November 1st, 2013
Our favourite wine bar just got a cocktail facelift, and our heads are spinning.
Lauren Mote, a familiar face in the city’s mixologist scene and the co-proprietor of the exquisite bitters and extracts line, Bittered Sling, recently joined UVA as the bar manager. Mote’s innovative concoctions include the stiff-but-tasty Liberation ($15), a calvados, campari, and sherry mix that might just make your brain explode a little—in the good way. A refreshing Gin-Gin Donkey ($12) offers a bitter combination of gin, ginger wine, grapefruit, and sage. Chartreuse Milkshake ($12), a gin and chartreuse combo wins extra points for its inclusion of chocolate bits.
Our senses are truly thirsty. —Anya Georgijevic
900 Seymour St., Vancouver, 604-632-9560, www.uvawinebar.ca
October 9th, 2013
While we can all appreciate a night out crammed into a sweaty bar, these days we find ourselves choosing our venues based on whether there will be room for us to sit down.
The Emerald, a new Chinatown supper club, is making sure that everyone has a seat, and is encouraging us to park and get comfortable. With large tables best suited to groups, a spacious layout so you can’t hear your neighbour’s conversation, and a killer list of classic and modern cocktails (from $7), this is one spot you won’t want to leave. Featuring a menu full of Old Vegas inspired favourites (think Spaghetti and meatballs, Chicken Parmesan, and a homemade Peking Duck), they don’t take any bookings past 8 p.m. – because they expect you to stay.
And stay you will, because the booths are comfy, the lights are dimmed, the cocktails are delicious, and by 11 p.m. on a Saturday night, there’s no way you are giving up that seat. —Alexandra Suhner Isenberg
The Emerald, 555 Gore St., Vancouver, 604-559-8477, www.the-emerald.ca
P.S.: The Emerald also offer Vegas Style Breakfast Buffets which includes a Make Your Own Ceasar cart. We’re sold.
August 15th, 2013
It's called everything from Sin City to Adult Disneyland, but to us, Vegas is just a place to unwind with a 3-foot souvenir margarita.
Monster hotels may rule the Strip, but Palms Place has spacious, modern studios that feel more like an upscale condo than a cookie cutter hotel room. For a morning-after detox, try a steam bath at Drift Spa. From $100/night, www.palms.com/guestrooms/studio-suite
"Farm-to-table" isn't exactly synonymous in a city where high-end restaurants fly in fresh food twice a day, but Mario Batali's Otto does its best to source sustainably (even the Further hand soap in the washroom is green seal - it's made from glycerin distilled from kitchen grease).Try the deconstructed Insalata Tricolore topped with fresh anchovies ($8) and, if you are up for a classic Italian dish, the kitchen will be happy to whip you up a plate of pasta aglio et olio. www.ottopizzeria.com
All the bold-faced names (Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada) are well-represented, but we were so happy to discover the newly opened Sandro, a French brand that is contemporary, stylish and tres chic (not exactly the hallmarks of most stores in Caesars Palace). http://us.sandro-paris.com
No city in the world makes it easier to carouse the night away (no clocks, no windows, no problem). Spend the first part of the evening at 1Oak (where we spied Leonardo DiCaprio two tables away), which has open-format Top 40 and hip-hop, and spend the second part at the Hard Rock Cafe's recently reopened Body English, which transforms into an after-hours club at 4 a.m. Stay hydrated, and hope for a late checkout.
July 27th, 2012
In the summer, our choice of drink gets a little more adventurous (translation: we won’t turn down a blue cocktail so quickly).
So when we heard the buzz on Vancouver’s Parallel 49 Brewing Co., we decided to put our amateur cicerone skills to the test. (And the buzz in our office was quite loud, as one of the Parallel 49 owners is married to a VitaminDaily.com staffer.)
Its new East Van storefront has 1.89 litre growler bottles (incredibly popular on the Portland craft beer scene, but hard to find in Vancouver). At just $5 a jug/$10 a fill, it’s a cheap and eco-friendly way to stock up on beer for parties. The storefront also has samples straight from the tap, and a flat-screen TV with a live feed of the brewery on the other side of the wall. Look for three core brews (Hoparazzi IPL, Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale, and Old Boy classic ale) as well as a seasonal offering like summer Watermelon Wit.
And with your refillable growler, no more 99 bottles of beer on the wall (or in the recycling bin).
March 22nd, 2012
If the city never sleeps, why should you?
