Archive for the 'Style' Category

The Best Places in Vancouver to Grab a Drink or Glass of Wine

With the 2010 Winter Olympics coming to town (starting next week), I though I’d mention a few of my favourite places in Vancouver to grab a drink. I’m not going to bother breaking it down by neighbourhood; there are others already doing that. Instead, I’m just going to list out the wine bars and restaurants that get my drinking dollars on a regular basis. Let’s get down to it:

Uva Wine Bar
This is pretty close to where I live, so I like to head over there when I just want to get out of the apartment and have a glass of wine. Sommelier and manager (?) Sebastien Le Goff does a great job of choosing wines – mostly Italian and well-priced – and the food menu is great for nibbles and mains, which are available from the neighbouring Cibo Trattoria‘s menu.

900 Seymour Street in the Moda Hotel Vancouver – (604) 632-9560

Salt Tasting Room
To me, this was the first wine bar to hit a badly needed sweet spot in this city – great wines by the glass/bottle paired with well-chosen charcuterie. As they say on their site, “Salt is a tasting room specializing in artisinal cheese, small-batch cured meats, and a dynamic array of wines, beers and Sherries.” It’s definitely worth the quick jaunt down the still-sketchy Blood Alley and is next-door to the soon-to-open (early March) Judas Goat Taberna, which is also owned by Gastown über-entrepreneur Sean Heather (who also owns the Irish Heather – next up in my list).

45 Blood Alley, Vancouver – (604) 633-1912

The Irish Heather GastroPub
There’s something that draws me to this place. When I lived in the Gastown area, this was my go-to bar in which to grab a pint (or 4). They’ve since moved across the street, but still pour Vancouver’s finest pint of Guinness and have improved both their menu and wine list. With Shebeen Whiskey House, Vancouver’s largest selection of Single Malt, Bourbon, Rye, Scotch and Irish Whiskies, through the back, this is a great place to spend your evening.

210 Carrall Street, Vancouver, BC – (604) 688-9779

Pourhouse Restaurant
This hotly anticipated restaurant and bar opened back in September (I think) and hasn’t missed a beat since. The location on Gastown’s tourist strip should guarantee they’ll have a lineup out the door into March. Don’t let that keep you away though. Co-owner Jay Jones and his posse of talented mixologists turn out some of Vancouver’s finest cocktails along with a decent wine list and a few great beers on tap. Chris Irving dishes a solid food lineup from his kitchen as well. I look forward to my visits there. So should you.

162 Water Street, Vancouver – (604) 568-7022

Au Petit Chavignol
This wine bar/charcuterie/restaurant is owned by local cheese Gods, Les Amis du Fromage (super-ugly web site alert) and their influence shows on the menu. The wine list has a bit of a Riesling bent, but that’s a good thing. They also have a rotating selection of wines from around the globe. If you like wine and cheese, make sure to check it out. It’s fantastic.

843 East Hastings Street, Vancouver – (604) 255-4218

The Alibi Room
This is without a doubt my favourite spot in town to grab a pint of beer. It’s another place at which I was a regular while I was living in Gastown… until both the food and service started to suck. Fortunately, in 2006 new owners Raya Audet and Nigel Springthorpe took over and rejuvenated the place with the bar focusing on well-made craft beers, most of which are on tap. The have rotating cask-aged ales from various brewers on tap that are a real treat for anyone who loves a good brew. The menu has also seen a makeover and shows much improvement over past efforts. I had a buffalo meat “Sloppy Joe” there last week that was really tasty.

157 Alexander Street (at Main Street), Vancouver – (604) 623-3383

The Diamond
This is another room where the focus is on the cocktails, rather than the glass of wine or beer – though they have those as well. Mark Brand (who also co-owns Boneta), ex-Chambar bar manager Josh Pape, and Sophie Taverner head the staff. A small novel-sized book of cocktail choices shows their love of mixology and the small, but tasty food menu is headed up by the delicious Handmade Pork Gyoza, Peking Duck & Chicken Sub and daily specials. The room is a knockout too.

#6 Powell Street (the corner of Powell & Carrall in Gastown)

Well, there’s a brief list of the places I would personally recommend. Others I have been meaning to try that may have made the list if I’d had the time are the just-opened corner suite bistro de luxe on Thurlow Street, Mis Trucos on Davie Street and the relatively new beer mecca, St. Augustine’s Restaurant and Lounge over on Commercial.

What are your faves in Vancouver? Let me know in the comments below.

the corner suite
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Gadgets – Wow, the iPhone!

01092007b.jpgMan, ages ago, one of my first posts was about my trouble finding a phone that had the features I wanted. Today, Apple hit the nail on the head: the iPhone was released at MacWorld!

