The Winking Judge

The Winking Judge Pub

888 Burrard (at the corner of Smithe), Vancouver



The decor at the Winking Judge might be a muddled mash up of leather and mirror balls, but the service and food help make up for their interior design faux pas. This little pub is warm and friendly – perfect for an after work drink and some rich hearty eats. 

Once we’d sat down, ordered the beer, and opened our menus, our mouths began to water. Though the food is fairly standard pub fare — there’s something more to it at the Winking Judge. The menu has quite the variety: from the Broccoli and Stilton soup ($6), to the Mediterranean vegetable tartlet ($11) and the Sherry trifle ($6) — everything on the menu looks tantalizing. 

As for the appetizers, the nachos ($10) are huge and tasty with loads of cheese, guacamole, salsa and sour cream piled on. The fries are huge and perfectly crisp. The calamari…is…well, chewy and not worth the $9. For the mains, we ordered the Tower of Yorkshire ($12) and the Spanish Armada ($12). Though the food came at different times – that wasn’t exactly a bad thing. The Yorkshire was ready in under 10 minutes and it was quite good. The pudding was flat and crispy — like a Yorkshire tortilla and it was piled high carrots cooked to the point of sweetness, a mountain of mashed potatoes rich with thick buttery goodness, and marinated roast beef. Though the meat was a little tough and overcooked – it was still acceptable. The Spanish Armada was also decent – the penne is served in a creamy tomato sauce that’s filled with spicy sausage and covered with grated parmesan.

The Winking Judge was obviously thrown together quickly; however, the food servings are affordable and very generous, so I say go if you’re walking by in the rain, because it’s really decent all-around. With the exception of the bathrooms*. 

*End note: I have been to the Winking Judge several times now; and let me tell you — the bathroom experience is always unpleasant. Something unsavory will occur: perhaps no paper towel, no soap, no toilet paper, a urine soaked floor or some combination of the above mentioned. 

Open: 11am -2am daily

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Perfect pairing:

T-Rex – Electric warrior

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1 Response to The Winking Judge

  1. Vincent Joseph says:

    This is a great little pub. The bartenders know what they’re doing, and there’s a good selection of domestic and import beers. I’m often there on Tuesday to catch their Guinness special, and it’s always poured perfectly, unlike most places in this city.

    The food is decent, the portions generous, and the prices reasonable.

    It’s also a good place to meet new people — both locals and out-of-towners — since there’s a hotel and a movie theater nearby.

    Definitely worth checking out!

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