H Tasting Lounge takes flight

Globally inspired cocktail program soars at the Westin Bayshore

Chiara Fung and Dylan Williams behind the bar at H Tasting Lounge. Dan Toulgoet photo

Bright, airy and colourful, with a contemporary design that embraces both mid-century and Art Deco motifs, H Tasting Lounge at The Westin Bayshore, Vancouver, is certainly one of the city’s most elegant cocktail spaces.

But its beauty goes far beyond plush pastel furnishings and dramatic crystal chandeliers.

There is serious talent behind the bar here, led by award-winning premium bartenders Chiara Fung, who hails from Grain and Notch 8, and Dylan Williams, formerly of Bambudda and Shameful Tiki Room.

They bring top-notch skills and nimble imaginations to a cocktail program inspired by the adventuresome spirit of early aviation pioneer Howard Hughes. His 1938 world flight was the motivation for the inventive “destinations” drinks that are at the heart of the lounge’s menu, which includes such premium cocktails as the Champagne-fizzy Eiffel 75 and gold-flecked Alaska Cocktail No. 2.

“Now,” says Williams, “we’re adding a couple of destinations to the tour.” Among them will be an ode to Hollywood, where Hughes began his career as a film producer. “Another cool thing we’re doing is a shared bowl based on an outrigger. It’s going to be a tribute to [Hughes’ airplane] the Spruce Goose. It’ll be super cool.”

Dylan Williams’ The Bayshore Inn. Dan Toulgoet photo

The team is also introducing other high-end innovations, including tableside gin and tonics—“We just purchased a luxury Italian bar cart that we’ll use for service,” Fung says—and interactive Liquid Labs that will combine mixology classes, chef Alex Mok’s exotic cuisine and cocktails made with foraged ingredients.

While Williams and Fung are as well-versed in the classics as they are happy to pour a glass of Champagne, they bring their own unique flair to the menu. Fung, for instance, is proud to serve her spiced pineapple True Lies cocktail, which won the recent Stolichnaya vodka competition in Vancouver. And Williams is delighted to bring his taste for tiki back to a hotel that was once legendary for its poolside tropical cocktails.

Most importantly, the team is passionate about using the highest quality ingredients from around the world and right here at home, whether for Ladies’ Nights on Mondays, afternoon tea served daily, or a nightcap after a show.

“We hand-carve our own ice. All of the ingredients are made in house or sourced locally. We’re getting a garden,” Williams says. “If it’s not from the garden or the forest it will be from the farmers’ market.”

Adds Fung: “We’re just trying to deliver a unique experience to the guests.”

Make Chiara Fung’s True Lies and Dylan Williams’ The Bayshore Inn cocktails.

H Tasting Lounge at The Westin Bayshore,

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