Archive for the 'Miscellaneous' 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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The 1st YVR Wine Bloggers and Sommeliers Group Tasting

The YVR Wine Bloggers and Sommeliers group is going to hold an informative tasting for the public on Tuesday, November 10th at Scott Landon Antiques (2349 Granville St.). It will be a “wine show” style tasting with approximately 10 tables. Each table is going to teach one simple wine lesson – for example:

  • Table 1 The difference between Old and New World,
  • Table 2 The difference between Warm and Cool Climate,
  • Table 3 Method Champeniose vs Charmat Method etc etc.

After visiting each of the ten tables attendees will have a solid understanding of fundamental wine styles and will have tasted examples of each.

Sounds like a fun way to learn about wine, huh? Well, if it sounds good to you, tickets are $25 each and are being limited to 100 people. You can head over to the EventBrite page to purchase them securely online, or tickets will be $35 at the door. I wouldn’t wait though – because tickets are limited, they may sell out ahead of time and you may be out of luck.

Knowing the others in this group, there will be some truly great wine to taste and you’ll learn from some of Vancouver’s best wine folks.

I hope to see a bunch of you there.

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Unique Video Training with Special Guest Gary Vaynerchuk!

Reachd.com, a local company specializing in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is hosting an event that might appeal to you wine folks and aspiring video bloggers – Video Training with Special Guest Gary Vaynerchuk!

You probably know Gary and his Vayniacs through his video wine blog, Wine Library TV, that has taken the net by storm. He breaks down the stuffy barriers of wine and has a lot of fun doing so. His energy and enthusiasm are infectious.

It will be held in Zillow.com’s office in downtown Seattle on June 28th from 9am – noon and costs $200 for the session. Each participant gets a Flip Video Camera and a copy of Gary’s new book, 101 Wines: Guaranteed to Inspire, Delight, and Bring Thunder to Your World. GaryV will be there at 11:15am.

This should be a pretty damned fun and informative event.

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The Internets – Bald Guy Greeting Cards

02262007.jpgOK, so this is not related to wine in any way, but I just wanted to link out to this… I don’t buy many greeting cards, but these are what I’ll be buying if/when the mood strikes me: Bald Guy Greeting Cards. Click the cards to read what’s inside. Funny. They’re available at Moulé on West 4th here in Vancouver and over in West Vancouver.

Thanks Uncrate.

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Site news – New Contact form

OK, so I’ve been contacted by a few people to taste/review wine… and let’s face it – if there’s anything I want to make easier for y’all, it’s getting in touch with me to send wine my way.

To make this as easy as I can, I’ve added a Contact form to the site. The verification code is necessary to get around all the SPAM I’d get if it wasn’t there. So, if you want to get in touch with me, you now can. Say “hi”.

Cheers.

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Vancouver – Stanley Park

12192006.jpgWow… the weather in Vancouver has been nuts this year – yet another sign that global warming is well under way and presents a real danger to our future.

Every summer, my quick cycling workout is 3-4 laps of the road (not the seawall) in Stanley Park here in Vancouver. I literally do 100’s of laps a year. It’s our wilder, more rugged (and hilly) version of a Central Park.

Last week a near hurricane-strength storm struck our city and literally changed the landscape of the park. The winds, combined with the extremely wet weather of late, caused considerable damage.

The CBC News web site has a photo gallery of the effects of the storm – sad. One of my favourite things about riding in the park is the 1,000’s of shades of green that surround me while I ride. I find it calming, inspiring and beautiful. There’s a hell of a lot less of it now.

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Gadgets – my Powerbook G4

11152006.jpgWell now. On the positive side: I have a shiny new 100GB drive in my Powerbook… on the negative side: my old drive died and like a bad divorce, it took everything with it. Thank god it’s not my main computer.

This goes to show that Macs, just like PC’s aren’t infallible. Remember to back up your data.

The guys at Mac Station were great. They got my beloved laptop up and running quickly and after an afternoon of installs, I’m almost back to normal with it.

Although I almost did a trade-in on a new Macbook Pro, I managed to escape without spending more than the repair cost. If anyone feels like hiring me for a big ‘ol contract so I can justify this, feel free. 🙂

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The Internets – wine writing, UK-style

11082006.jpgHere’s a blog I’ve been reading for years and it’s come back to life recently after an extended hiatus: The Bottle Shop

Go read the hilarious online musings of Late Bland (not his real name), a wine shop manager in the UK – Very funny and well-written. Check out some of his earlier posts. This one is his first day of working with the girl who eventually became his fiancée. She knows how to deal with customers. 🙂

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Politics – the mid-term elections in the USA

Wow. Pretty big change for the political map in the USA tonight. Good for you folks. It shows you perceive the war in Iraq much the same as we do. It makes me look forward to what will happen in another 2 years when the presidential election happens. The world needs a better plan than George and the gang have had.

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Site news – playing with colours

If you come to the site and things look odd, refresh your browser… If they still look odd, it’s because I’m playing with changing the look of the site. A year with the same look was starting to annoy me.

** A note to our American friends: that isn’t a misspelling. That’s how we spell “colour” up here.  🙂

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