We all know the Blarney Stone as the place 20 something guys go to pick up 19 year old girls. Go on a Friday or Saturday and it’s always packed to the brim with drunken revelers and a band playing the same set they started playing over twenty years ago. It’s a really good night if you’re in the mood. But why would you go there to relax?

Turns out it’s a pretty damn good place to do just that. This past Sunday I desperately wanted a cozy pub to end my week in. Unfortunately, many places in Gastown close early on Sunday, or simply don’t open. It came down to the Irish Heather or Blarney Stone. We decided to go for something different and headed to the Blarney Stone to see what it was like outside a peak period.

The place recently underwent renovations, and it’s much more open as a result. There’s a huge bar in the front, bringing the focus there. Winged armchairs throughout add to the British feel, and the place is just dark enough to feel intimate.

The best part? Mimosas, Caesars, and Irish coffees are only $3.50. All day. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. I don’t think I’ve seen such a cheap Irish coffee, and it was exactly what I was in the mood for. I also tried the squid. Anyone who’s been to the Blarney Stone is probably questioning my sanity right now, but it’s damn good. Tender, seasoned well, and not overly greasy.

Next time you’re in Gastown stop by for a cheap drink and soak in the atmosphere. It feels like an entirely different venue. If you see a brunette in the corner on her fourth Irish coffee, feel free to say hi. I have a feeling I’ll be spending a lot of time there this winter.

by Meghan Roberts