The Bon Vivant

Our man-about-town discovers that taking a seat at the bar is a social act, even for the solo sipper

Ryan Mitson Illustration

Earlier this year, for no apparent reason, multiple stories were published about the stigma of eating in a restaurant alone, each of them offering counsel as to why no one should feel self-conscious for doing so. I appreciate these pieces having been written, but I don’t understand why they need to exist.

I’ve never felt self-conscious about dining solo. I’d argue, in fact, that it’s often a superior experience to dining as part of a couple or a group. Without the pressures or distraction of conversation, one can fully appreciate a meal, consume it at a preferred pace, and get lost in a book or people-watching or whatever private reveries help the mind relax and the heart sing.

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Science of Cocktails event offers drinks that will have you completely spellbound

Science World British Columbia / Flickr

While there will be a multitude of alcoholic beverages on the menu, this annual event is a far cry from the average cocktail party.

The Science of Cocktails at the Telus World of Science offers a unique opportunity to see some of the industry’s most passionate mixologists work their alchemy on classic favourites as well as inspired new concoctions.

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Vancouver’s winning cocktail

Another day, another competition under the belts of Vancouver’s extraordinary bartenders.

Chris Enns. Fairmont Pacific Rim photo

To chants of “Back to back!” on Thanksgiving weekend, Chris Enns of the Lobby Bar at the Fairmont Pacific Rim made it into the top-20 round at the Diageo Reserve World Class competition in Berlin. Australia’s Orlando Marzo took home the overall title this year, but Enns made it all the way to number eight in the world, with a trio of Vancouverites cheering him on—last year’s global winner, Kaitlyn Stewart of Royal Dinette, as well as previous World Class Canada winners Lauren Mote and Grant Sceney. “Until next time, friends,” Enns said on Facebook. “May your hearts be filled with love and your glasses filled with World Class cocktails.”

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The Bon Vivant

The patio scene isn’t for everyone, including our man about town

Ryan Mitson Illustration

In many ways, I’ve always been hilariously unsuited to Vancouver, despite having lived here for the best part of 20 years. While I enjoy observing nature from the distant vantage point of a high-rise apartment, actually venturing into it makes me anxious and irritated. I look upon the lifestyle cults surrounding yoga, spinning and clamshell salads—ostensibly expressions of joyful living, yet deadly serious—as if they were the Republic of Gilead.

But what situates me permanently at the fringe of the party that is this city (this beautiful, very expensive party) is my habitual response to the arrival of summer. When everyone else rushes hysterically into the streets, as if drawn by the promise of eternal youth and free poké bowls, I draw the blinds and cower until nightfall.

I don’t want to be this person, but I have no choice: I’m a ginger.

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World class city

Home Team cocktail. Photo courtesy of Chris Enns.

With Christopher Enns’ recent win in Montreal, that’s four times Vancouver bartenders have taken home the prestigious title of Diageo Reserve World Class Canada champion since the competition started in 2013.

Enns, who mans the shakers at the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Lobby Lounge, also recently won the Woodford Reserve Manhattan challenge in New York. “It’s been very busy, that’s for sure,” he says.

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Being on brand

Brand ambassadors have a huge influence on what and how we drink. But who are they, and what do they really do?

“There’s a pretty big spectrum of roles that are called ambassadors,” says Ryan Cheverie, the territory sales manager for Brown-Forman. Supplied photo

On any given day, Kevin Brownlee drops in at local bars and restaurants to visit with his bartender colleagues. In the evening, he’ll hit a nightclub or two, or hang out at an event like Dish ’n Dazzle. Or he’ll jet off to some exotic locale, Puerto Rico, say, or maybe Miami.

And he’s actually paid to do all this.

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Vancouver’s Chris Enns named Diageo World Class Canada Bartender of 2018

Botanist bartender Chris Enns, Diageo World Class Canada Bartender of the Year. Photo courtesy of Diageo World Class Canada

The Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Christopher Enns has become the fourth Vancouver bartender to win the prestigious Diageo World Class Canada competition since this country joined the global fray in 2013.

He now heads to Berlin, Germany, to represent Canada at the World Class Global Final Oct. 4 to 8, 2018.

Expectations will be even higher than usual. Not only is this the 10th anniversary of the biggest and most important cocktail competition on the planet, but another Vancouverite, Kaitlyn Stewart of Royal Dinette, won the global title last year, vanquishing 10,000 bartenders from 57 countries to do so.

So, you know, no pressure.

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