Addicted to novelty since 2001

The Elbow Room, A Vancouver Institution

On Tuesday, Jeremy and I are going to the Elbow Room for breakfast. I really dig bringing out-of-towners there, as it’s a particularly Vancouver experience. It’s a small breakfast diner in downtown Vancouver. When you enter, the first thing you’re struck by is the walls that are papered with 8 x 10 photos of celebrities.

The next thing you’re struck by is the rudeness of the wait staff. Led by the owner, a tiny, flamingly-gay Quebecois man, they specialize in vulgar abuse. It’s not a restaurant for the faint-hearted. My Irish friends who visited last year went back a couple times. I think it reminded them of their upbringing.

Matt is a new Vancouverite who recently visited the Elbow Room for the first time:

Interestingly, the effect is endearing, however. Unlike other establishments who harass their customers for fun (cf. Dick’s Last Resort), the mood here is less a formulaic kitschy stream of insults, and more like the kind of treatment you’d get eating breakfast with a sibling or a close friend. “What do you mean bring you some coffee? You can see I’ve got my hands full. You’ve got legs. . . .” Within minutes, strangers at tables next to each other were conversing, and having friendly honest discussions with the staff as well.

Good times. I hope we get Miss Alberta as our waitress. Maybe she’ll insult my manhood again.

3 Responses to “The Elbow Room, A Vancouver Institution”

  1. Bill Stilwell

    When Tom Waits was here last year he told a story about going there – he said he went because he’d heard you’d be treated poorly, but then ended up being treated well! He said he didn’t leave a tip.

    They even wrote it up in the Straight.

  2. Will Pate

    Boris and Andy did the same thing to me when I first arrived in Vancouver. I’ll never forget the exchange that went like this:

    Me: Um, I’ll have pancakes please.
    Server: Well what kind of f@cking pancakes do you want?
    Me: Uh, f@cking banana please.

    BTW, if the owner is the guy with the bald head, he told me later during the meal that he’s from New Brunswick.

  3. Lee LeFever

    Thanks for the tip at NV Darren, we checked it out before leaving on Sunday – good fun while having our share of smartass remarks hurled in our direction.

    I had to donate for not finishing the meal- I forgot.

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