This phone is gadget heaven (specs courtesy of the folks over at Gizmodo):

  • Screen size: 3.5 inches
  • Screen resolution: 320 by 480 at 160 ppi
  • Input method: Multi-touch (that’s touchscreen, people!)
  • Operating system: OS X (you read that right. the Mac OSX on a PHONE!)
  • A fully-functioning iPod
  • Auto-rotate screen for video and web browsing
  • Storage: 4GB or 8GB
  • GSM: Quad-band (MHz: 850, 900, 1800, 1900)
  • Wireless data: Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) + EDGE + Bluetooth 2.0
  • Camera: 2.0 megapixels
  • Battery: Up to 5 hours Talk / Video / Browsing, Up to 16 hours Audio playback
  • Dimensions: 4.5 x 2.4 x 0.46 inches
  • Weight: 4.8 ounces / 135 grams

This is unbelievable… OK, I’m a gadget geek, but you have to admit it’s cool. Of course I have no idea when it’ll be available here in Canada… It comes out in June in the US exclusively on Cingular and will cost $499 (4GB) or $599 (8GB) on a two-year plan.

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Gadgets – new iPod shuffle

11102006.jpgI gave in and bought one of these today… Carrying my 60GB video iPod while running was getting tedious. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Wow. How small can these things get? Have you seen them?? They hold 1GB of music (~240 songs), are roughly 4 x 2.5cm and weigh half an ounce! Jesus. The real selling point for me was that it also has a built-in clip that’ll hold onto my shorts when I run, or my jersey when I’m out cycling. Put it on, run and forget you’re attached. So nice.

Click on the picture to go check it out in the Apple Canada store.

$89 CDN

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Media – The new Sony Bravia ad

10222006a.jpgA little while back, I linked out to the Sony Bravia ad with all the bouncy balls (that sounds vaguely obscene… or painful) and now I’ll link to their new ad.

They just seem to have something great going on when it comes to original, beautiful advertising. Well done.

** Check out the making of the new commercial.

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Music – You need new music

Food, wine & music seem to go hand in hand. A couple of new albums I’ve come across that combine flawlessly with the food and wine are The Audience’s Listening by Cut Chemist (whose song is featured in the new iPod nano commercial). He’s Lucas MacFadden, the former turntablist for Jurassic 5. Another great, jazzy new album is Berlin Serengeti by Berlin’s Radio Citizen. Both are seriously good… and seriously funky.

Actually, I’ll mention another good album I’m listening to as I write this: Route de la Slack: Remixes & Rarities by Swayzak – another great album. Funky as all hell… and just plain cool in that minimalist house kind of way.

All of these are albums you’ll be hearing in “hip” restaurants & lounges in the coming months. Get ’em for at home, hang out, sip and enjoy.

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Food – Dinner in the Sky?

OK, I love a great view while dining in a restaurant as much, or more, than the next person…. but this site/idea Dinner in the Sky looks pretty ridiculous. Really, what if you have to visit the washroom after your 3rd glass of wine or beer?

[via the cool hunter]

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The Internets – FUH2

You know what I really hate?.. Hummers. Get your mind out of the gutter. I’m talking the vehicles. Unless you’re in desert warfare or run an eco-tourism company far from paved roads, there’s just no excuse to drive those pretentious, gas-guzzling pieces of crap. Either that, or you were born with an extremely small sexual appendage.

In that line of thought, I give you FUH2. ‘Nuff said.

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TV – Possibly the best commercial EVER

06212006.jpgCheck out this ad for the new Sony Bravia TV. That is one of the most amazing commercials I’ve ever seen. Maybe I’m just a sucker for superballs, but that must have been a GAS to make… You can check out a Flickr set that shows the process they went through. Very cool.

The song is also great. It’s “Heartbeats” by José Gonzalez.

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Food – Lolita’s South of the Border Cantina

Lolita's South of the Border CantinaA couple of weeks ago I finally got around to checking out Lolita’s South of the Border Cantina, a cool take on cali-Mex food which opened in th old Random space on Davie St. here in Vancouver. The restaurant was opened by Lisa Gaylie and her brother Jaison. I’m guessing that after managing Bin 942 for 5 years, Lisa knows something about funky and successful restauranteur-ship.

The place is very funky. From the surfboard as a sign, to the interior, the good music and the tattooed waitresses everything about the place says hip in that shabby-chic, taco stand on the beach kinda’ way. Fortunately, the food is as tasty as the staff is cool. We had the guacamole classico with fried tortilla chips, the beef taquito and the fantastic fish tacos. All were great… I’d definitely go back for the fish tacos and there were a few other things I’d like to try as well. The wine list was small, but well-chosen and of course there were the Mexican (and local) beers.

We needed something like this in town. I’ll be hitting Lolita’s regularly over the coming months.

NOTE: I went back and it was just as good… and really, you have to try the fresh raspberry mojitosawesome.

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Wine – ‘Unbreakable’ wine glass

My friend, Shane sent me this little bit of news – Mikasa has come out with an ‘unbreakable’ wine glass. God knows Riedel glasses are fantastic (I’ve got a particular weakness for their Vinum Chianti-Zinfandel glass), but damn, they tend to break easily… Though it helps to not be romantically involved with someone who enjoys tossing them around during spats (but that’s a WHOLE other story). Now if Mikasa would just make these look a little less… umm… ugly, they’d be onto something.

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