Category Archives: Dining & Drinking

Things to Do in Vancouver: November 2013 Edition

Ah, November… that month between Halloween and Christmas, where your neighbours to the left still have rotting pumpkins on their porch, and your neighbours to the right had their Christmas lights turned on the second the clock struck midnight on November 1st. Lucky for us, there’s plenty of fun events, festivals and fairs happening around town for the next four weeks – check out our (growing) list of Things to Do in Vancouver: November 2013 edition. Sound off in the Comments section and let us know of any other events we may have missed that you think should make the list! If you’ve attended any of these events last year, we’d love to hear your feedback on them as well!

Every Friday NightFriday Night Late Movies at the Rio
November’s Late Night schedule was just released, and every Friday this month, you can catch 80s and 90s classics at the Rio – The Lost Boys, Thelma & Louise, Drop Dead Fred and Heathers (in that order).

Every Saturday from 10am-2pm - Vancouver Winter Farmers Market
Check out the Winter Farmers Market at 30th & Ontario (Nat Bailey Stadium) for some fresh, local, organic eats.

November 7th – 10thVancouver Asian Film Festival
VAFF brings 40 films from local, American and international filmmakers to Vancouver this fall, including one on “Linsanity” with Houston Rockets’ Jeremy Lin; a cop thriller with Those Asian Guys from “Dexter” and “Twilight Saga”; a North Korean comedy (yes, really) about a trapeze artist; a Japanese documentary on being “hafu” (mixed race); and a chiller about an Asian serial killer with a very particular angle. All screenings take place at (my favorite theatre in town) Cineplex Odeon Tinseltown.

November 7th – 11th –  Circle Craft Christmas Fair
Yep, it’s November, which means it’s basically Christmas. Vancouver Convention Centre West plays host to this year’s Circle Craft Christmas Fair, where you can check out everything from glass blowers to toy makers to sculptors and jewellery designers. Admission is only $10 (or $6 if you go after 5PM).

November 7th – 14thVancouver Jewish Film Festival
The Vancouver Jewish Film Festival is the longest running Jewish film festival in Canada. We have an established track record and we are proud to bring the best and most current films to our Vancouver communities. The Festival is inclusive and encourages multi-cultural interaction and presents high quality entertainment. Comedies, feature dramas, thrillers, hot and timely documentaries and whimsical shorts are programmed to appeal to a wide audience base.

November 11th – 17th, 2013Hopscotch Festival Vancouver
Vancouver’s premium whiskey, beer and spirit festival is celebrating its 18th year in 2013 (that’s right, if the festival were a person, it could legally drink in Alberta!) Renowned as one of the best drinking festivals in the world, Hopscotch Festival boasts over 100 booths, 300 products to taste, as well as a slew of master classes and satellite events. Prep those livers, Vancouver!

November 11th, 2013Remembrance Day at Victory Square
This Remembrance Day, take a moment to stop and pay your respects at Victory Square in Gastown. Their annual Remembrance Day celebration and parade takes place from 10am-12pm (I work right across the street, and every year I make a point to leave the office and check it out)

November 14thYoga with the Beluga Whales
Vancouver Aquarium will be hosting Yoga with the Beluga Whales from 8:30-9:30am on the 14th, where participants will be able to enjoy the serenity of the underwater beluga exhibit while doing the most Vancouver thing possible… yoga. Tickets are $31.50.

November 16th – 17thEastside Culture Crawl
The 17th Annual Eastside Culture Crawl – Vancouver’s 3-day visual arts, design and crafts festival. This event involves more than 15,000 people visiting artists in their studios in the area bounded by Main Street and Victoria Drive north of First Avenue in Vancouver, Canada. I would argue this is one of the most exciting events of the month – it’s a great place to admire all of this city’s dedicated local talent, soak up some culture, and hopefully spark some of your own creativity!

November 17th – Deck the Dark
Deck the Dark is a Strathcona Community guerilla event to bring light to dark spaces, will be happening in MacLean’s park on Sunday November 17th at 4pm. Lights, equipment, and warm drinks will be provided for the community to come together and sporadically light up the space during the beginning of the dark winter months. Residents are welcome to bring their own lights and equipment to add to the display.

November 22nd – 24thVancouver Alternative Fashion Week (VALT)
VALT provides Vancouver’s wildly explosive alt-fashion scene with a unique departure from more traditional runway shows. This multi-day event boasts over 50 jury-selected artists, musicians, performers and fashion designers, in a celebration and promotion of unbridled creativity. VALT 2013 blends music, art, technology, culture and fashion into a fully interactive and immersive experience over 3 nights of futuristically-themed revelry. This year’s theme is broken up into three components – Utopia, Dystopia and Techtopia. Check out VALT 2013 at the Centre for Digital Media. Tickets are $25/night, or $60 for a weekend pass.

November 23rdUgly Sweater Run
Trendy marathons seem to be the thing to do these days in Vancouver, so rummage up the Ugliest Sweaters you can find and celebrate the Holidays by participating in “the best 5k of the year.”  Join thousands of runners and walkers from around North America at a local Ugly Sweater Run near you. If you’ve never run a 5k before, this is a great way to burn some calories before receiving hot chocolate and beer. Cost is $39 if you’re running solo, or $34 if you’re in a group of 4 or more – all proceeds benefit The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada.

November 23rdCandyTown: A Yaletown Christmas Festival
We checked out CandyTown last year, and it was good ol’ fashioned holiday fun. Mainland street was lined with booths that were selling snacks, hot beverages and Christmas ornaments/decorations, there were ice sculptors putting on live shows, a skating rink built by the Skytrain, horse-drawn carriages, and (the best part of the entire day in my opinion) an adorable one-antlered reindeer. Cool to see that the event will now be an annual occurrence on Mainland Street!

