The Churchill: the Quiet, Refined Alternative

August 15, 2014 by Nevin Thompson

As we await the launch of Category 12 this fall (they are busy renovating their new brewery space as we speak), we’d like to let you know about another entirely new addition to Tectoria’s thriving craft beer scene.

Our story starts with Garrick’s Head, one of Victoria’s most charming and authentic pubs.

As any Tectorian knows (or really ought to know), Garrick’s Head pub on Government Street is one of the oldest remaining English-style pubs in Canada.

Garrick’s Head dates back to 1867, when “Hanging Judge” Matthew Begbie imposed law and order on the bustling Gold Rush boom towns of BC from his law courts above Bastion Square.

Victoria’s largest selection of beer on tap

More recently, Garrick’s Head has been renovated, expanded and generally beautified, and now shows off the gorgeous red brick and exposed wooden beams that give Victoria its classic look.

Most importantly to anyone who loves beer, Garrick’s Head pub prides itself on maintaining Victoria’s largest selection of craft beers on tap.

With exclusive taps, one off casks and beer launch events, Garrick’s Head Pub is ground zero for craft beer enthusiasts in Victoria.

Its beautiful sister-pub The Churchill takes it up a notch.

The Churchill: quiet and refined, but still offering great beer

The Churchill, which just opened this past June in the Bedford Hotel next to Garrick’s Head, is the brainchild of Garrick’s Head general Manager Jay Nowak.

Nowak started out as a cook at Garrick’s Head in the late 90’s, and has since worked his way up in the world of Victoria’s innovative culinary scene.

By 2012, Jay had put Garrick’s Head Pub through a renovation, doubling the floor space and ratcheting up the beer lines to the current 55.

And he was just getting started.

When the Bedford Regency’s The Ledge closed in September 2013, Jay saw the unused liquor license as an opportunity to created quieter, slightly more upscale but casual spot.

He got to work, and created an intimate space for enjoying great beers, fine wines, and cocktails over a good meal.

The Churchill just opened in June 2014. Now, fifty new draft lines run down to the basement, where The Churchill’s original namesake, a seedy 1970s dive bar was once located. The basement is now The Churchill’s new taproom.

Amazing fact: there are no duplicate beers between Garrick’s Head and The Churchill.

The Churchill also serves beer brewed at Bay Street’s Moon Under Water brewpub, and a Vanilla Stout from local favourite Lighthouse Brewery.

The Churchill also features beer from Glutenberg, a Quebec brewery that makes nothing but 100% gluten-free beer.

Stave off malaria at The Churchill with local tonic

The Churchill also offers cocktails invented by Ryan Malcolm, part owner of local New Theatre Spirits.

New Theatre tonics contain real Peruvian cinchona bark, agave nectar, and loads of citrus. The DNA of the recipe dates back hundreds of years and is similar to what British sailors would have been drinking to stave off malaria.


Garrick’s Head anticipated Victoria’s appetite for craft beer and thus doubled the taps, eventually bumping the total number of lines to 55, with more to come!

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