Sip Trips #2 – Best of 2014

Well, Mrs. Sip and I didn’t get up to too much this last week in the booze realm, including a rare well-behaved weekend. We did make time to enjoy a couple craft beers, including Unibroue’s La Resolution and Wychwood’s Bah Humbug. This does give me the opportunity to finally publish my Best of 2014 Drinking Nights article. Some of the memories are fuzzy, but they made for an amazing year. Since all drinking days/nights are wonderful, I will not be ranking these… they will merely be listed in order of occurrence!

#1: Dominican Republic

Sadly, I got sick a couple days after arriving in the Dominican, but the first two nights of all-inclusive partying for Mrs. Sip’s 30th birthday were tropical bliss!

#2: New York

Bourbon followed by as true a cab ride as you can have in New York. Our buzz was killed a little by a snafu with picking up our City Pass tickets, but that was merely a bump in the road on an otherwise awesome first visit to the Big Apple.

#3: Portland Beer & Wine Fest

One of the best booze events I’ve ever attended and we were even the happy recipients of a pile of free tokens. When we returned to our hotel, I ended up triple fisting a few drinks to take advantage of the complimentary happy hour and the party just kept going. Late at night, I was the sole survivor, heading out to pick the family up some Voodoo Doughnuts for the morning!

Portland Guide

#4: Edmonton Airport

One would normally think that being stuck in Edmonton for six hours would be tragic. But the city’s airport – or at least their International Terminal – has one of best selection of bars I’ve ever seen. We made a point of turning our layover into a pub crawl, which certainly helped with falling asleep on the plane from Edmonton to Reykjavik, Iceland!

#5: Hamburg Garden Party

While visiting Hamburg, Germany, a garden party provided the setting for a family reunion. The craft beers Mrs. Sip and I brought with us from Vancouver helped loosen everybody up and the well-stocked party (highlighted by a bottle of Jack Daniels that I made sweet love to) kept the festivities rocking through the night. A torrential downpour of rain couldn’t stop our revelry!

#6: Self-Guided Vancouver Brewery Tour Weekend

Ever the adventurers, Mrs. Sip and I decided to take ourselves on a tour of Vancouver’s best bars and breweries, with stops at the Alibi Room, Postmark Brewery/Urban Winery, Brandywine Bartending School, 33 Acres Brewery, and Brassneck Brewery. Our typical good fortune was emphasized when we arrived at 33 Acres Brewery just in time for their first anniversary party!

#7: Made with Love

While I have some reservations about liquor events, I have nothing but love for Made with Love. Mrs. Sip and I bought tickets to this all-inclusive craft cocktail competition, in part because it fell on our 2nd wedding anniversary and seemed like a wonderful way to celebrate the occasion… oh, how right we were!

Bartender Juice

#8: Las Vegas Strip Drinking

Given that entire trips to Las Vegas are booze-fueled, it’s hard to narrow down any one day to highlight, but this one does stick out in my memory. It all started with an innocent game of Battle Shots at the PBR Rock Bar and then featured Hyde Lounge, gambling wins, Cirque du Soleil: Zumanity, dueling pianos at New York, New York, and a host of things I probably can’t remember.

#9: Surprise Birthday

Imagine my surprise when we showed up for what was supposed to be a friend’s birthday brunch and it turned out that the whole thing was meant for little ol’ me! I wish someone had captured the look on my face when the realization set in. Mrs. Sip always seems to find a way to outdo herself!

#10: Birthday Cruise Embarkation

Before the ship even set sail, we were all pretty loose (the bucket of beers, bottle of wine, and cocktails may have helped with that!), which made for a very fun muster drill. I can say with complete conviction that I’ve had worse! 😉

#11: Dave & Busters

I absolutely love this place, having visited three different locations (Honolulu, New York, Anaheim) in the last year and a half. It’s so much fun to play all the games while having a full-service bar at your disposal. Of course, the day started with Disneyland drinking, before we moved on to the fun and games at D&B’s.

GIFSec.com

#12: Bellingham Visit

All I can say is thank god we had a driver (Pa Sip), because I was pretty fuzzy after our tasting at Boundary Bay Brewery and it certainly made for some interesting shopping.

#13: Canucks game in Anaheim

When your day begins with an upscale bar (Disneyland’s Carthay Lounge) and ends with a fun sports bar in JT Schmid’s, everything else in the middle must be pretty good. In between, was a day of drinking at the “Happiest Place on Earth,” including California beers, wine tasting, thrill rides, and even animation tutorials!

#14: Hawaii

To celebrate Ma Sip’s birthday, we began at the Kona Brewery for tour and tasters. Next up, was Huggo’s on the Beach, where happy hour was in full swing and we were only too happy to join!

Some honourable mentions include an earlier trip to Portland for some beer tourism; traversing the Hamburg Reeperbahn; and surviving the wild Marrakesh market square. After all, it’s always fun drinking in a country that discourages alcohol consumption and I make it a point of every voyage to foreign lands!

January 18 – Lounge Lizard

Bar Hopping

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 Schmids

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

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

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

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

Lounge Lizard Drink

  • 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.