In classic-JBS fashion, I let my trip to Vancouver slip by without blogging about it. I took about a million photos on the trip but then came home and the weeks started to pass and then we were in California and I nearly forgot about our time on Canada’s West Coast. Because it has now been nearly five months since this trip, the details of it are a bit hazy. Nonetheless, here is a list of places that we visited while there, in nor particular order, before I completely forget everything. (And just in the knick of time before we fly out on our next adventure in the morning to New York City!)
This was my second time visiting Vancouver. To be honest, I didn’t love the city on my first trip there which was about ten years ago but looking back now, it was probably because of the company that I was keeping at the time. On this trip, our plan was to see all of the people – or at least as many of our pals that live in Van as possible. I think that we did a pretty good job all while also being a tourist and hitting as many bars as possible.
Vancouver is a BEAUTIFUL city. I was constantly amazed by those beautiful mountains that seemed to appear out of nowhere everywhere that we went. While the weather wasn’t awesome when we were there, I know that it could have been worse. Most days were overcast with a little bit of rain and it was chilly – although it wasn’t cold and snowy like it was at the time in Toronto. If you live here, you have to have a jacket with a hood to be prepared for any sort of downpours.
We were in Vancouver at the end of March and early April. What excited me most about this was that we were there for cherry blossoms. I love cherry blossoms so much. They are just so beautiful and magical and I could not stop photographing them.
We spent a lot of time in and around Main Street because our friend Jody who we crashed with for most of the trip lives nearby. I love this area because it’s pretty relaxed with great shops and restaurants & bars.
For our first night out, Jody took us to the vegetarian restaurant The Acorn. One word describes this place: delicious. The cocktails and food were awesome. We shared the kale caesar salad which was super dreamy and I had the special that day that included some heirloom potatoes. I rarely order dessert but went for a raw “cheese”cake that was to die for.
It’s not on Main but after dinner, Josh and I headed down to Gastown to visit Donnie Wheeler at the Clough Club. Donnie has since moved to Toronto to do fancy things but when we were in Vancouver, he was doing a tiki night at Clough Club. Since Josh is all about tiki, we had to go. The drinks were awesome and Donnie even showed us his tricks by blowing fire, twice.
Now back to Main Street. I didn’t take a photo of it (just a selfie of us!) but we did visit my old Ryerson buddy, Lauren’s awesome clothing store on Main called Vincent Park. Go there to buy pretty things.
I am a huge fan of all paper things. I love stationary and cards. I am the girl that will send you a random postcard or thank you note in the real actual mail. We found this store called The Regional Assembly of Text which I just loved (and as a result spent all of my money at).
The Reef is a Caribbean restaurant on Main that people seem to love. We went there for lunch and met up with my friend Audra (who drove all the way from Surrey to see us – whoo-eeee!). It was a cool low-key place and I guess they are famous for their hot sauce because we now have a bottle of it in our fridge.
One morning we hit up Slickity Jim’s for brunch. I totally chose it based on the name and apparently we chose right because the first person we saw was a bartender who we saw the night before.
The most fun night on Main Street had to be when we went to The Shameful Tiki Room. The bar is perfectly decked out in all things tiki. We ordered a round of drinks and a few minutes later, the server dropped off a Volcano Bowl and said “this is going to change your night”. We were all confused until we turned around and saw Donnie Wheeler chuckling at the bar. Thanks for that, Donnie.
There is a great market on Granville and lots of cute shops. Plus there are houses, where people live, on the water. I just loved that.
There is also a distillery and a couple of breweries on Granville. We hit up Liberty Distillery first. Josh had a flight of their spirits while I opted for a cocktail. Basically any opportunity on this trip that he could, Josh had a flight of whatever was being offered. It’s a great way to try something that you would otherwise never have the opportunity to.
Next we hit up the classic: Granville Island Brewery. I say “classic” because GI beer is sold everywhere here in Toronto so it seemed not too special to visit the brewery. However, we did and I had a beer that I hadn’t seen on a menu in Toronto before while Josh had a flight of three.
