By Patrick Thompson

This little hidden gem (and I do mean hidden—the door to the place is around the southern side of the building and not well marked) is exactly what you would want from a place that is hard to find: looks made up on the fly, a great underground feel without being underground, and a stock of beer that you can’t find anywhere else in Thunder Bay, with names like “Valley Girl” and “Vanilla Chai.”

The Vanilla Chai seemed a favorite with the crowd on hand: a hint of chai in a dark beer that sets the tongue on notice for a vanilla kicker soon to come. Owner Kerry Berlinquette comes by the tables to make sure you have the best information at hand when selecting a brew from her selection of crafts on tap, and I am sure this helped many of the Vanilla Chai drinkers feel confident about their choice long before it arrived. And with good reason, as the brews—including Muskoka Brewery’s selections (like a cream ale that is to die for) that should be shipping this week, and a beer called Naughty Neighbor from Nickelbrook that Berlinquette says is the “best, yummiest brew ever”—are hard to get up to Thunder Bay. Brews like these have every right to be chatted up by the friendly and companionable owner.

Non-beer drinkers are welcome too, with a full bar that complements the eats they have in store. The pita chip nachos are far superior to any pita chip dishes I have ever tasted, with the chips made light and seasoned to taste good even without the delicious toppings that accompany them.

So if you are heading down, remember to look a little harder than you normally would. It is worth keeping the pleasures inside secret a little longer.

Breakwater Taphouse
2212 Sleeping Giant Parkway