Where to drink right now in Las Vegas

Old school glam reigns supreme at Collins at the Fontainebleau Las Vegas. Photo courtesy of Collins at the Fontainebleau Las Vegas

The bar scene is smoking hot (especially in the summer months!) in Las Vegas. These days on the Strip, it seems that every casino resort has not just opulent lobby and restaurant bars but also hidden cocktail dens (from high-class, vintage-spirits focused The Vault behind the Bellagio cashier’s cage to no less than four speaks at the Cosmopolitan!). In a city where you can drink 24-7, here are some stellar spots, focusing on the current hot zone to the north of the Strip to the local-favourite neighbourhoods beyond. With all the concerts and entertainment coming up in the desert, there are plenty of reasons to beat the heat inside a cool bar this summer.

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A tipsy take on tea at The Empress

Photo courtesy of Fairmont Empress

Afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress is one of Victoria’s bucket-list experiences, served in one of the city’s most iconic spaces, the hotel’s soaring and ornate tea lobby. But now, says Maeve Fogarty, “We’re twisting afternoon tea on its head.”

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Black Currant Mule

Black Currant Mule. Photo courtesy of Dillons

A mule, but too pretty to hide in a copper mug!

• 1 ½ ounce Dillon’s Vodka

• ¾ ounce Dillon’s Black Currant Liqueur

• ¾ ounce fresh lime juice

• 2 dashes Dillon’s Rhubarb Bitters

• Ginger Beer

• Dehydrated lime wheel, for garnish

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Good Thief: Cocktails and culinary mischief set to steal Vancouver’s hearts

Opening date is set for Vancouver’s new charismatic, resourceful, clever, and oh-so-appealing cocktail bar/restaurant

Good Thief, the “rebellious” sibling of Anh and Chi, is a new cocktail bar with share plates inspired by the tradition of the enjoyment of sitting down to eat and drink and have fun with friends and family. It opens on July 11, 2024. Photo by Juno Kim/courtesy of Good Thief

Cinema and literature love a “good thief” character. They’re charismatic, resourceful, clever, and oh-so-appealing, even if they’re bending the rules a little (or a lot).

So what if that trope is applied to a cocktail bar-slash-restaurant in Vancouver? The result is the aptly named Good Thief, which I suspect is about to steal a few hearts thanks to its inherent “goodness.”

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Totally retro, all-new Meo

Chinatown’s hot new bar is all about tantalizingly unexpected tastes

Inspired by vintage Taipei and historic Chinatown, Meo is tucked below (and a sibling to) Michelin-starred Kissa Tanto. Charles Nasby photo

“Is it OK if the flowers are on the edges?” a server asks as she tweezes a bloom onto the Citrus Crush cocktail and carries it to a waiting table of excited friends.

It’s 5 p.m. on a Thursday at Meo, Chinatown’s newest cocktail bar. Though the doors just opened, the place has immediately started to fill. I overhear one of the managers say there are 55 people on the books tonight and more walk-ins are expected.

It’s sunny outside, but you’d never know it in the low light of the room themed after a 1970s love-motel. Part lounge and part living room, Meo feels like an elevated version of a retro home bar. As if you stepped back in time to visit your grandparents with exquisite taste and an extensive liquor collection. The pink-hued interior and menus are influenced by Taipei and photos of Vancouver’s Chinatown from the same era.

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Hot spots: Compton Ave.

Facebook.com/Compton Ave. photo

When one of the city’s best known and most highly acclaimed bartenders opens a new joint, everyone sits up and takes notice. In Toronto, that bartender is Frankie Solarik, famously of Bar Chef, Prequel & Co. Apothecary and the Netflix show Drink Masters; the bar is Compton Ave., an ode to all things London, a city that just happens to have one of the best cocktail scenes in the world.

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B.C. summer distillery guide

Taste these locally-distilled spirits and explore distilleries around the province this summer.

Maple Leaf Spirits photo
Maple Leaf Spirits

Cherry Liqueur

25% ABV, $39 (375 ml)

Visit our family-owned craft distillery tasting room in Penticton on the beautiful Naramata Bench. Get to know our locally inspired liqueurs, spirits, Genie Gin, and Lady of the Cask. Our Cherry Liqueur got the Best in Class award at the Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition 2024. South Okanagan sun-ripened cherries, distilled, and infused with Sour Cherries. Your easy summer treat for desserts or cocktails. Available at mapleleafspirits.ca.

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New sips to savour

Here are some exciting new products to check out this summer

Instagram.com/okanaganspirits photo

Cabin Gin 2024 Green Label: Okanagan Spirits has just released the first in a new lineup of seasonal small-batch gins inspired by time spent at the family cabin and escapes to other places. It features hints of lemongrass, fresh ginger and Thai lime leaf, reminiscent of trips through Southeast Asia. It retails for $35 (for a 500 mL bottle), with at least two more in the series expected by the end of the year. okanaganspirits.com

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