Highly-anticipated False Creek area brewpub Steel Toad is now open, its gleaming tanks comprising a space with over 300 seats while pouring up to 10 on-tap craft brews. Housed in the iconic red Opsal building on East 2nd Avenue, the revamped space historically housed heavy machinery, but is now home to live music, modern bistro fare, and a showpiece craft brewery.
Chef Robbie Robinson leads the kitchen, while head brewer Chris Charron oversees the grain-to-glass process in the brewery.
A Certified Cicerone, Chris has trained in all aspects of service, beer styles, culture, tasting, and food pairing. For Steel Toad’s taps, he’s fashioned a collection of traditional European and American beers, and will flex his creative prowess with a continuously rotating beer list. Thirsty guests will want to watch for unique new brews as Steel Toad proudly pours forgotten treasures while experimenting with traditional classics.
Chef Robbie Robinson trained at West under Chef David Hawksworth and Le Crocodile under Chef Michel Jacob. Chef Robbie also worked in some of London’s finest kitchens, among them Claridge’s, a Gordon Ramsay establishment boasting Michelin stars. At Steel Toad, Chef Robbie serves casual bistro favourites with locally-sourced ingredients, prepared with classic French technique. Each dish is thoughtfully created to complement Steel Toad’s roster of exclusive in-house brews.
Built in 1918 by Dominion Construction, the heritage building was originally a manufacturing site for Columbia Block and Tool Company, where craftsmen dubbed Steel Toads handled heavy machinery and worked blazing forges. For nearly a century, the building has been a neighbourhood landmark and a steadfast reminder of the city’s industrial history.
Sitting empty and inactive for over a decade, the Opsal structure was given new life when Steel Toad Brew Pub & Dining Hall founding partners Tim Charron, Hart Price, and John Saunders made it their mission to revitalize the building.
Over the course of five years, the building underwent a painstaking conservation effort. It was carefully disassembled; salvageable materials such as windows and the original lumber beams were restored off-site. When the restoration process was complete, the historic pieces were reassembled and reinforced with modern structural elements and design.
To fill Steel Toad’s 10 taps, head brewer Chris Charron relies heavily on his own experience and palate, leaving room for creative whims and seasonal inspiration. British pub classics and farmhouse ales are created true to tradition, and familiar styles are reinvented with modern updates. Future plans include barred aging, experimentation with wild yeasts, and herbal bittering outside the normal hop spectrum.
On the main floor dining hall, guests will experience Steel Toad’s lively bar atmosphere while enjoying a modern take on brewpub classics such as burgers, steak frites, mussels, and sandwiches. Original, signature thin crust pizzas fresh out of the forno oven are available late at night for eat-in or take-out.
In the upstairs dining room, guests can socialize in the comfortable space while enjoying an elevated dining menu.
Steel Toad is located at 97 East 2nd Avenue and is open seven days a week, with brunch on weekends, and live music every evening.
Photos from Steel Toad’s Instagram account. Interior photo courtesy of Steel Toad Brewpub.