South Main

July 18, 2011

| Shops | Visit | Households


Click here or above for an interactive Google Map.



1. The former Aurora Bistro is now Wallflower Modern Diner, a comfortable, modern space that serves hearty breakfasts until 3 p.m., when it makes that crucial transition to classic comfort foods and cheap cocktails for dinner. 2420 Main St., 604-568-7554.

2. At The Cascade Room classic cocktails like the Rusty Nail and the Manhattan are elevated by fresh, top-quality ingredients and served in a stylish, blessedly unself-conscious atmosphere. On Mondays, the lounge plays host to a British pub-style quiz night. Registration opens at 6 p.m., the quiz starts at 7 p.m., and all proceeds go to charity. 2616 Main St., 604-709-8650.

3. Liberty Bakery is a pleasant, old-fashioned bakery with battered farmhouse chairs and flaky pastries, custards, and tarts. Come lunch, the lineup for its wholesome sandwiches and soups snakes up the narrow staircase. 3699 Main St., 604-709-9999

4. Gene is quintessential Main: a pie slice of a minimalist café wedged between Kingsway and Main—and packed with hipsters and their MacBooks. 2404 Main St., 604-568-5501 

5. Crave: Chef Wayne Martin has struck gold with his refined, satisfying plates served by friendly wait staff in an intimate room and, come summer, in the sunny back courtyard. At dinner, the steak frites with truffle-Parmesan fries is a local favourite ($24); at weekend brunch, it’s all about the buttermilk pancakes and the Bennys. 3941 Main St., 604-872-3663

6. Inspired by Lebanese roadside cafés of the 1970s, Cafe Nuba is a vintage souk-side diner complete with brick lattice, pink celluloid chairs, and old-fashioned number placards for orders. We love Najib’s special crispy cauliflower tossed with lemon and tahini. Add a deluxe pita with creamy baba, feta, and paprika chicken. Finish with a murky Turkish coffee. 146 E. Third Ave., 604-568-6727.

7. The Vancouver-based mini chain JJ Bean is at its best in the hipster heart of South Main. The unique interior mixes retro midcentury mod with industrial appeal, while the menu consists of the much-loved basics: house-roasted JJ blend espresso and plump vegan muffins. People-watch to your heart’s content as the slick hoodsters come, camp out, and go. 3010 Main St., 604-879-2326.



1. Eugene Choo has long been a favourite of the fashionable for its beautifully curated collection of men and women’s clothing and accessories. Some labels are local; many are imports: look for the latest offerings from Dunderdon, and the tried-and-true sailcloth messenger bags from Red Flag. The wooden artwork and mirrors from Henderson Dry Goods are striking, too. 3683 Main St., 604-873-8874.

2. Rags & Dishes snaps up last season’s kitchen linens, tablecloths, and throw cushions from lines like Danica and April Cornell, and sells them at deeply discounted prices. It’s the perfect place to stock up or snag a thrifty housewarming gift. 4213 Main St., 604-879-2592

3. Let’s not mince words: Vancouver Special is our newest obsession. High design (Tivoli radios, Phaidon coffee-table books, quilted Hay throws) complements affordable art like vintage posters brought over from Copenhagen and limited-edition photography. Closed Mondays. 3612 Main St., 604-568-3673.

4. Sentimental Luddites come to The Regional Assembly of Text for handprinted notecards and stationery. The writing slates are worthy of Anne Shirley. 3934 Main St., 604-877-2247.

5. Find vintage toys, old schoolroom maps, and furniture and art that veer toward the quirky at Baker’s Dozen Antiques. 3520 Main St., 604-879-3348

6. Stylish skin-flints come to Front and Company for well-edited consignment (see the racks of designer-label denim) and new wardrobe staples like Hue tights and Alternative Apparel tees. 3772 Main St., 604-879-8431.

7. Twigg&hottie: Sustainably minded Canadian designers are the focus here, and the line of organic-cotton dresses and silk Modal tunics by Vancouver’s Nicole Bridger (she developed Lululemon’s ecofriendly sib, Oqoqo) makes going green effortless. There’s also a good selection of Contexture Design’s popular wood-laminate cuffs and accessories. 3671 Main St., 604-879-8595

8. Sisters Lauren and Cara Stryer opened Vincent Park in December 2008, bringing spare modern labels like Cheap Monday and Alternative Apparel to a former antique store. Feather-light jewellery by Dogeared is a highlight. 4278 Main St., 604-879-6665.

9. Main’s swelling population of young and oh-so-cool families stop by The Archetype. The boutique goes after small labels that offer avant but affordable prints, and the frock selection reflects this. Dads come for the denim and reworked leather jackets. For babes, the selection of edgy onesies is nothing to sniff at. 2549 Main St., 604-872-1144.

10. Lark is a mecca for Main’s savvy dressers. Sure, the posh boutique carries lots of labels—macs by Barbour, suiting by Malene Birger, bow ties by Alexander Olch plus instruction on how to tie them—but the trendsters are drawn to the total Lark aesthetic curated by passionate staff and displayed installation-style. 2315 Main St., 604-879-5275.

11. F as in Frank stocks vintage snapback hats, Ray-Bans, a killer Polo collection, and a sea of Levi’s cut offs. Given that the owners sort through over 100,000 pounds of clothing a day, it’s no wonder that they also wholesale their awe-inspiring “top shelf” inventory of garments to high-street retail monsters like Urban Outfitters, along with renting it out by the piece to us little guys. 2425 Main St., 604-568-5130.

12. Cathie Jung, Guinness World Record holder for smallest waist, flies to Vancouver to visit the peachy boudoir of Melanie Talkington, the corset maker and owner of Lace Embrace Atelier. Talkington recently made a splash when she created the costumes for the 2011 film Sucker Punch. 219 E. 16th Ave., 604 737-1119.

13. Main Street is home to a number of fashion-forward boutiques, many featuring local designers. The majority are clustered in the 3600 and 3700 blocks—and quality and price points vary—but it’s a great place to scout up-and-coming talent. Look for: Narcissist (, Life of Riley, Hum Clothing (, The Lip Lounge (, Lushuz (, Umeboshi (, Smoking Lily (, Lazy Susan’s, G-Girl Fashion, and HP3


 21. Blim, a Chinatown arts-and-crafts collective, runs a monthly Main Street market with over 60 vendors to browse plus tunes, good eats, and plenty of artists on hand to help nurture your creativity through crafty activity. 115 E. Pender St., 604-872-8180.

22. Local starchitect Bing Thom’s flower-like Sunset Community Centre features a restrained West Coast palette of concrete, glass, and wood, and is topped by a dramatically curved roof. The indoor ice rink and basketball courts offer year-round fun for families. 6810 Main St., 604-718-6505.




Get the Newsletter

Own your city with Vancouver’s thrice-weekly scoop on the latest restaurant news, must-shop hotspots and can’t miss events. Rest assured your email is safe with us.