After a day of holiday shopping with friends, what’s better than resting your feet in a swanky spot for a pick me up? ’Tis the season, so swap those heavy bags of presents and revive with a fun cocktail or glass of wine (cinq-à-sept can start early this season).
Here are some of the best places for a little indulgence in Vancouver:
Swing open the impressive metal doors on Howe Street to descend into this Jazz-age inspired wonderland. Sink into the teal velvet chairs along the bar and prepare to be entertained. The Inception Negroni is a fun twist on the classic: your glass holds a white Negroni surrounding an ice sphere that traps the Campari mix, the ice is expertly smashed by the bartender to mix the two, or try one of their historic recipe punches. Bonus: for the month of December from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday, guests will enjoy a complimentary glass of punch and tasty bites like crispy flatbread with pork rillette. You can also take a peek at the bottle of 50 year old Glenfiddich exclusive in Canada, or order a glass of coveted Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon.
Address: 801 West Georgia Street (entrance off Howe Street)
Could there be a more perfect place to rest your feet than at a bar inside a fancy department store? Located next to the escalators on the second floor, this respite offers some of the best people watching in the city, and the drinks to match. The Billionaire cocktail, a blend of Maker’s Mark, a rinse of absinthe, and house made grenadine, along with a snack of ricotta meatballs, would do nicely before heading back into the wilds of women’s wear.
Address: 799 Robson Street
Just a quick Aquabus ferry hop over from Granville Island, Long Table holds custom G&T Fridays and Saturday cocktail hours, from 1 to 9 p.m., where you can also grab a bite from a food truck parked conveniently out front (closed Christmas Day & New Year’s Day; check their twitter for updates) and cozy up to their communal table to enjoy a view of their impressive copper still. Don’t miss the barrel-aged gin or pleasantly bitter Amaro No. 1 Linnaeus, distilled from B.C. merlot grape pomace and infused with 28 botanicals. Their Limoncello liqueur would make a treat for anyone longing to visit Italy’s Cinque Terre.
Address: 1451 Hornby Street
Is there a more beautifully decorated restaurant than Joe Fortes during the Christmas holidays? The festive garlands and lights make this a delightful spot to sip in. Happy hour is everyday at the bar from 4 to 6 p.m., prime post-shopping hours, and a lovely perch to watch oyster shucking with a glass of Steller’s Jay vintage bubbly in hand.
Address: 777 Thurlow Street
You don’t have to order one of the priciest cocktails in town (the $425 Sazerac made with Louis XIII Cognac & La Fee Absinthe) to enjoy the ambiance of the Fairmont Lounge’s Venetian Fazioli piano and double sided fireplace. Try their Smokey Chile Chocolate made with Mezcal, cayenne and maple syrup, or relax with a retro Hot Buttered Rum, made using 7 year old rum, butter and brown sugar.
Address: 1038 Canada Place
Open from 4 p.m. every day, try out Juniper’s Cascadian-focused drinks menu with an East Van Bramble (made with Odd Society Cassis liqueur and Wallflower Gin), or a flute of delicious Haywire bubbly. House made snacks include chips, jerky, and pickles, or skip to dessert and order an apple, cheddar and chestnut pie. There’s plenty of eye candy here too: geometric tiles and curved concrete walls in the bar area, and a whimsical mural by Ola Volo upstairs.
Address: 185 Keefer Street