Hate to break it to you American hockey-heads so far ahead of time, but my team — the mighty Vancouver Canucks — is going to win the Stanley Cup this year. And when they do, you are welcome to join me at the bar for a toast.
Forget the Bud: a real Canadian victory calls for real Canadian beer — or gin, or even wine. Here’s how — and where — to celebrate (or drown your sorrows) like a local when you’re visiting Vancouver, BC during the play-offs:
1. Settle on to a stool at one of the city’s excellent brewpubs, and reward every goal with a different hand-crafted beer. I’m partial to Granville Island Brewery’s Brockton IPA, but you’ll want to find your own favourite around town.
2. Even high-brows like their hockey. Head to the Shangri-La on Georgia and toast the win with a glass of Stellar’s Jay, a quality brut bubbly from BC’s own Sumac Ridge Estate Winery. Made from a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc grapes in the traditional Methode classique, it pairs nicely with truffle-oil popcorn…
3. Head to the city’s newest “it” eatery, Hawksworth Restaurant in the historic and recently refurbished Hotel Georgia. Swirl a martini made with locally distilled Victoria Gin in front of a remarkably elegant flat-screen TV in the clubby lounge. Photo Courtesy of Victoria Spirits
4. Maybe you’re not legal to drink (which, by the way, means 19 in BC). Maybe someone in your group is underage. Or maybe you need just prefer virgin drinks. When you want to experience the sports bar vibe without the mandatory alcohol intake, head for Earls Paramount on Hornby at Smithe. Lots of screens; reliably good food, drinks and service.
5. Do it the old-fashioned way and take your transistor to one of Vancouver’s beautiful beaches and enjoy a picnic featuring a bottle of BC wine. (Yes, it’s summer and yes, the hockey season may be just a little too long.) Stop by Liberty Wine Merchants downtown on Robson at Jervis, or the government-run specialty wine store on Bute at Alberni for a solid recommendation that’s in your price range. (And remember that outdoor drinking isn’t technically allowed in BC, so be discreet.)