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Gastro Awesome: Drinkwaters Public House

What do you get when you mix together one of British Columbia’s most beautiful lakes, a stellar patio view of Mount Arrowsmith, & Executive Chef AJ Jackson? Three Words.



The Drinkwaters Public House is located on the edge of beautiful Sproat lake and housed inside the boutique hotel at Sproat Lake Landing. LBH had the opportunity last week to visit the magically located east facing patio. We chatted enthusiastically  with our server Dan and had the opportunity to experience some farm to table offerings. Chef Jackson has coined his style at Drinkwaters as having a “rustic focus” which aims to highlight the relationship between Chef’s kitchen and the local food growers and suppliers.

We were not disappointed.


Drinkwaters Public House is dedicated to sourcing the best of the seasonal bounty that the Alberni Valley and the surrounding farmlands offer. “We believe in working closely with local growers and suppliers so that our culinary experience will be a passage through our region and through our seasons,” says Jeff Stephenson, president of Sproat Lake Landing.

LBH: This is something that has been missing from the valley in my opinion. I straddle west-coast living with a business in Gastown, Vancouver. I have never thought I should compromise the quality of my dining experience because I am on the island, and now with the opening of Drinkwaters Public House – I don’t have to.


Chef Jackson has refined his approach to farm to table, rustic focused cuisine. Chef Jackson grew up in Powell River, entering the culinary world as a cook as a teenager then moved to Vancouver where he honed his cooking skills the Capilano Golf & Country Club, the Ocean Club and Darby’s Public House. (One of the best rooftop patio’s in Kits!)

“I think the story of Sproat Lake and the Alberni Valley will shine through in our dishes,” says Chef Jackson. “Driving around the region, you quickly notice the abundance of fields and realize that we’re lucky to have so many local producers at our doorstep. By working with these producers, our food remains as close to the farm as possible, and I’m excited to share this with our guests.”


The notable mentions; we love a couple things in a dining experience. First a connected and engaging staff. If I don’t feel like I belong there and always have – chances are, I won’t come back. When I walk in and you learn my name, you ask me questions in order to achieve that point of connection… I am instantly at home. Let’s let the experience begin. Dan, our server was charming and knowledgable about the restaurant, the surroundings and the wine. He was able to recommend for us several tapas and paired our wine beautifully.


I was exceedingly happy with the HERB CRUSTED ALBACORE TUNA it was a lightly seared, with a citrus marinated vegetable salad, and an avocado & cilantro cream $12

Everything on both the food and wine menu are priced well.

My only criticism of the day was the CHARCUTERIE & CHEESE BOARD. I was slightly disappointed in the selection of cheese. As a share plate, there were only two selections and they were quite small. I prefer three and would pay a bit more to have that; as well the quality of the cheese was disappointing, a bit too generic. It was priced well however and the pickled vegetables were an interesting accompaniment.


I imagine that we will be frequent customers while spending time on the island. Beyond having the most beautiful wine bar on the west coast, a patio view that is beyond stunning, a chef that is inspiring and enthusiastic, there is one more thing I wanted to share…

Come out, grab a drink, have some food and then spend the day enjoying the property and lake. As a recreation destination, Sproat Lake is hard to beat. Calm, clear waters whose summertime temperatures linger around 21˚C are ideal for swimming, fishing, water-skiing and wake-boarding, canoeing and kayaking, and when the warm Alberni Valley is blowing, windsurfing.

Thousands of acres of ancient wilderness surround Sproat Lake – a sprawling expanse of mossy mountain forests just perfect for hiking (from easy walking to challenging climbs), mountain biking, hunting, ATV adventures and, come winter time, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.

L A K E  T O U R S

Enjoy a 90 minue Lake tour on the iconic Drinkwater IV tugboat – one of the most relaxing ways to take in the natural beauty of Sproat Lake. Departure times: 10 am and 2 pm. Excursion rates: $45 per guest. Tugboat seats 6. Contact Captain Jeff at: +1-250-723-2722 for tour departures and cost.



Located on Vancouver Island, Sproat Lake Landing is truly in the ‘middle of everywhere’ and was designed to showcase lakeside life for residents, regional visitors, and those travelling across mid-Vancouver Island. The seven-acre development includes Drinkwaters Public House, Della’s Café, the seven-room Sproat Lake Inn, a dock with 20 slips for boaters, and a liquor store. Sproat Lake Landing is situated at the northeast side of one of Vancouver Island’s largest networks of lakes, just off Highway 4 – approximately 15 minutes west of nearby Port Alberni, BC. The property offers an experience that is similar to the warm, relaxing lake setting found in the Muskoka region of Canada and the Adirondacks in the United States. For more information, visit

10965 Lakeshore Road, Port Alberni BC V9Y 8Z8 
Hours: Monday – Friday 11 am - 11 pm
 Saturday & Sunday 9 am - 11 pm
 Brunch 9 am - 2 pm Weekends & Holidays
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