A halt for beer in Nanaimo

My mate Quinno likes real ale and runs an excellent blog detailing the pubs of Aberystwyth and the surrounding area. I will not attempt to imitate his efforts, but I am going to take a little time to discuss a pub I think he would enjoy.

Last night we came across Fibber Magees in Nanaimo. It has styled itself as an Irish pub and sure enough the obligatory Guinness was there, complemented by Kilkenny, Harp and Smithwicks. But to look at the branding is to sell the place short.

Fibber Magees

Fibber Magees, pictured from the railway side
Pic © David Connop Price

On entering, we found ourselves facing a bar crammed with pumps and beer taps. Flowing from them were brews from around Europe and Canada. Local favourites from Nanaimo’s own Longwood and Wolf breweries were joined by ales from Phillips in Victoria.

Pumps and taps line the bar at Fiber Magees

The sight of four clips on hand pumps advertising real ales from London-based Fullers momentarily transported me back across the Atlantic to an old Berkshire local, but I have not been in Canada long enough to feel the need for a taste of home. I settled instead for sampling a Wolf Red Brick IPA.

On the other taps, the Scots were represented by Innis and Gunn, while brews from Germany, Austria, Holland and Belgium made up the continental selection.

The pub has an interesting history. It is housed in Nanaimo’s train station on the E&N Railway. The station burned down in 2007 but a major fundraising drive has seen it rebuilt at a reported cost of $2.4million. That is a commendable effort.

Fibber Magees was fairly busy when we visited so it seems the ambition of restoring this landmark is coming to fruition successfully.


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