While being privileged to travel the world, I’ve made numerous stops in bars and lounges, some good, some bad. Here are my favourites:
JT Schmid’s – Anaheim, CA
There is nothing like seeing the sea of Vancouver Canucks fans invade this bar in Anaheim (conveniently across the street from the Honda Centre) after a Canucks-Ducks NHL game. Enjoying a hefeweizen beer in the outside patio with its fire pits and heaters: $10; a mass of Canucks fans booing the hometown Anaheim fans looking to enjoy a pint: priceless!
Jimmy’s Taphouse – Vancouver, B.C.
Jimmy’s is my hometown favourite to grab a pint. Reasonably priced drinks, excellent food and the best part is that the place is just a block walk away from my apartment and has a cool view of our city’s Colosseum-style library. It is also one of the few places downtown where I can find Red Truck Lager. They also have the occasional customer appreciation night where you, the valued customer, can score some free pints and food! Jimmy (whoever he is) is my man!
Hyde Lounge – Las Vegas, NV
This is one of my favourite, surprisingly hidden, attractions in Sin City. Here, you can sip a wide array of martinis and other cocktails and although the drinks are a little pricey, it is well worth it for the front row view of the Bellagio’s water fountain show. I’d stay here all day if it wasn’t for the previously mentioned prices and after about 9pm, they start pumping club music into the place, rather than the music that goes so perfectly with the fountains. Therefore, after a few warm-up drinks at Hyde, and looking to stretch our money a little more, we’re off into the night, eventually ending up at…
The Pub – Las Vegas, NV
It may not have the cleverest title, but two words: dueling pianos… the greatest bar invention since the keg. This bar, located inside the Monte Carlo, is amazing. You can get a pint of beer or shot of Jameson Whiskey for $2… I am prone to doubling down and getting both. Mixing beer and liqour… it’s really the only gambling I do in Vegas. The dueling pianists – once again, that’s pianists – take requests from the audience all night long and because of the ample seating in the bar, we’ve never had an issue getting in. The food here is also decent and while there are other dueling piano locations on the strip, this is far and above, my favourite.
Willie T’s – Key West, FL
My wife and I did a self-guided pub crawl when our Western Caribbean cruise stopped in Key West, Florida. Pay $40 each for the cruise-sponsored excursion, only to be taken around and still have to pay for drinks on top of that??? Fuck that noise! They hit a trio of places, while we squeezed at least eight places into our crawl – best described as more of a stagger. I say at least eight because although we were trying to take a picture outside each place, well counting wasn’t our forte that day. Our preferred stop along the crawl route was Willie T’s, which is very recognizable thanks to the dollar bills stapled all around the joint. To top the story off, we paid a combined total of $50 on drinks and food!
The Fox & Fiddle – Toronto, ON
I spent a lot of good nights at The Fox & Fiddle during my year living in Toronto. Notable for its incredibly huge team pitchers (approx. two pitchers in one), it was here that I spent April Fool’s Day, Canada Day and my birthday that year, as well as my karaoke debut (probably due to the aforementioned team pitchers). Sadly, it was also the setting for my goodbye round of drinks with all the friends I made over my stay.
Coco Bongo – Cancun, Mexico
I hate clubs. I mean absolutely downright hate them… except this little gem. A Mexican specialty your cover charge is all-inclusive. They serve you tequila shots as you wait to enter the place, then once you’re inside, guess what, more tequila shots! The music is rocking, drinks are flowing freely, and just when you think it can’t get any better, the show element begins, as dancers, actors and stuntmen do takes on movies like Chicago, Spiderman and others. All of a sudden confetti and balloons are being shot around and it all gets pretty epic. What could be the cherry of this awesome sundae? Oh, I don’t know, how about a midget dressed as Beetlejuice pouring a shot into your mouth!
Drink #18: Lounge Lizard
- 1.5 oz Dark Rum
- 1 oz Disaronno
- Top with Cola
- Garnish with lemon wedge stand for umbrella (umbrella sold separately!)
It should be noted that I’ve found another variant to this drink, same name, but different ingredients, which completely change the look of the cocktail. The second Lounge Lizard combines melon liquer, blue Curacao, coconut rum and lemon-lime soda and you can bet your sweet bippy that I’ll be making it sometime in the future. So, continue checking back at the ol’ Sip Advisor and keep on keeping on!
Part 2 of my favourite bars will be posted in the future, along with another wonderful cocktail. Have a great weekend, all!
Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I really enjoyed this drink. It’s simple yet delicious. It makes me wonder if there’s anything Disaronno (Amaretto) can’t mix well with, as I’ve yet to find a concoction where it doesn’t hit the spot.