponsored by Leopold’s Tavern)
If there’s a guiding philosophy at the new Leo’s Tavern in Vancouver, it’s that great bars aren’t only defined by their food, drinks, and cool décor. Just as important as all those things is building a strong sense of community that makes folks from every walk of life feel welcome.
With that in mind, Leo’s understands it has an important legacy to uphold as it throws open the doors at 1619 West Broadway.
Vancouverites know that address as the former location of the Storm Crow Tavern. If that much-loved institution was famous for anything, it was providing an inclusive and welcoming space for everyone, from Dungeons & Dragons disciples to pop-culture vultures to laid-back beach bums to beer and cocktail aficionados. After taking over the space, one of Leo’s first priorities was to pay tribute to the old Storm Crow by commissioning a custom fantasy wall mural from local artist William Phillips.
Emphasizing again the importance of community, visitors will now have a big hand in shaping the look and feel of the room in the weeks and months ahead. Stop by today, tomorrow, or this weekend and you’ll find an approach to the décor that might best be awesomely described as “anything goes,” the walls plastered with everything from old movie posters (Goonies!) to endless celebrity photos (Anthony Bourdain, The Fonz, and Mister Rogers), to vintage sports pennants (go Blue Bombers!). Feel free to covet the beautifully thrashed old skateboard decks and vintage toy action figures, and consider yourself reminded that nothing adds to the kitsch-cool ambience of a room like year-round Christmas lights.
When you pop into Leo’s to check things out, feel free to bring a personal decoration to make it feel like not only home, but, more importantly, your home. Get a personal Polaroid snapped and slapped on the tavern wall, and create the perfect soundtrack for your visit by cueing up your favourite throwback-punk, classic hip-hop, or glitter-bomb pop song on the jukebox.
As exciting as the vibe is, Leo’s is also all about the food and drink, with a full menu available until 1am Sunday to Thursday, and 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays. The Breakfast Club brunch, meanwhile, runs Saturdays, Sundays, and stat holidays from 11am to 3pm.
Canadian trivia buffs know that Leo’s has deep roots in the Great White North. The company was founded in 2013 in Regina—a city that’s perfected the art of having a great time while hanging with friends. Since then Leopold’s Tavern has expanded across the country to Winnipeg, Calgary, Kelowna, and Victoria, building a devoted following for proper pours in its cocktails, its famous “true 20-ounce pint,” and an above-and-beyond approach to poutine.
Leo’s gets plenty of love for the selection of burgers (options start with Classic Cheeseburger, Chipotle Jalapeño, and Crispy Chicken), innovative snacks (don’t miss the Scotch egg, Garlic Bread Bombs, and the Bucket of Bacon with maple syrup), and mind-bending selection of chicken wings (a short list of flavours includes buffalo ranch, sriracha honey, smoked applewood, Greek, salt and vinegar, Tajin, dill pickle, and lemon pepper). From the Kick’n Chick’n Burger to the Baja Tacos to Southwest Burrito Bowl, there is also no shortage of plant-based and gluten-free options.
As varied as the menu might be, it’s the poutine—Canada’s greatest gift to the world this side of Neil Young, hockey, and SCTV—that Leo’s is most famous for.
It’s most famous poutine? That would be the Punchbowl, which starts with a whopping four pounds of potatoes fried to golden perfection, that mountain then topped with a full pound of cheese curds and a glorious litre of gravy. Finish the Punchbowl—yes, it comes in a punch bowl!—in one sitting and you earn an instant spot on the Leo’s wall of fame.
Less daunting, but no less tasty, options include the Perogie Poutine (with bacon, caramelized onions, beef gravy, and dill sour cream), Cheeseburger Poutine (ground beef, pickles, smash sauce, and tomatoes), and BBQ Rancher Poutine (barbecue pulled pork, buttermilk fried chicken, ranch, and beef gravy). For traditionalists, there’s also the Traditional Poutine, as well as the Plant Based Poutine.
Because life’s best when it’s full of surprises, Leo’s is always switching things up with a specially created Poutine of the Week and Burgers of the Month. You can also watch for Tacos and Tequila Tuesdays, Wing Wednesdays, and ever-changing features for the Breakfast Club. Had a beyond-busy day where all you want to do is relax on the couch while you fire up Netflix or the Xbox? Head to leostogo.ca for takeout or delivery options.
But, really, you’re going to maximize your fun by coming by Leo’s on West Broadway for poutine and a pint—and by that, we’re talking that famous true 20-ounce pint. Don’t forget a personal decoration or two, and maybe your best shirt for that Polaroid picture. More than a bar, Leo’s is out to build a community. And like all communities, that means its main mission is to make you feel like you’re truly home the second you arrive.