Where to drink right now in Toronto

Bar Banane is home to Jacob Martin, the 2023 World Class Global Bartender of the Year. Brenton Mowforth (@wander.thirsty) photo

It goes without saying that a stop at Canada’s Best Bar, Civil Liberties, is essential. Now, you can also grab some bottled Civil Pours from the same mixologists: they recently ran a Bloor West pop-up, and watch for wider availability soon. A stop at Mother Cocktail Bar, an inventive Toronto fermentorium that’s steadily climbing the ranks of North America’s 50 Best Bars, is also a must. For the speakeasy set, there are inception-style spots tucked inside Coffee Oysters Champagne and under the restaurant Little Sister, but we won’t spoil those secrets here. Make your reservations now for these buzzing bars.

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Bar Bravo: New seafood and cocktail bar set to open in Vancouver

Well shucks! Vancouver is getting a new spot for oysters and drinks soon

Bar Bravo is a new spot for seafood, oysters, and drinks opening this summer on Vancouver’s Fraser Street. Alexander Spatari/Moment/Getty Images

After a few short months of being dark, the Fraser Street address that was home to the beloved Ubuntu Canteen has seen a flurry of activity recently, as new operators have taken over the business and are prepping to open a seafood and oyster bar with cocktails in the space.

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Eye openers: 4 great brunch cocktail pairings

Brunch provides a palette for a myriad of cocktail pairings. Reece Sims photo

There’s just something about bringing people together for brunch that captures hearts and palates. Perhaps it’s the enticing blend of savoury and sweet flavours, endless beverage options, and a leisurely atmosphere that creates undeniable allure.

I was especially inspired by the brunches I enjoyed on a recent visit to Scottsdale, Arizona, for a bachelorette party weekend. Mostly I was inspired by one particular brunch at the W Scottsdale’s Cottontail Lounge. The hotel is situated in the heart of the city, with the Fashion District a few minutes west, Old Town a few minutes south, and the Entertainment District at its doorstep.

Best of all? The brunch cocktail pairings. Here are four to try.

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‘After 14 years of last calls’ this iconic Gastown cocktail bar is closing

The bar has welcomed over 2 million guests since opening.

The Diamond, a Vancouver cocktail culture staple is closing after 14 years in business. @thediamondgastown/Instragram

In a heartfelt and reflective Instagram post, The Diamond, one of Vancouver’s most well-loved cocktail bars, announced that it is closing.

“After 14 years of last calls, we’ve finally reached ours,” reads the post.

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Where to drink right now in Portland

One of the Pacific Northwest’s great drinking cities is popping with new bars and wild cocktails, from the mustard-licked to slushified—plus … disco balls!

Getty Images photo

Old Portland favourites and on-point new bars are rocking some Canadian-friendly values, and prices (drinks from USD$12-16 are typical, but no tax!). Because Oregon bars must serve food, delicious bites from bar snacks to elevated meals complement your cocktails. Always on the cutting edge of alternative, plenty of Portland places feature mocktails as refreshing and inventive as their boozy siblings, too.

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11 of Canada’s 50 Best Bars of 2023 are in B.C.

Some new names and usual suspects, including several here in Vancouver

11 B.C. bars were named in Canada’s 50 Best Bars list 2023. Here they are. Canada’s 100 Best photo

There was a lot of jostling for position and some surprise inclusions in this year’s just-released list of Canada’s 50 Best Bars.

Usual suspects from past lists such as Botanist, The Keefer Bar, and Laowai made the cut yet again, though they’ve been bumped down a few places by bars in Toronto and Montreal. Civil Liberties in Toronto is returning champion and took home the title of Canada’s Best Bar for the second year in a row.

Botanist came in fourth place, and The Keefer Bar was eighth, with Laowai rounding out the top 10.

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A new jungle-themed restaurant and cocktail lounge is opening in Vancouver

It’s “Vancouver’s first jungle-inspired cocktail lounge.”

The Jungle Room is a new cocktail lounge and restaurant located on Denman Street in Vancouver’s West End. The official opening date is April 28, 2023. @jnglroom/Instagram

Keen-eyed Vancouverites have been watching the West End space at 961 Denman St since late 2021, when signs went up for a “health bar and cocktail lounge” called The Jungle Room moving in where the Dover Arms pub stood for many a year.

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A massive artisan spirits festival returns to Vancouver with 40 distilleries

BC Distilled is back.

After three years, BC Distilled is returning to Vancouver. BC Distilled photo

After three years of cancelled and modified events, BC Distilled, the massive artisanal spirits festival, is returning to Vancouver.

Forty distilleries and hundreds of locally produced spirits, several of which are new additions to the festival, will take over two rooms at the Croatian Cultural Centre on Commercial Drive this May.

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