The only thing better than their paella? The live band that’s tucked amongst the tables. Oh, and the gentleman rolling cigars by hand. Cuba, 222 Thompson St., New York, 212-420-7878, www.cubanyc.com
Beauty and Essex
Walk through a pawn shop to a back door that opens up to a two-floored supper club serving modern Italian fare and creative cocktails. Beauty and Essex, 146 Essex St., New York, 212- 614-0146, www.beautyandessex.com
What’s more fun than belting out Journey tunes in a private room? Not much. Judging by the autographed head shots on the wall, Scarlett Johansson and Ed Westwick would agree. 196 Orchard St., New York, 212-777-0102, www.karaokeboho.com
Their food’s great, their atmosphere is convivial and with only three choices – good, decent and cheap – they’ve got the city’s best wine list for dummies. Schiller’s, 131 Rivington St., New York, 212-260-4555, www.schillersny.com — Kelsey Dundon
January 12th, 2011
If you’re aiming to put yourself out there more this year (or just looking for another guilty pleasure), let us introduce you to your new nightlife gurus.
“SA” and “WT” are two anonymous Vancouver gals kissing and telling, with a few life lessons thrown in, on the blog Tales From A Bar Stool. Every week they recount their real run-ins with men, and provide take-away tips for both sexes looking to better their bar game, like “Give everything a second chance, but never a third.”
Even if you aren’t on the market, it’s a juicy read.
November 16th, 2010
The Waldorf Hotel has an iconic history and, with a team of Vancouver’s most creative heading up its modern-day incarnation, a bright future too. Post grand tour, cool things that make this Tiki-themed spot tops:
1. A fully refurbished ground floor café and restaurant that retains the space’s original 1950s South Pacific splendor with croc-covered bar stools, bamboo chairs and plenty of curves. Let’s just say if the Rat Pack were still with us they’d fit right in.
2. Spanish- and Latin-inspired brunch, lunch and dinner menus dreamt up by restaurateur Ernesto Gomez of Nuba and star chef Ned Bell, plus a wine list put together by sommelier Kurtis Kolt formerly of Salt Tasting Room.
3. A Tiki bar to take you back in time replete with palm trees, starry ceiling, Edgar Leeteg velvet paintings and an analog music set-up with a curated collection of vinyl records and rotating roster of DJs.
4. Satellite Barbarella Hair Saloon on-site for those who decide a little chop and change is in order between cocktails.
5. A monthly vintage sale stocked with finds from savvy stylists and pro-pickers.
6. Come December, a gift shop of necessities and curios sourced by former mistress of Mr. Lee’s General Store & Haberdashery, artist Meghan Paterson.
7. Well-priced suites ($110-$140) with hand-rendered room numbers and 1950s styling in keeping with the theme.
8. Downstairs, a nightclub-cum-cabaret that will host all kinds of live acts.
9. A licensed outdoor patio and event space slated to open in the summer.
10. We could easily list another 10 cool details, but we’ve run out of room.
The Waldorf Hotel, 1489 E. Hastings St., Vancouver, 604-253-7141, www.waldorfhotel.com
July 6th, 2010
Vitamin Daily Vancouver reader Kristy wrote, “Hi! I would love your advice on some venues for my friend's stagette in Vancouver. Dinner and dancing, classy and fun but not over-the-top expensive. Thanks!”
Herewith, our picks for a special stagette sans Chippendales and heavy spending:
Keep the party all in one place at Calabash on the edge of Gastown. Dine upstairs on Caribbean fare then move your crew downstairs to its subterranean lounge for cocktails and cutting a rug. Pose for photos in the old elevator car situated conveniently close to the dance floor and DJ booth.
In Chinatown, three hip haunts are all within stiletto distance. Start with supper at Chinese brasserie Bao Bei, followed-up with a post-dinner drink at the Keefer Bar to really loosen your dance legs for a finish at Fortune Sound Club.
Do it a little differently on Commercial Drive by taking an evening Burlesque, Bollywood or Salsa class with the girls at Drive Dance Centre then head up the street to Havana for Nuevo Latino cuisine and pitchers of fresh strawberry mojito.
June 17th, 2010
A night at the club isn’t the only way to have a wild time.
Trade the dance floor for Friday Night Live at the Hastings Racecourse. The summer event lets you sip ciders while watching the sun set and place bets on thoroughbreds (the filly and fella varieties). Between races, there’s a disc jockey on the tarmac who spins to keep the giddy-up on track.
Reserve you and your entourage a box ($20, seats six) so you can properly kick up your heels and horse around.
Friday Night Live at Hastings Racecourse runs until September 17 (races start at 7 p.m.), 3475 Hastings St. E., Vancouver, 604-254-1631, www.hastingsracecourse.com
May 14th, 2010
The devil on one shoulder is coaxing us to stay out late again while the angel on the other begs us to stay in and play Scrabble.
At new Gastown joint Guilt & Company, we can satisfy our angels and demons. Situated in the brick underbelly of Chill Winston, the bar and live venue serves up boozy drinks and classic board games into the wee hours.
Check out their free comedy nights on Wednesdays (while you play chess) and order yourself a “Lying Eyes” cocktail ($12), which comes with a Polaroid picture of you and your crew.
And if Trouble is what you’re looking for, they’ve got that game too.
Guilt & Company, 1 Alexander St. (downstairs), Vancouver, 604-288-1704, www.guiltandcompany.com