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.