Our last stop on Granville Island was to Dockside Brewing which is located inside the Granville Island Hotel. We would never have known that it existed if it hadn’t been for our beer-nerd friend Adam who told us about it. The bar is a little swanky and was pretty quiet when we arrived but they still let us sit at the bar. I had a stout while Josh had a flight. (Do you sense a theme from this trip?)
Queen Elizabeth Park
One afternoon we headed to Queen Elizabeth Park because I was doing a family portrait session with Taryn, Syx and their girls. We chose this park because of it’s awesome view of the city and mountains plus we were told there were beautiful gardens. It was cherry blossom season after all and I wanted some of their magic in the photos! Unfortunately, there weren’t as many cherry trees here as I had hoped but we still had a good time.
Commercial Drive/The Drive
For the last portion of our trip, we were staying with Leni and Adam who live near Commercial Drive. This area reminded me a lot of our own Parkdale neighbourhood. Great restaurants and bars scattered amongst everything else that you could imagine.
One night we met up with Taryn & Syx and another photo friend Daphne for dinner at La Mezcaleria. We both love mezcal so to choose a place called that simply made sense. Everything that we had here was awesome.
Back when Josh lived in Vancouver, he would go to Bandidas a lot so we hit up this place for cheap eats a couple of times. The burritos were massive and the felted art on the walls was adorable.
While it’s not on the Drive, another night we headed to Gastown with Jody for dinner and drinks.. Before dinner we went to a great bar called Mamie Taylor‘s for a cocktail or two before having dinner at Cuchillo. The food at Cuchillo is pretty authentic Mexican but with a twist. We ate many, many things here and Josh had a mezcal flight (unusual, I know). I would go here again. After dinner we went to the Alibi Room which is a beer bar with about a thousand beers on tap. Josh had a flight (boring) and I drank something sour (I think).
The Bar Night
Every time we travel to a new city, we dedicate a night to bar hopping. Josh is a bartender so we consider this professional business. 🙂 He gives me a list of bars that he wants to go to and I make up a plan to try to visit as many as possible. Vancouver was no easy feat but we managed to go to quite a few bars in one evening.
Our first stop was at Bluewater Cafe to see the awesome Evelyn Chick. We went for one but had more than that because she just had to show us all of her things. 🙂 Next we went to Uva to see Lauren Mote. Lauren also runs a bitters company with her partner called Bittered Sling. We managed to escape with having consumed just one drink but we did go back the next morning for much needed coffee (and pain du chocolat!) and to taste all of the bitters that they are currently working on.
Next up on the bar night was L’Abattoir where we had dinner reservations. I loved this place. Everything about it was incredible. Seriously. We had a table that overlooked the bar from above. The tiled floor in this joint is to die for. The drinks by Shaun Layton were some of my favourites that I have had this year. The food was gorgeous. Did I mention how much I love this space?! Man alive, I can’t wait to go back.
The rest of the bar night is a little hazy (and hence, no photos were taken) but we did go to The Diamond, where they did not have any local beer, much to my disappointment. After that we went to Hawksworth where we got to try some West Winds Gin. We had learned about West Winds Gin last year when we were in Tequila, Mexico with one of the main West Winds guys (hi Jez!). From there we went to The Keefer where there was a burlesque show happening and another Australian Gez was behind the bar. From there we called it a night. Six bars in one night. Mission accomplished.
After spending one of our last afternoons wandering around downtown we happened upon Craft and popped in for some lunch. This place was pretty cool and had tons of beers on tap.
Random beer called Scandal that we had at a sushi restaurant. The writing on the label looks pretty much identical to Josh’s stabby handwriting.
On one of our last days in Vancouver, we headed to a couple of breweries with beer-nerd Adam. He took us to Bridge in North Vancouver which was a tiny place but had some great brews. I also loved all of the signs that they had on the walls. Selfie with B who belongs to Leni and Adam. She is one of the best 2 1/2 year old around. Selfies with Other People’s Children can only be beaten by Selfies with Wildlife.
All in all, an awesome time was had in Vancouver. It’s a great place to visit and I can’t wait to go back again sooner than later.