Paddle over in a kayak, take your own boat or hop on the scheduled water taxi to the fun and lively atmosphere of the Dinghy Dock. This nautical themed pub is a short distance from the downtown harbour of Nanaimo, making it a favorite spot for locals and tourists. Sitting atop a dock attached to the shoreline of Protection Island, this is North America’s only floating marine pub.
Unless you have your own boat the only way to get to the Dinghy Dock pub is on the Protection Island ferry. The ride over to the island is just ten minutes, but it’s a scenic and enjoyable part of the unique experience. The ocean breeze is refreshing on a hot summer day.
Dining and having a pint of beer while watching the harbour activity of seaplanes, boats and ocean wildlife can not be beat. The pub offers one of the most spectacular views of Nanaimo’s harbour and waterfront as well as nearby Newcastle Island. As night falls you can watch the city lights of Nanaimo come to life.
The menu is a variety of typical pub fare and seafood options. The steak sandwiches are raved about. Try the signature dessert dish “Sex In A Dinghy” it’s very sweet, but delicious.
The legal age to sit in the pub and patio area is nineteen, there is a separate family friendly section as well. In the family seating there’s a fishing hole cut out in the floor. Kids can try their luck dangling a hook in hopes of catching a small minnow.
The pub supports a variety of local musicians and singers. On our last visit there was a funky band that played a diversified mix of covers and could manage to do almost any request the crowd threw at them.
There is live music every weekend during July, August and into September. Check the pubs schedule for special music events that are occasionally held on weekdays as well.
The pub is open from May through to mid October. It’s a popular place in the summer, the outside patio is packed. The interior space is kept pleasant with large garage style doors that opened to allow in fresh ocean air. There are lots of windows to take in the views as well.
The Protection Island Ferry leaves the Nanaimo boat basin behind the Port Place Shopping center at ten minutes past the hour. On busy summer days the schedule tends get erratic. If they continue to have full boat loads the ferry continuously runs people back and forth. It’s only a ten minute ride in each direction so you never have too long of a wait. The cost is $9 return trip for adults, $6 for children under 12 and $8 for seniors.
The Dinghy Dock has ample tie slips making it possible to arrive in your own boat. It’s also a popular kayaking destination. Large yachts anchor in the Nanaimo Harbour and arrive by dinghy, hence the pubs name. If you’re lucky you might even spot a celebrity having a pint or two.
Dinghy Dock Marine Pub
8 Pirates Lane
Nanaimo, BC V9R 6R1
If you have time during your visit to the pub, go for a stroll on Protection Island. It has a small population of friendly folks that get around the tiny island on golf carts! The entire place is like a pirate themed park with street names like Captain Morgan’s Boulevard and Pirates Lane.