37 Years of Beers
Geoff Allan, general manager of the Bottlescrew Bill’s Pub in Victoria Park, has also been a resident of the community for close to 9 years. The 32-year-old community advocate, beer enthusiast and active bicycle commuter says not much has changed since the pub opened 37 years ago. Geoff’s parents, Colleen and Stuart Allan, opened Bottlescrew Bill’s and Buzzard’s on 1st Street to leave their corporate jobs in 1980. They said that they decided to open a business in Victoria Park as, at the time, it was an up-and-coming area for restaurants and businesses. Today, Bottlescrew Bill’s is run by Geoff and his sister Jenn, and remains a cozy, quirky, go-to place for “beer nerds” and anyone else looking to try out a beer from somewhere far across the globe.
Although there has been several changes to the menu over the years, some long-time customer favourites such as their oh-so-light-and-crispy fish and chips, and their mouth-watering butter chicken still remain today. As home of the original “Around the World in 80 Beers Passport,” Bottlescrew Bill’s sees many regular and returning customers who deem it their usual watering hole. Having started this legendary trend in 1987, the pub still carries on the tradition today for just $5 to get your own passport. Over 50,000 people have signed up to partake in this tradition over the years, with about 200 participants completing it each year. For each milestone (about every 20 beers or so), you receive some kind of prize, such as a complimentary beer or snack. An even more exciting prize awaits once you have completed the entire passport. For those who do not complete their passport, or that choose to decorate their passports with questionable drawings, a “Wall of Shame” is displayed at the back of the pub, decorated with their transgressions. This conversation piece always offers customers a good laugh.
Stuart and Collen have been known to stop in, often on a weekly basis, to enjoy a bite and a drink - while also casually checking out how the business is doing. Not surprisingly, they treat it as if it were one of their children. Geoff pointed out that some celebrities have even stopped in for a pint – Aerosmith, Metallica and Wayne Gretzky are just a few of the notables who have visited Bottlescrew Bill’s over the years. Even George Wendt, or more commonly known as Norm (from Cheers), has made an appearance.
Geoff explains that Victoria Park’s emerging foodie culture is growing steadily, and that has brought a lot of people to the area. Some of his own favourite Vic Park spots are Ten Foot Henry and Proof. An active cyclist, he no longer drives his vehicle to work, thanks to the new cycle tracks here in Vic Park. He even leaves his own vehicle at the pub, and only uses it for the errands that he requires carrying items in. As a member of the Victoria Park BIA Board of Directors, Geoff is an advocate on important community issues, and does his part in supporting the businesses in the neighbourhood that he calls home. In addition to his work in the community and with the pub, Geoff and the gang at Bottlescrew Bill’s recently launched a new meal program. “Bite Club” is a fresh menu aimed at enhancing health and wellness for on-the-go individuals. This is a dream come true for time-crunched meal-preppers, and will offer them a quick, delicious and healthy meal.
Stop by, say hi to Geoff and grab a spot on the patio to soak up some rays while enjoying something cold and crisp from the largest beer selection in town!