You can take your own beer, wine or other beverage most days to this venue in the Shipyards District. In the summer, however, there’s a beer garden on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (and you have to buy your drinks from them).
To learn about the North Shore’s other outdoor booze-friendly public spaces, see our article about North Vancouver Parks Where You Can Drink Alcohol. To learn more about the Cates Deck location, however, continue reading.
Alcohol-Friendly Cates Deck
If you’re looking for a nice waterfront view as you sip a beverage, then Cates Deck is a great place to visit. It’s in between Lonsdale Quay and the Polygon Gallery in North Vancouver. The actual deck is pretty simple. It’s a small to medium-sized wooden structure that sits over the water. It’s a fair size, although tiny compared to nearby Burrard Drydock Pier.
What makes Cates Deck more special than it seems is the fact that it’s one of the eight designated public spaces in the City of North Vancouver where you’re allowed to drink alcohol. There’s also a beer garden on the deck from Thursdays to Sundays in the summer.
NORTH SHORE CRAFT BEER
If you like craft beer, a great North Vancouver-based brewery is Deep Cove Brewers & Distillery. Its address is 2270 Dollarton Highway (so it’s about a 10 to 15-minute drive east of Lonsdale Quay and Cates Deck).
Deep Cover Brewers has exceptional beers as well as a great outdoor patio and indoor pub. They also have live music on weekends and give tours of their distillery (or at least they do when COVID-19 isn’t a problem).
They don’t serve Deep Cove beers at the Cates Deck Beer Garden in the summer, which is unfortunate, or at least they didn’t when we checked. They do, however, sell a variety of other North Shore-based craft beers which are also pretty good.
Rules for Alcohol on Cates Deck
Up until 2020 it was illegal to drink alcohol in outdoor public spaces apart from bar and restaurant patios. The only exception was during special events with licenses to sell adult beverages.
Because of the pandemic making it much harder to socialize indoors, the City of North Vancouver wanted to encourage safe, outdoor socialization. As a result, it declared eight different parks and plazas as designated drink-friendly areas.
This new policy was very popular when it ran from June to October in 2020. Consequently, it was made permanent. Cates Deck is now one of the eight sites on this list which means that it’s legal to consume alcohol there from 11:00 am to dusk every day. Since North Vancouver’s experiment, a number of other Lower Mainland municipalities have adopted similar policies.
Except for when the summer beer garden is operating, you can take your own booze. When the beer garden is open, however, if you want a drink you have to purchase your beverages from the vendor.
The deck has a number of tables and chairs to sit at. On beer garden days there are a few extra, and some (but not all) of them have umbrellas overhead. On beer garden days there is also live music at set times. Aside from that, the deck is completely open, so not much place for shade.
Cates Deck Beer Garden
During the summer the Cates Deck Beer Garden runs from Thursdays to Sundays. It operates between 4:00 pm and 10:00 pm on Thursdays and Fridays. On Saturdays and Sundays, meanwhile, it runs from 2:00 pm until 10:00 pm.
In 2021 the Cates Deck Beer Garden runs from July 1st until September 26th. On those days and during the above times, folk are only allowed to consume alcohol purchased at the beer garden.
If you have other brews you prefer, then make sure to go earlier in the day or on Mondays to Wednesdays during the summer. Alternatively, you can go to a different public space where alcohol is permitted, including in nearby Shipbuilders’ Square in the Shipyards or at Waterfront Park.
On a typical beer garden day you can expect there is a small truck or trailer parked in the corner of the deck serving all the drinks. There are also usually speakers playing music and sometimes live music performances as well.
You have to pay for your drinks when the beer garden is open, but admission to the venue is still free. Again, when there isn’t a beer garden or other special event, you can take your own beverages and consumer them between 11:00 am and dusk.
Note: To drink alcohol legally in British Columbia you have to be at least 19 years old. If and when you drink, do so responsibly!
Other articles that may be of interest include the following:
- North Vancouver’s Lower Lonsdale
- Best Places to Eat & Drink in North Vancouver
- Outdoor Recreation in Vancouver
- Vancouver on a Budget