Swans Brewpub / Buckerfield Brewery

Swans Brewpub / Buckerfield BrewerySwans Brewpub / Buckerfield Brewery
Swans Brewpub / Buckerfield BrewerySwans Brewpub / Buckerfield Brewery
Brewery, Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

506 Pandora Ave
Victoria, British Columbia, V8W 1N6

(250) 361-3310 | map

View: Beers | Place Reviews | Events
Reviews: 22 | Ratings: 36
Photo of Sludgeman
4.01/5  rDev +0.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4

Visited on a Tuesday about 4pm. Almost the only one in the place. Sat on the partially enclosed patio on a beautiful day.

V - More pub than beer bar. A bit warn but clean and open. Probably a bit dark at night. Beneath a hotel. Located on a relatively busy street corner. Great people watching if you have a patio seat. 4.0

Qual - I had the biere de garde, which was great! 4.25

Ser - Friendly attentive and helpful. No issues. 3.75

SEL - A good variety. I had the biere de garde. Something for everyone from the swans selection but also an equal number of guest taps. 4.0

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Photo of LampertLand
3.63/5  rDev -8.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.5

Swans Brewpub on the corner of Bridge & Pandora in the heart of downtown , parking can be tough
the pub itself is nice , as is the new brewer and his beers ,
the drawback's service & food , both need to be updated

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Photo of bradybeer
4.55/5  rDev +14.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Nice spot to grab some pints. I mean imperial pints. Service was solid and food pretty darn good. Pulled pork poutine anyone? Was last here 18 years ago. Still rocking.

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Photo of N_E_Beer
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.5

Service a bit better than I thought, tasters were cool. beer is a bit un-carbonated for my liking on the whole but super location, some good specials, worth a visit.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.66/5  rDev -8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

easy to find spot in Central Victoria - very "airy" place on a nice spring afternoon. unfortunately the outside area requires a food purchase under BC law, and we werent eating (google Ulla, then go there, immediately). We saddled up at the small bar inside for a few beverages.

the atmosphere inside was pretty bland, which seems to be pretty standard in Victoria. it borrows from a lot of UK themes, which again, standard. The service was attentive, but rather normal. From the reading I did, seems like crappy loud music permeates this place after dark.

there was maybe 8 or 9 taps and they sell by the half-pint, pint and pitcher.

I really didnt have any expectations but found the Extra IPA to be quite good. The Cafe Fantastic double shot porter had a nice coffee flavour but was a bit watery.

It's a lot more convenient than Spinakkers and appears to be superior to Canoe, so if you're looking for a Victoria brewpub, this seems like the practical top choice.

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Photo of BashOnABike
4.3/5  rDev +8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5

Note: only inexpensive on Tuesdays and Wednesdays ($3.87 pints/$10.87 pitchers respectively)

This place had a decent atmosphere, live music daily during tourist season (summer) and great craft beer. None of us really tried the food, rather using the location for session drinking.

Sitting at the far back of the patio affords a beautiful view of the inner harbour and the pack-rusted Johnson St Bridge.

On weekends it gets pretty crowded. A more-or-less middle-aged clientele, but gets younger as the night wears on.

I recommend the Coconut Porter and Scotch Ale (8% abv)

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Photo of lespaulrocker
3.35/5  rDev -15.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Visited this brew-pub while on my honeymoon in Victoria. Pretty nice place.

A: Normal pub-like atmosphere. Nothing made it stand out. Patio area was nice.

Q: The food and the beer were great, the service was poor, but we'll get to that. Me and my wife tried different beers and food and everything was great.

S: We were in the pub around 2 P.M. and we were one of four tables. Even so it took 20 minutes for a waitress to finally wander over to us and get our drink orders, then another 15 to finally get our drinks, another 10 to place our food orders, then about 45 minutes after we asked for the bill to actually get the bill and pay. Really shoddy service. May have been an off day, but I wasn't impressed.

F: The food was good. The hot wings were tasty and my wife really enjoyed her sandwich. Nothing outstanding, but good nonetheless.

I would love to go back just to try more of the beers, and hopefully be able to try the oatmeal stout they were out of when I visited. But the service was awful and kept us from returning for the rest of our trip.

