Sip Trips #116: Ode to a Bar

Everybody experiences tragedies and one recently hit the Sip Advisor headquarters. Our crack team learned our favourite watering hole, Jimmy’s Taphouse, would be shutting their doors for good, with very little fanfare.

First, a little history: The Sip Advisor started going to Jimmy’s shortly after moving to Downtown Vancouver in 2010. One night, a buddy and I were on the prowl for cheap beer and stumbled upon the bar, sitting down to a couple pitchers of their very reasonably priced Jimmy’s Lager. Best of all, the place was located just a block away from my and Mrs. Sip’s apartment. From there, the legend quickly grew and I introduced many family and friends to the pub.

Husband-Signs

In the years that followed, we celebrated birthdays there, my bachelor party, St. Patrick’s Day, joined them for customer appreciation nights, and it was a prime venue for pre- or post-event indulgences. Perhaps most importantly, it was the first drinking establishment we took Baby Sip to when she was only two weeks old. I had hoped one day we could return with her as an adult and enjoy a beverage together. Alas, that dream is gone.

Why did we like the place so much? Well, their happy hour was one of the best in the city, with a thorough half price food menu and very good drink deals, such as $4 beer sleeves and house wine. Their poutine – with a unique chipotle drizzle – was so decadent and addictive, I would dream about the dish. Their chicken wings were also quite good, with a nice chunk of meat on each piece, something that is hard to find, in my opinion. And their patio area was a must-hit spot, situated across from the Roman Colosseum-inspired Vancouver Library.

I had only recently returned to the pub, after some time apart to pursue other relationships, but had visited a half dozen times over the last two months. It’s as if a part of me knew I’d be saying goodbye soon and it was time to make amends.

Working Goodbye

So, what grand plans do they have for the space? They will be expanding their adjacent private liquor store. It’s a decision that still befuddles this writer. Goodbye gorgeous patio, amazing happy hour and all the fantastic times you could have still hosted. Then again, I don’t write the cheques that keep the place operating.

Of course, there will be other bars that nestle their way into my heart. But nothing is ever the same as your first love.

Rest in peace, my old friend… you will be missed.

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Sip Trips #75: Celebrations Abound

After a relatively quiet midweek for the Sip Advisor, the weekend picked up in pace, as it usually does. With a friend’s birthday on Saturday, we started at the Salt Tasting Room in Gastown, which has a neat concept in that you order three meats/cheeses and three condiments to create your own charcuterie plate. This platter can be paired with wines selected by the staff, if you choose, but a couple cocktails and beer from 33 Acres Brewing is also available. This was my first time ever entering the area’s infamous Blood Alley and I’d like to return for more exploration.

After conquering our SmartyPantz escape room, our evening wrapped up with a trip to the TAPshack in Coal Harbour. Coincidentally, Mrs. Sip and I passed this place the week before, while out for a walk and wanted to return to check it out. While there, we enjoyed a couple beers from their menu of 20 taps (one beer each from 20 different breweries), while I tried their Maui Wowie Hawaiian pizza and Mrs. Sip ordered a serving of their duck fat popcorn and avocado toast with poached egg for a main course.

hawaiian-pizza-funny

The next day was Cousin Sip’s 12-year wedding anniversary, which she was celebrating solo, as her husband is currently working out-of-town. Therefore, Mrs. Sip and I joined her for a dinner at The Keg in Yaletown, sitting on their rooftop patio and enjoying what’s left of gorgeous summer weather.

While we had a nice meal, it’s time for a little Sip Advisor rant: To this day, I’m still saddened by the restaurant’s decision to nix their prime rib burger from the menu, in favour of their current offering. The prime rib burger provided a near orgasmic experience, while this rendition is just a run-of-the-mill product. To boot, when I first starting ordering the prime rib burger, it could be had for about $12, which was an amazing deal. Even before it was phased out, the price had only risen to about $14. This new, lackluster burger sets you back $18. I’ve even talked to servers at the chain, who have recognized the new burger just doesn’t measure up to the old one. The prime rib burger is still sold in grocery stores, so why not bring it back to the restaurant!?

rant-logic-reason

Okay, rant over. This weekend, we will be enjoying a one-day cruise from Seattle to Vancouver to celebrate Sis-in-Law Sip’s birthday. So long as it ends better than our last overnight cruise, where members of the Sip Alliance had to be quarantined, I think it will be a good way to spend the occasion… but the tale may not reach the same heights of infamy!

Sip Trips #3 – Celebration Central

After a slow start to January – drinking wise – this last week was full of revelry, as we celebrated Mrs. Sip’s birthday and a couple other events.

