When it comes to the holidays, Victoria’s game is on point. From the city’s dazzling lights display and Christmas themed teas to its gingerbread competition and musical performances, it’s a destination that will wrap you up in the holiday spirit.
But with all the exploring you’re likely to do when visiting Victoria (like a carriage ride!), you’re going to need a place to rest and refuel. If you ask me, the best place to do so during the holidays is a place that’s cozy.
Which is why I rounded up five of the coziest spots in the Victoria. From hearty comfort food and creative drinks to a jolly atmosphere and a crackling fire, these Victoria favs make you feel like you’re at home.
Garrick’s Head Pub
A local fixture since 1867, Garrick’s Head Pub is nestled in Victoria’s Bastion Square. It’s not the fanciest of joints. You won’t find properly clad ladies drinking tea from china cups. But if you’re looking for a spot to linger near a wood-burning fireplace, drink a pint, and nosh on some hearty pub food – Garrick’s Head Pub has your name written all over it.
I’m quite partial to the Poutine – a north of the border staple of beer-battered fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. And go a little crazy while you’re at it. Add the pulled pork. You won’t be disappointed.
Another Bastion Square favorite, Rebar’s menu is a different – though equally delicious – beast than what you’ll find at Garrick’s. With a focus on locally-sourced, sustainable food – Rebar’s menu is a seasonally inspired riot of colors. While the restaurant’s vibe is upbeat, service is slow enough to allow for a conversation.
I’m quite partial to their Monk’s Curry – a wok-fried veggie combo served in housemade green coconut-curry sauce. And, it’s hard to go wrong with their Huevos Rancheros – an egg, chili sauce, queso fresco extravaganza.
Four Mile Brew Pub
Just a 14-minute drive outside of Victoria’s downtown, Four Mile Brew Pub has been pouring pints for more than 100 years. A family-owned and operated joint, its Tudor-style home is the fourth oldest building in Victoria. (That makes it more than 150-years-old!) Here, you’ll find rustic décor accentuated by old leaded-glass windows and stunning fireplace.
Frequented by locals, the pub recently expanded their operation to include an on-site brewery. Crafting English-style beers with a Pacific Northwest twist, their brews offer full flavors, complex flavors. We’re partial to their Brown Ale – a luscious mix of chocolate and roasted barley.
Blue Fox Café
If you’re interested in eating like a local, Blue Fox Café is the place to go for brunch. You won’t find fancy place settings or waiters in neatly tucked button-down shirts. What you will find is a friendly smile and an impressive Eggs Benny selection (aka eggs Benedict).
A beloved classic in Victoria, Blue Fox does Benny’s right. Their eggs are runny. Their hollandaise sauce is rich without being overly butter heavy. Dishes come with a side of seasoned, pan fried potatoes. They are crispy, delightfully flavored starchy goodness.
Clive's Classic Lounge
For cozy with a healthy dose of refinement, Clive's Classic Lounge is a perfect choice. From crystal lighting and local artisan designed mirrors to large, high-backed chairs and a crackling fire, Clive's is ideal for an intimate date or a girls’ night out.
They’re well-known for their inventive combinations, so make sure to peruse their cocktail menu. I’m quite partial to the seasonal Smoke n’ Oaks – a sweet and smoky gin drink that finishes with an acidic twist of orange.