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Photo of CBA
3.58/5  rDev -10.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Spent a night in the hotel, and had drinks and some food downstairs. The bar and hotel in general has some great history, and the inside of the bar had a great vibe. Sat in the atrium with great street views, a must on a rare sunny day in Victoria. Food was decent (yam fries, and salmon skewers) - better than your average pub, the beer was good, with the Oatmeal Stout and Coffee Porter being tops. Service was weak, but I'd chalk it up to our server in particular. All in all would definitely go back, and would certainly recommend.

As an aside I'd also recommend staying here; large rooms with excellent views and located in an ideal neighbourhood for walking (i.e. 5 minutes from Spinnakers, great local stores and other restaurants).

*Goldorak's comments about the "looming disapprovingly" portrait of P.E.T. is spot on - too funny.

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Photo of ericj551
4.46/5  rDev +12.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5

We met some friends at Swans for a couple of beers. We got there a little after dinner time and it was busy, but there was room at the bar. The atmosphere was upscale, but still pub like. I had the IPA and thought it was quite good, nicely balanced with plenty of citrusy hop flavor. My girlfriend had the brown ale, which was also quite good. Next I had their oatmeal stout, which was a highlight for me. One of the best I have had. It was rich and creamy, and full flavored.

The service was okay, we got offered fresh pints whenever we were low, but when it was time to settle up, it took about 15 minutes of waiting to get our bill. It was busy, but frustrating to watch the bartenders fill multiple orders that came after we had asked for to settle up.

As the night went on, the place got a little more rowdy, and there was some live music. Overall it was a little on the pricey side, $6+ for beers, but they were full pints, and I'd say the beer was worth it.

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Photo of josiahschlender
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Swans Brew Pub is set in a cool old reconditioned building turned into hotel, brewery and pub. It reminds me of a McMenamins establishment where I'm at in Portland, only with better beer.

The pub area is updated with quality, classy touches that seem pretty new. It's located on a busy city corner downtown near the inner harbor, so it gets quite a bit of foot and vehicle traffic that seem to keep business hopping. Not the most crowded place I've been, but pretty bustling on a weekend evening.

Our waitress was attentive and friendly. She seemed to have a lot of tables to wait, yet never seemed to keep anyone waiting. A team of bus staff helped, as well.

Swans had a surprising number of beers on tap, more than a dozen, I think. A solid, well rounded lineup that covered most major brewing bases but didn't hit any home runs. I tried the strong Riley's Scotch Ale (good, very malty traditional beer), their seasonal Coconut Porter (very one-dimensional coconut, but good), Oatmeal Stout (solid, roasty, malty) and the Extra IPA (despite the menu description, it didn't mean extra hops, but a good balanced IPA).

The side room we sat in was fairly quiet and insulated from the noisier bar, which suited us. It even deadened much of the volume of the cover band that started playing halfway through our time. We heard a band playing there another evening when walking by... whether that's a pro or a con for you, it seems to be a frequent occurrence.

The only food I tried was the mixed yam and potato fries, which were good, but fairly expensive for what you get to this American... so went it with just about every place I went in Victoria. However, Swans seemed in line with the other establishments I visited.

Worth a stop if you're getting a feel for the beer part of the town in Victoria. If it were in my hometown, It probably wouldn't be my most often stop, but it would be regular on the rotation. Kind of interesting, somehow Swans ended up having the highest overall rating I gave after visiting and reviewing the three Victoria brewpubs, but I think I'd be more likely to visit Spinnakers or Canoe if I was a local. I guess the standout service and good selection is maybe what skewed the numbers.

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Photo of stagger
3.64/5  rDev -8.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

An odd room, attached to a hotel and feels like it. A curious mix of heritage character and anonymous transience. Not the most comfortable room, but it gets bumped up a point for the exceptional people-watching on the busy streetcorner: tourists, locals, and the dregs all mingle there - not to mention the other scenery: wildlife, aircraft, and bridge and nautical traffic.

Swans' beers are uneven, mostly pleasant-tasting but too attenuated - the IPA and the raspberry ale (I generally don't like fruit beers but this one is an exception) were full-flavoured and worth a taste or two. I'm glad the six-beer sampler was on offer.

Service was efficient and anonymous.

They have a beer store attached, where you can buy their offerings in bottles, plus a few other scattered BC micros.

