Review: Drink Urban Lounge

I’m always searching for licensed places in New Westminster to fulfill roles in my life. I hang out at the Heritage Grill with some regularity because I like live music. I have spent more than one evening at the Terminal Pub because I want to watch a game. I have stopped in at Frankie G’sRead More

I’m always searching for licensed places in New Westminster to fulfill roles in my life. I hang out at the Heritage Grill with some regularity because I like live music. I have spent more than one evening at the Terminal Pub because I want to watch a game. I have stopped in at Frankie G’s once or twice for trivia. My soccer team has been hitting the Dublin Castle after practices. And sometimes I want to go somewhere dark and quiet, with comfy chairs, a decent wine list, a pretty amazing bathroom, and a good nibbly menu. When I want that, I head to the Drink Urban Lounge.

The Drink Urban Lounge is owned by The Arbuthnot Group (TAG Pubs), which also owns a few other pubs including 57 Below at the New Westminster Skytrain Station. They bill the Drink as “a Yaletown bar in your backyard”. The decor is very swanky – lots of rich browns, blacks, stones, and metallics, as well as a number of different seating options – stools, tables with comfy wingback chairs, wide booths with tall tables and leather chairs centred around a stone gas fireplace. The bar itself is well-lit, and spans most of the length of the skinny establishment nestled at 609 Columbia Street, between the West Coast College of Massage Therapy and Starbucks. Parking is not great for the Drink – it’s attraction is the the rising demographic of young professionals who choose to live in downtown New Westminster, or elect to use transit and walk.

It’s nondescript from the street other than a neon orange sign and heavy wood doors, but indoors they achieve a nice mix of style and comfort. A special note about the bathrooms – I place a lot of weight on an establishment’s bathroom – paying attention to how clean and functional it is counts for a lot in my book. Doors that are broken, stall locks that don’t work, grimy taps, and overflowing garbages tell me a lot about a place and a lot about how management views their clients. The Drink features a lovely women’s washroom complete with gorgeous metallic paisley wallpaper, high quality hand soap, nice open pipe fixtures, and rich brown laminate flooring. Someone paid a lot of attention to the bathrooms, and I really appreciate it. My guy friends tell me that men’s washroom is equally nice.

The food menu is varied and well priced and features some fairly fun items like a platter of Tater Tots dressed up with dipping sauce for only $7.  Their wine selection is a good variety and some of their martinis are really imaginative. All menus feature seasonal changes. The bartenders seem to have a reasonable amount of skill and knowledge when it comes to making their drinks and small attentions to detail like glass selection and garnish selection make presentation higher quality. The wait staff are responsive and pleasant, and even where there have been snafu’s – they ran out of a favourite chocolate dessert called a Lava Cake once – they’ve been quick to fix it without prompting. In the case of the Chocolate Lava Cakes, they not only ran down to their sister bar at New Westminster Skytrain Station to get more, they also proactively removed them from our bill as a thank you for waiting.

All in all, the Drink is a great place for a small birthday party, a quiet drink with a date or friend, or a casual business meeting over a specialty coffee or glass of wine. While they play all the pro games and events, it’s not the sort of place that screams “sports bar”, and for that, I think it’s found a place in my roster of local haunts.

The Drink Urban Lounge is located at 609 Columbia Street. More info is on their website.

Jen Arbo

Jen Arbo is the editor and co-publisher of Tenth to the Fraser. She's been writing for the site since 2007 and lives in Sapperton with her family. A project manager at heart, she also operates Hyack Interactive, a digital communications company. Find her on Twitter or Instagram.

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  1. Well Thanks Jen, now everyone will want to be at my favourite lounge. I hope they keep my spot at the bar. Cheers!

  2. Drink has the best bathroom in New West. River Market is a close second with their quirky wall art and awesome kids' toilets.

  3. Comfortable Chairs too! I hope they can do something with that awesome courtyard next door. It has been unused behind that metal fence for a long while. I remember playing pool there when I was too young to… never mind.

  4. Gr8 post! My group is SUPER excited to be heading there on Feb23 for our monthly meetup. Now there’s all the more reason to check it out! Thx a bunch.

  5. I really like the drink here, but evertime I've gone we have had TERRIBLE service….which is why we usually stick to The Terminal, The Reach or Dublin Castle for drinks.
    Maybe we should give it another try…….

  6. When was the last time you were there, Megan? I noticed a staffing change about 2 months ago – I agree, there were some issues with service before.

  7. Okay, not to take too much away from the review, but the menu could use some more diversity. As a celiac, there is not too much here that I could eat. How about a rice bowl or two? And seriously, Tater Tots? Give me some yam fries. The River's Reach has by far the best pub menu in town.

    1. I’m with you Matt that the Reach has the best menu – absolutely. Don’t forget it was a restaurant with awesome food (Venus Place) before they got a new liquor license that allowed them to become a pub. Their location is great too. In fact, I think I need to do a review! My beef with the Reach is that seem to have the worst seating. I went the other night with a friend for a snack and a drink and we had to leave, there was nowhere to sit. There are no 2 person tables, so there was all sorts of 4 person tables with only 1 or 2 people sitting at them – lots of seats not being sat in, but not really welcoming for someone to join.

      And I guess I’m a sucker for the tater tots because there’s no way I’d buy them for the family but they’re a naughty treat when I’m out for a drink! 🙂

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