EAT + DRINK
in the Valley by the Cliff
by Malcolm Yates
Valleycliffe is the southernmost residential neighbourhood in Squamish and the first you’ll find when driving up from Vancouver. By its name you can surmise two things: there is a valley and there is a cliff. But referring to the Stawamus Chief by so pedestrian a noun nearly does disservice to the monolith that towers so majestically over its population. And when that population desired a pub back in the late 70’s for congregating, the Cliffside Pub fit the bill, matching Valleycliffe in the self-evident place-naming department. But all things must change, whether by necessity or circumstance. And so The Cliffside went by the wayside, with it’s space lying fallow for over three years before that neighbourhood necessity could be filled. Enter The Backyard Tap and its proud owners, Jackie Sinfield and Phillip Vandenborre.
After opening a brewery in North Van six years earlier, Phillip was looking for something new. “I wanted to get back to a small community feel, and a friend encouraged me to check out this place in Squamish.” So they went for a drive, walked around Valleycliffe and were immediately struck by how profoundly beautiful it was. In observing the community at rest and at play Phillip knew he’d found what he was looking for. And while the space itself was dormant and a bit dated, the bones of the building, its structure & soul, were sound. And so they started renovating.
Fantastic fare at The Backyard Tap
“Our intent was to preserve as much as we could, but open up the spaces and let the light shine in.” In doing so, Phillip and Jackie were able to re-use nearly all of the original wood from the fencing, flooring and siding. “All these tables, these benches, all reclaimed wood,” says Phillip. “When we finished there was only a six and a twelve inch piece left!”
They opened with the blessing of the community and now, with just over a year under their belt, the Backyard Tap is thankful for the support Valleycliffe and indeed all of Squamish proper has given them. “They’ve been so welcoming, this place is amazing.”
Oh, and by the way, so is the food! I hate coming to the end of a piece without giving the foodies what they crave. I could, of course, try and describe the body’s automatic response to scrumptious stimulus, but really? You’re gonna have to come and sample for yourself. The Backyard Tap serves fantastic fare and my family feasted on the Carnitas Pork Tacos, one heckuvan American Cheeseburger, some Poutine and BC craft beer to wash it all down. And yes, when it comes to family, this place is certainly friendly. These guys have old school arcade games, Skee Ball, Hoop Shot and all manner of exciting stuff to pass the time with. So if you’re looking for the close community feel of a backyard party, The Backyard Tap is truly the place to be. See you there!
Postscript: In an effort to remain a community hub at a time when our community can't congregate, The Backyard is taking online orders from their fabulous kitchen and will perform contactless delivery throughout Valleycliffe, with eyes on expanding their reach in the near future. They're also selling hand sanitizer!
The Backyard Tap
1907 Maple Dr
Follow Malcolm Yates on Instagram @seatoskybeerguy