I'll return for their two tasty brews - hey, you can't get them anywhere else - and for the unbeatable street show.

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Photo of mjbotsch
3.98/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I visited in July 2009. Located about a 10-to-15 minute walk from downtown Victoria one block away from Government Street. There is no tasting room in the brewery; instead the beers are served in the restaurant on the street corner, next to the hotel entrance. The dining room is large and didn't seem too crowded, even though we were there at lunch time. We sat in the glassed-in patio, which accommodates perhaps ten tables and catches a nice bit of sunlight.

The selection of beers was quite large (ten to fifteen) and all from their on-site microbrewery. Everything is served on-tap. We chose the flight of six samplers. Our server was friendly, informing us about the seasonal specials, and prompt though not too attentive. We ordered the mix of regular and sweet potato fries to accompany our beer, which came with a delicious dijonnaise dipping sauce and was attractively served in the Belgian style, in a cone.

In summary, Swan's is a pleasant and clean establishment for a sit-down meal and beer tasting. The beers were all good and a couple were excellent; I will certainly go back the next time I'm in Victoria.

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Photo of Goldorak
3.34/5  rDev -16.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

Interesting d├ęcor, to say the least. You feel almost in the lobby of an old art deco hotel. What really floored us was the large, looming painted portrait of Pierre-Elliott Trudeau not too far from the bar. With his haughty, condescending grin, I felt like he was staring straight at me, calling me a hotdog eater and telling to "foodoo-boodoo ma gang de tabarnak". Honest to God, it really fazed me. At least at the few other pubs we poked in on our quickie tour of Victoria, we had Lizzie the second's austere yet grandmotherly likeness welcoming us in. Thankfully we sat down at a table where I couldn't see him, so it didn't ruin it all for me. Other than that, the place was quite charming, along with the rest of the city for that matter. Decor was art-deco/old train station, I liked it. They were about to clear away our section to make room for the band, something not everyone likes in a brewpub, but I think it's great. What else...I found it strange to have the toilets protected by a code lock, but it wasn't the only pub I've been to on this trip that had this "feature". Service was prompt and I got my sampler tray quickly. Selections ranged from uninspired to somewhat interesting, with nothing really catching my eye, save perhaps the Scottish ale that had interesting smokiness to it. It stood out from the rest, but I had better. Didn't get to try any food either. But it was a fun place to visit in good company (certain former prime ministers excluded), if only for a few tasters.

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Photo of Voonder
3.78/5  rDev -5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

We were there early monday afternoon, so it wasn't that busy but still there were a few people.
I can't really say anything about atmosphere as we were at the patio (luckily patio was child friendly - the pub itself is no minors) but it looked just like a normal pub, nothing special.
Service was OK, nothing special, put promt and quite helpful. Again, it wasn't busy time at all. Food was great. Menu was nice, lots of variety, lots of dishes to choose from.
Beer was good too. I tried the Oatmel Stout and that was awesome, and the Extra IPA was alright too, I'm just not a huge fan of that style.
So overall it is a nice place and i would definately come back. They have pretty decent liquor store too.

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.96/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

We checked out Swans in the afternoon, and even then it was still fairly busy. Beautiful old rennovated heritage building on the corner of a busy intersection. The wood and ornaments within the bar are classy and well done, gives the whole place a comfortable and cozy feel to it. We sat in the L-shaped atrium on the outside of the building and watched the action happen and go by outside--great view and scenery.

A curious side-note: Swans is just up the street from some sort of drop-in centre, so if you sit in the atrium along Wharf you get to hear the screeching of tires and horns honking, plus intermittent screams and shrieks as random crackheads wander or run out right into traffic every 20 minutes or so.

Service was polite and professional, or at least our server was very friendly and accomodating. I had the most surreal encounter/conversation I've ever had with a server from another section who started out by shouting at my turned back, "Hey, pay attention to me!" Before that hadn't heard her over the din of the music and other patrons. What ensued I'll write off as just an acid flashback instead...

I sampled a few different pints (brown, stout and pale) and my friend went straight for the sampler option of 6 4 oz. glasses from their decent style selection. I found the beers I tried to be a bit mediocre for their styles, and for the most part on the watery side. Didn't get the opportunity to sample any food this time around, but I've heard from others that it is excellent.

