Craft beer Market and Wicket Hall open in nostalgic venues
Victoria is a city well known for its downtown pub scene. Recently two new additions have popped up in familiar locations that students might be curious about.
I went to check them out, and here’s what you should know about the latest nightlife spots.
First I visited Craft Beer Market, a chain that took over the waterfront location of Canoe, the popular bar and live music scene that shut down a year ago. The exterior presentation was sleek, with fresh wood panels framing the welcoming front entrance and large patio windows.
What really wowed me about this spot was the redone interior. Among the wooden beams, you’ll find the brightly painted panels and neon signs Craft is known for. The old windows and patio space have been replaced with a large floor to ceiling view of the water. There is plenty of space and an abundance of seating.
Now onto the important things: food and drinks. While I only tried the Carnitas Tacos (which were fantastic), the menu has lots of variety, with standard bar food, salad bowls, and pizza. They also had several vegetarian options and a couple vegan dishes as well.
The drinks menu is also expansive. There are so many options, which are clearly organized into the type of beer that you prefer, whether it be lager or pale ale, blonde or dark. They have great representation with 110 taps of draft beer and a wide array of local and international beers. They even offer preselected flights, which rotate weekly. Apart from the beers, Craft offers some cocktails and highballs if that’s more your taste.
The thing that truly captured my attention was the atmosphere. Most of the staff were young adults who brought an energy and liveliness to the space. The building itself is spacious so you aren’t cramped. Likewise, there is a variety of seating arrangements, whether it’s for a date or a large group event (although I suggest making a reservation either way because the place is popular). The music selection fit the atmosphere, with a good mix of genres and the volume at the perfect level. Craft management also hinted at the possibility of hosting live music in the future. This is something to keep an eye on for those looking for a fun event on the weekend.
The second new venue is Wicket Hall. It takes over the space underneath the Sticky Wicket, which used to be Distrikt, a bumping night club that shut down during COVID. This new spot is similar, yet different from Distrikt.
The similarities include the interior, which has been refurbished but otherwise stayed mostly the same. The stage, dance floor, and bars are all in their respective spots (although they did get rid of a bar), and all the seating has stayed how it was prior to the pandemic.
Some of the differences include the ability to walk from the Sticky Wicket directly into Wicket Hall, which is convenient if you want to switch up the vibe from the two spots.
This is something I love, as the old walk in the winter between the Sticky Wicket and Distrikt was not fun, nor was waiting in line for both venues. The addition of a golf simulator also warrants some praise, as it looks like a private suite to book and hang out with friends while still having access to the club. It wasn’t open when I went, but keep your ears open for booking details.
Wicket Hall doesn’t have a food menu, but their drinks menu is quite robust, with plenty of options on top of the classics you would order anywhere else.
As for the atmosphere, it was very much like that of Upstairs, with a true dance club feel. They had live music in the form of a cover band at the beginning of the night, and then a DJ set ended the night. In my opinion, it’s a great spot if you want to have fun without being overly crowded on a dance floor, or if you want to meet new people (wink wink, nudge nudge).
In all, both venues have improved and are looking like great (re)additions to the downtown Victoria nightlife. The fact they are dissimilar from each other helps to add variety to the experience you can have in Victoria, and students should jump on the opportunity to visit these venues ASAP.