Lunch Pick: The Moon Under Water Pub

left: Stout-braised beef pie with a mixed green salad. right: Moon Under Water's house-brewed bottled beers. Photos by Elllie Shortt

We’re always looking for the next great neighbourhood pub, even if it’s not in our own neighbourhood. An inviting atmosphere, cold pints of beer and satisfying food always seem to be the perfect recipe for a good time with friends. And one of Victoria’s latest additions to the Pub scene, The Moon Under Water Brewpub, definitely has this coveted mix covered. Granted, its location amidst the industrial setting of Rock Bay doesn’t have so much of that homey neighbourhood feel, but its proximity to downtown and the up-and-coming Vic West-Songhees area makes for a convenient commute, and ample amounts of free parking provide an easy-going visit. If you decide to sample some of the delicious house-brewed seasonal ales made in their 10-hectoliter brewery, you’re welcome to leave your vehicle overnight without the worry of tickets or towing. But if you’re just coming in for a bite, you wont be left unsatisfied as their large house made menu boasts British favourites such as stout-braised beef pie or ploughmen’s feast – consisting of aged cheddar and blue cheeses, pickled onion, cranberry relish, hard-boiled egg, smoked sausage, fruit and fresh bread.


"Ploughmen’s Feast” consisting of aged cheddar & blue cheeses, pickled onion, cranberry relish, hard-boiled egg, smoked sausage, fruit & fresh bread

Moon Under Water first opened their doors in October 2010 and have since seen a steady stream of regulars and new faces. Having previously ran the Bowen Island Brewing Company, co-owners Don and Bonnie Bradley are veteran brewers and decided to combine their love of good beer and passion for great food in an environment rid of the common annoyances of loud music, blaring TV’s and slow service. Inspired by traditional British social houses, Moon Under Water offers English-style counter service with patrons ordering at the bar. The Bradley’s say that they “offer the best service in town because you serve yourself,” although you hardly feel abandoned with such attentive and caring staff. Upon reflecting on their business and the origins of their name, the Bradley’s refer to a 1946 essay written by George Orwell describing his ideal pub….


“My favourite public-house, the Moon Under Water, is only two minutes from a bus stop, but it is on a side-street, and drunks and rowdies never seem to find their way there, even on Saturday nights. Its clientele, though fairly large, consists mostly of “regulars” who occupy the same chair every evening and go there for conversation as much as for the beer…If you are asked why you favour a particular public-house, it would seem natural to put the beer first, but the thing that most appeals to me about the Moon Under Water is what people call its “atmosphere.”


The bar-front of the Moon Under Water Brewpub where you place your order, English-style

Looking to create “a little oasis in the middle of the Rock Bay Industrial area,” the Bradleys’ have succeeded in capturing a bit of that atmosphere described in Orwell’s quote. But more than just offering a bright, open, inviting and friendly environment, Moon Under Water also has the food and drinks to keep customers coming back. An abundance of space makes it an easy destination for large groups, while small nooks provide a great option for those looking for a more intimate experience. Board games and a pool table offer an entertaining accompaniment to your burgers and brew, and the above-mentioned English style of ordering at the counter means a no-fuss and relatively fast feast if you’re simply looking for a quick lunch fix. Above all, this true mom and pop business is all about customer satisfaction and will stop at nothing to make sure each patron is fully content.



The time: A quick 10-15 minutes from the time you walk up to the bar to when your food arrives at the table thanks to the English-style ordering system.


The cost: Anywhere from $5.95 for a cup of soup or fries to $14.95 for a light beer-battered two piece Pacific Cod and Kennebec fries. Beer is $3.50 for a 12oz half pint, true 20oz pints are $5.50 and a 64oz “Growler” is $10.50.


Hours: They’re only open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Saturday at the moment, but the Bradleys are hoping to expand their hours, and even talk of incorporating a Sunday brunch come summertime.


The Moon Under Water Pub: 350B Bay Street, Victoria BC, (250) 380-0706








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