Still, I was thoroughly content with the atmosphere of the pub, the beautiful decor, and sitting in the atrium on a pleasant sunny day, watching the citizens of Victoria bustle along their way, and witnessing the occasional wigged-out crackhead nearly getting mowed down by what was turning into rush hour traffic by that point.

I'm definitely planning on going back again, to sample a few more beers and give them a fair try, as well as to finally try the food. Definitely a place I'd love to spend an entire evening.

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Photo of CanuckRover
3.79/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

Really enjoyed my time in Victoria, a great beer city in Canada.

Fairly lively place on a Thursday evening, lots of young professionals around with a contingent of grey headed fellas sitting at the bar. A popular place.

Came for the beer and went straight for the samples. Tray of 6 for a very reasonable price. Mix and match among their stable of about a dozen beers (as I remember) most of which were available (written on board behind the bar). Beers were all pretty decent with some pretty good session ales.

Service was uninterested, felt like a bit of a nuisance. Left the place thoroughly sloshed.

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Photo of walshclimb
4/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

We sat in the greenhouse-like patio overlooking a nearby bridge and were fortunate to have a nice sunny day. The bar has lots of wood and a good pub feel. The patrons were a mix of locals and tourists on the weekend. The service was good, quick, and friendly. She even brought me a pen because I forgot mine. The only thing we ate was the poutine appetizer, which was very tasty with fresh potato fries, cheese, and gravy. If you haven't had this before, try it! They have a good selection of house brewed beers and a good menu. I would definitely recommend stopping by. We tried 3 of their beers on tap or cask, and they seemed a little watery but with good flavor.

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Photo of sockeye101
3.9/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Nice place that offers good food and great beer. Lots of wood and good decor, overall a nice inviting place. I was there on a Monday and it was obvious it was a place for locals to gather after work. I also happened to catch a day that they had all their beers cheaper so score one for me. I wish I would have done the 6 beer sampler they offered, but instead I had a pint of the oatmeal stout and the scottish ale. Service was good but not great, appetizers were good, beer was excellent. A must if you're in Victoria!

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Photo of Derek
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

It was an old granary/feed-store, and in the heart of the city, it was reportedly Victoria's ugly duckling. Once renovated, it became the beautiful Swan that it is today! It continues to store grain (most of which is barley).

I had lunch at the Brewpub, and dinner at the Wild Saffron restaurant. They offer 4 oz samples for a very reasonable price (at both places). It's too bad their not a little larger, perhaps 5 or 6 ounzes? The pub and restaurant both have a nice atmosphere.

The pub was quite busy, so service was a little slow. The food was quite good, and an excellent value. I had slow roasted pork, which came on a mound of mashed potatoes, and was surrounded by beans. The ample portion was more than enough (I didn't finish the potatoes).

We had dinner early in the week, so it wasn't very busy. Service was exceptional. We chatted with our waiter about traveling and beer. It was a little pricey, but still a good value (the food was really exceptional).

Their beer is good/better-than-average.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

All dark and dank wood, this brewpub means business. English style for sure and packed to the gills with great beer, great tunes, and great value! The atmosphere is killer. Dark wood, many rooms, and a killer jazz/blues band. Quality was great as well. the IPA is killer, as is the rasp ale, cider, and cask bitter. Selection is great as well. 8 hand pumps and 6 taps let you know what is going down. Service is fast and friendly, and the food looked and smelled great! Definateley one of the best in BC's Capital city!

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Photo of saskguy
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Michael Williams, the original owner passed away a couple years back. He donated the pub and his extensive art collection to the University of Victoria. Some of his art collection can be seen in the pub.

Swans has consistently made good beer over the years. My second favourite brewpub in Victoria for beer.

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Photo of jreitman
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Swans is a nice little brew pub in the swans hotel in downtown Victoria, BC. Live music is often playing on the weekends and can be loud, but sitting on their wonderful enclosed deck reduces the noise level quite a bit. I had their beer sampler initially and found all the beers to be quite nice. Food is the standard pub fare with a fair bit of seafood as well. The attached brewery/wine shop sells their pub brews in nicely labeled bottles for take out if desired. Worth checking out if you are in town.

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Swans Brewpub / Buckerfield Brewery in Victoria, BC, Canada
Brewery rating: 3.78 out of 5 with 290 ratings