Thursday, June 2, 2011

Upper Deck Sports Lounge

Address: 229 Gorge Rd
Phone: 250 383 8212
Price: ~ $10 an entree
Notes: Wacky crowd, but tons of events and amazing wings.

I Do Indeed Follow Them

The Upper Deck is admittedly one of those places that I wouldn't go to under most circumstances. No offense to any regulars (I know there are a lot...) but places outside of Downtown fall off my radar when I'm thinking of places to go. Plus, the decor is, um... (um is all you can really say). The regular crowd kind of represents the vibe of the place well - a mix of young and old that seems to all know each other somehow, or at least are regulars enough to be friendly. There seems to be something going on pretty much every night. Karaoke two nights a week, "ladies night" pole dancing, poker, live blues bands etc. It's actually not that hard to see how it has become a bit of a community hub. Also, all the servers are ridiculously good looking women.

I think the best way to explain the wackiness of this place is to describe the scene this Sunday, during karaoke. While being immensely entertained by a gray-haired man with mad rapping skillz sing a duet with a girl in her early 20s, I noticed Alfred had come in.  You might know Alfred. He's the guy who (two quote my partern-in-food-and-life [just about every time we see him]) "has been selling flowers and teddy bears at the bar as long I've been going there, and long before I'm sure!"  When they were finished, he placed his basket to the side and sang some classic crooner song, finished, passed the mic to the host and left while the audience was still cheering.

The one thing they do really well here is big sports events. I saw the Canadian Olympics Gold Medal game here, and they projected it onto a big pull-down screen as well as having it on several large screen tvs around the room. They even had a cheap (free? I can't remember) brunch buffet set up before the event started to encourage people to get their seats early.

I've had both the best and nearly the worst service here (I say nearly because I really hope that nothing will ever top the waitress at the Bent Mast whose rudeness left us near tears and but definitely in stunned silence the entire meal).

At their best, they are so busy that they have to wash your table's shot glasses between every round of drinks but still get the next set to you far too quickly for your metabolism to keep up, and you end up unable to text straight, leaving Canada Day before the fireworks only to find the photos on Facebook that involved pretending to pick your nose look way too realistic (not that I'm speaking from personal experience or anything... *ahem*).

At the worst, the bartender ends up being your server too, and you have to eat your burger without a top bun because they messed up your order and it takes way, way too long to get a replacement (admittedly, I think this was the Olympic Gold Medal night...). Or nothing you order is right and you have to remind her every time to bring you tickets with your drink to enter to win the jersey (on a hockey finals night). On a slower night, the waitress sings a karaoke duet and still gets you your order in a reasonable time.

June 1, 2011
The food here is surprisingly good. I've overheard the owner/manager guy talk about the menu and although he doesn't come across as the chef-iest guy ever he does clearly care about his food. He was talking about making special trips to the states just to get this one sauce because it's so amazing and he can't find anyone to import it.

Obviously this is pub food, not fine dining, but at around $10 an entree the value is there for sure. It won't be the best burger you've ever had, but it's certainly comparable to most and the fries are quite nice. The menu's one downfall is that it's incredibly small, but I think this helps their turn around to not be annoyingly long on the days when they are wall-to-wall people watching a sporting event or some such thing.

Hot Blue Wings via

The hot blue wings are amazing. Spicy and vinegary like Frank's Red Hot, with the blue-cheese flavouring built right into the sauce. To be honest, until I tried these wings I never liked them but now I'm hooked. I get wing cravings. I'm not joking.

At $8 these potato skins are great value! I think we had 10 skins... we couldn't even eat them all. They were pretty much just potato, cheese and a sprinkle of bacon bits with a dusting of parmesan and chives (I swear they used to be more fancy? different chef?). 

Vegetarian Pizza via

I ordered this because I had been envious of it the Canucks game previous when the girl sitting next to me ordered it - it smelled so good! A friend and I were splitting this and the potato skins but decided we wanted to order the vegetarian plus pepperoni - except they forgot to put the pepperoni in. They were nice enough to discount the pizza to compensate which was nice of them. 

April 23, 2011
Beef Taco Salad via

I do like the beef taco salad here, but skip the guacamole - it's $3 and really only about two TBSPs worth. I like the spices in the beef, and there's lots of salad and veggies underneath. The taco bowl is delicious too. Num!


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