We had social events on both Friday and Saturday that involved some serious drinking into the wee hours of the morning. On Sunday, we hit The Distillery for brunch. The Distillery is attached to the Yaletown Brewery site, where the company also produces their own vodka and gin. Inside the restaurant, you can get a $5 cucumber- or jalapeno-infused Caesar or bottomless Mimosas for only $10. These go great with the joint’s $10 breakfast menu options.

Day Drinking Brunch

For Mrs. Sip’s actual birthday, on Monday, we met at Joe Fortes, for some of the best seafood the city has to offer. After a couple happy hour cocktails and appies, we sat down for the restaurant’s cold seafood tier, which was loaded with lobster, crab, oysters, mussels, clams, tuna sashimi, and oyster ceviche. With dinner, I ordered the Whistler Brewing Unfiltered IPA, which I didn’t even know the company produced.

Following dinner, we decided to visit the UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar for night cap cocktails. Despite living just down the street from the lounge for close to five years – and Mrs. Sip often saying we should try the place – we finally walked through its doors and were immediately impressed by the place. The cocktails aren’t cheap, but they’re hand-crafted and perfected before they reach your lips. Sitting at the bar, I was impressed to see the mixologists discussing recipes and ingredients, looking to improve elements at their disposal.

In conjunction with Vancouver’s Hot Chocolate Festival, UVA currently has a couple chocolate-based cocktails on their menu, which is the main reason we finally pulled the trigger and tried the place out. Mrs. Sip enjoyed the Black Widow (El Jimador Reposado Tequila, Cacao and Coffee Red Bush Tea, Averna Amaro Cherry Liqueur, and Plum and Root Beer Bitters), while yours truly ordered the Chartreuse Milkshake, complete with Citadelle Gin, Green Chartreuse, Cacao, Lime and Orange Juices, Chocolate Bitters, and Egg Whites. It was the first chance I’ve ever had to try Chartreuse and I will certainly have it again. Green or Yellow, it doesn’t really matter!

Hot Chocolate

Other beers I enjoyed over the week that was, included Red Truck Amber Ale, Ninkasi Total Domination, Persephone Wee Heavy, Granville Island Swing Span, Four Winds Pale Ale, Lighthouse 3 Weeds, and Driftwood Fat Tug IPA. Variety is, after all, the spice of life!

It’s been a crazy busy week, but the celebrating has been a lot of fun and it’s always great to catch up with friends and family over awesome food and drinks!

January 19 – On the Cusp

Birthday Bumps

On the Cusp double shots

It’s my wife’s birthday and after everything she does for me (and you readers – she is, after all, responsible for most of the photos that grace this site, as well as being my muse, my editor and sometimes my censor), I owe her a great deal of gratitude. Therefore, I decided to invent a shot to celebrate her big day (as if the brand new Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks jersey and other surprises weren’t enough!), mixing a couple of her favourites together in this week’s shot.

I started with a thin layer of chocolate syrup that will make for a nice chaser to go with the rest of the recipe. Remember rule #1: girls love chocolate. Also, chocolate can represent the “earth” element of Capricorn or how Capricorns are supposed to be all grounded and practical or other such nonsense. Next up, when I first met my wife nearly 11 years ago, she was a massive coconut fan and still is. I believe one of the first hard alcohols she ever got into – as is the case with many 18-year-old girls – was Malibu Rum, so that was definitely going to be part of the shot. I followed that with  some Chocolate Whipped Vodka because, once again, rule #1: girls love chocolate. Seriously, I have never met a woman that doesn’t love the sweet stuff. Even if a girl is allergic to chocolate, they will eat it to the point of needing an EpiPen. Finally we finish the concoction with Blue Curacao for no other reason than I think of the colour blue when I hear the word ‘Aquarius’. Decorate it all up a little with coconut shavings and there you have it, a beautiful birthday shot that you can say is homemade and earn extra brownie points to be cashed in when you’ve bestowed a handful or so of these onto the pretty lady!

And to think, I was originally thinking of making her a macaroni self-portrait… her loss!

Drink #19: On the Cusp

On the Cusp Shooter

  • Rim glass with coconut shavings
  • Pour a thin layer of chocolate syrup into the shot glass
  • 0.5 oz Malibu Rum
  • 0.5 oz Chocolate Whipped Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Blue Curacao
  • Sprinkle some coconut shavings into the shot

If you would like me to create a shot for you or your partner, drop me a line, let me know what you or they like and I’ll do my best to come up with something.

P.S.: Tequila week starts tomorrow, so I better see everyone doing The Worm!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (5 Sips out of 5):
This shot, a completely original recipe, might I add, was absolutely amazing. From the Coconut Rim, all the way through the spirits to the thin layer of Chocolate Syrup, the whole shebang was wonderful. Of course, I save only my best for Mrs. Sip!