Photo credit: Jennilee Marigomen
If you enjoy Asian fusion, Bambudda offers share-style dishes inspired by Hong Kong and Southern Chinese cuisine. The colourful, modern space provides a fun environment to socialize over a few rounds of creative house cocktails.
Chill Winston is an ideal spot for those wanting to mingle in a lounge setting. Inside, you’ll find high chairs and sleek leather couches – but don’t be fooled by their sleek atmosphere – this is a food-loving restaurant that serves up delicious local farm-to-table offerings in a seasonally changing menu created by Chef Derek Bothwell. Enjoy a few share plates while sipping on Chill’s original libations like Spooning Jesus and Nightprayer.
When you’re in the mood for live entertainment, Guilt & Company features something new every night of the week. The underground speakeasy combines fedora-clad wait staff, casual comforts and craft cocktails with dynamic performances by up-and-coming headliners. The lineup includes everything from burlesque jazz and fusion belly dance, to neo soul and live improvisation.
If you love cocktails, you’ve likely frequented the Diamond. The classy establishment is a Gastown fixture that draws both locals and cocktail connoisseurs for inventive drinks mixed by the city’s best. And the second-level view overlooking Maple Tree Square doesn’t hurt either. Come here to impress your date, or engage in playful chats with friends. The candlelit setting and table setup will set the mood for an intimate night on the town.
If you’re looking for a fancy destination, Jules Bistro will up the ante. The romantic bistro has elements of Parisian district, Le Marais, with its baroque décor and candle lighting. The menu offers savory classics, French cocktails and fine wines. The Beaujolais Nouveau, the first 2014 vintage wine on the market, is a recent arrival to consider on your next visit. Come by on Thursdays and Saturdays to enjoy a charming night of live piano by the talented Kurt Von Hahn.
Care for a fun night with great wine? Salt Tasting Room gives the ultimate experience. The menu features local and imported artisanal cheese, cured meats, and fantastic wine, sherry and beer pairings. Guests have the option of creating a tasting plate, choosing 10 varieties of each, which are accompanied with gourmet condiments like Guinness grainy mustard and Spanish Marcona almonds. Salt’s selection is always fresh and changes daily.
Cork + Fin is the perfect restaurant for entertaining seafood aficionados. The brick-walled brasserie has a raw bar of fresh shucked oysters and towers of mussels, manila clams, and Dungess crab. Its casual, candlelit setting creates a charming backdrop for celebatory occasions. Guests can dine on the main level or at the semi-private mezzanine. As for drinks, the wine list is respectable, and classic house libations pair well with their seafood delights.
Planning on meeting friends of the foodie persuasion? The highly rated L’Abattoir delivers topline French cuisine in an elegant setting decorated with classic French tiles and industrial fixtures. Food is plated in an artistic fashion, pleasing to the eye and appetite. The informal atmosphere makes it easy to relax over a few glasses of original cocktails mixed by award winning tender, Shaun Layton.
If you’re in the company of cocktail connoisseurs, Notturno offers craft concoctions, along with an all Italian wine list and cichetti (sharing plates) with requisite meats and cheese. There’s an intimate ambiance in the sophisticated boîte, ideal for a casual date or night out with a small party. Clough Club is another fantastic option for dark spirited cocktails and South American fusion tapas.
Pourhouse has a lively atmosphere. Step inside and you can feel an energetic bustle liken to a prohibition-style saloon. The restaurant is furnished with antique chandeliers and 120-year old Douglas fir creating a stunning brick and cedar-beamed space to mingle in. Reserve a table if you’re entertaining a larger group, otherwise sit by the bar and have a friendly cocktailer create a custom concoction according to your preferences.
It’s always shaking down at Revel Room. This casual joint offers live music and tasty Southern tapa inspired by New Orleans. You might find yourself stomping your feet or rubbing elbows with animated restaurant-goers – the rhythm of live boogie-woogie rock is contagious. Daredevils can take part in their cocktail roulette. Choose a spirit and flavour profile and Revel’s bartenders will create a custom concoction to tickle your taste bud.
Stop by The Irish Heather for a few Guinness pours. This gastropub has a distinct character with Guinness vats and vintage Irish posters decorated throughout the space, along with a solid list of great beers and meat-loving fare. And if you like whisky, peruse the selection of whisky, scotch, and spirits at Shebeen Whisky House, located near the back of the pub. Shebeen is known to have the best selection in town.