Victoria’s newest tap room slated to open this summer aims to be just that — a refuge — for the city’s craft beer lovers. It will be open late (until midnight Sunday to Thursday and 1:00 am on Fridays and Saturdays) and its location on Fort Street between Blanshard and Quadra will be a boon to folks who live in Fernwood, Fairfield and Oak Bay.
Tucked between Choux Choux Charcuterie and Dak, the location previously housed the Terroir Tea Salon. The cozy and comfortable room will have about 38 seats, but the hidden backyard patio promises to be a favourite spot for sipping beers on a warm summer evening. With plans for 32 taps (21 craft beer plus 5 cider and 6 wine), owner Darren Ainsley points out that “the taps-per-square-foot ratio is really high!” The beer list promises to be diverse and eclectic — he hopes to bring in beers from some Mainland breweries that don’t typically distribute to the Island.
Ainsley moved to Victoria from Vancouver last fall with the express purpose of starting his own business. He spent the last decade working for an engineering firm, although he pointed out that he often conducted “research” for this project by frequenting the city’s many breweries and taprooms. He also brings 17 years of bartending and management experience at various restaurants and pubs in Vancouver and the Kootenays.
Refuge Tap Room promises to be a haven for craft beverage lovers with no TVs to distract from a meaningful conversation over a flight of BC craft beers, cider or a glass of wine. Or perhaps you’d prefer to sample Vancouver Island spirits? Ainsley plans to offer spirit flights accompanied by local craft mixers as well.
The food menu will focus on snacks mainly sourced from local providers: marinated olives from the deli next door, cheesy breadsticks, cured meats, salty snacks, and maybe some charcuterie. Refuge will even be offering a scotch egg, developed with the head chef from Choux Choux Charcuterie next door.
Want to know the best part? Victoria Beer Society members will receive 10% off all BC Craft Beer purchases at Refuge Tap Room just by showing their card. And together we’ll be hosting an exclusive Preview Night for Victoria Beer Society members only right before opening. If you’re a member, keep your eyes peeled for an invitation soon. If you’re not a member, visit victoriabeersociety.com to sign up today!