November 30th, 2013 – January 4th, 2014 - Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge
I actually just made a trip to Capilano Suspension Bridge this past weekend (my first time going in about 6 years) and I absolutely loved it – The bridge itself still terrifies me, but it’s a great way to spend an hour or two and enjoy the great outdoors. When I went, I noticed a ton of staff lurking in the trees hanging Christmas lights (in prep of Canyon Lights). For some outdoor holiday fun, be sure to check out this annual event, where the entire park is decked out in thousands of twinkling lights. Yes, admission to the Bridge can be a bit pricey, but you’ll feel good knowing that proceeds will be donated to the BC Professional Fire Fighters Burn Fund.

November 30th – Christmas on the Drive
The event is on November 30th, 2013 from 1pm- 5pm in Grandview Park (between Charles & Williams Street on Commercial Drive). Santa Claus  will be at the Park (BYOCamera), Horse & Carriage Rides, Ice Sculptures, Photo Booth, The Vancouver Opera will be singing, Kids Activites,  a goody bag for the first 200 hundred people and the lighting of our huge Christmas tree in the park around sunset. All activities are free or by donation with the donations going to The Kettle Friendship Society.

The Parlour Yaletown Fashion Shows Mixer

THE PARLOUR YALETOWN FASHIONSHOWS MIXER – January 28, 2013

LuvnGrace & Bella Garnet Beauty Salon presented a social mixer and series of fashion shows this Monday at The Parlour Yaletown, a stylish restaurant at the heart of Yaletown.  It was hosted by Fashion TV’s Mandy Ross and formulated in association with promoter Vernard Goud.

The Parlour features a menu festooned with comfort foods, featuring a variety of artist inspired gourmet pizzas, i.e. #swag.  Even the pizzas have hashtags, but it includes golden honey as a topping (!).  Drinks wise, in addition to the variety of beers, the lounge is most well characterized by the wines on tap.  So I guess I would have to call it a pizza and wine parlour.

The relaxed and classy atmosphere was the perfect place for a social mixer.  A place where
one can appreciate culture and art, in this case via fashion shows.  Comfortable antique wooden sofas included.

Featured Fashion Shows (in order of appearance):

TRINA MARIE CAIRNS bringing the western high fashion dresses, combined with all the hattery by HIVE MIND MILLINERY

New pieces from the always bold and unique ROGUE DESIGNS

Sexy Peruvian designer swimwear via QISPI KAY BIKINIS

NANCY PERREAULT featuring shiny sparkles and Justin Voitic w/ Mickey Mouse Sunglasses

With the featured fashionware encasing the NUMA MODELS and (some) JAGERMODELS. 

7 Days of Drinking: Daily Vancouver Drink Specials

7 Days of Drinking: Daily Vancouver Drink Specials

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re proud to present you with the 7 Days of Drinking… Don’t judge us… We just like to be consistent. We may live in one of the most expensive cities in the world, but thankfully our booze (can be) cheap. Here’s your guide to some of the best watering holes in town that won’t break the bank.  Let us know your go-to spot in the Comments section!

MONDAY

Relish Gastropub – 888 Nelson Street
Mondays are the worst, but $3 beer is the best. Be sure to check out Relish (located at Hornby & Nelson) – it’s a cozy gastropub that offers up some great pub food (and, of course, cheap beer).

TUESDAY

Hooker’s Green & New Oxford – 1141 Hamilton Street
Hungover from Monday night’s shenanigans? Drink it off. Hooker’s Green is a fairly new pub in Yaletown that serves up $2 schooners of lager and puts on a live comedy show every Tuesday. They’ve also got a pool table and some billiards if that’s more your thing. Upstairs from Hooker’s is New Oxford – one of my favorite Donnelly Pubs – where every Tuesday they serve up $3 pints. It’s not often that the  words “cheap drinks” and “Yaletown” are used in the same sentence!

WEDNESDAY

Earls on Top – 1185 Robson Street
Everyone loves Earls, but more so, everyone loves cheap beer. Hit up Earls on Top on Wednesdays for $3.99 18 oz pints of Albino Rhino. Great people watching patio overlooking busy Robson Street. You can be a creep from a distance!

THURSDAY

The Pint – 455 Abbott Street
Kitty corner to Tinseltown, The Pint has quickly become a Gastown staple. Thursday nights they offer up $4 pints of ANY beer on tap (yes, that even applies to Guinness). The Pint is hands-down one of my favorite downtown pubs for a few reasons – it’s huge, they have a wide variety of beer on tap, the food is top-notch, and the staff is awesome. Also, I believe if you get there between 4-6PM, $6 gets you a pint of beer and a pound of wings.

BONUS! Original Joe’s – 2525 Cambie Street
Want your damn mind blown? Go to Original Joes (on Cambie & Broadway) for HALF OFF bottles of wine. Seriously. Not to mention OJ’s has one of the best views in town (it’s located on the top floor) and a great summertime patio. But seriously… $14 bottles of wine.

FRIDAY

Soho Billiards – 1283 Hamilton Street
It surprises me how few billiards clubs or pool halls there in this city, but thankfully there’s Soho in Yaletown. Grab a few friends, rent a pool table ($15/hour), and enjoy some $3.75 highballs! Great place for a chill night with some friends.

SATURDAY

Yaletown Brewing Company – 1111 Mainland Street
Okay I’m starting to realize that maybe “cheap drinks” and “Yaletown” appear in the same sentence quite often. Everyone knows Saturday is the worst day of the week for drink specials, but Yaletown Brewpub serves up $5 “Brewer’s Selection” beers. The place is huge, and they serve up some great eats and have a massive selection of beer on tap. Great patio (in the summertime) for some good old fashion people watching, too.

SUNDAY

Oasis Ultra Lounge – 1240 Thurlow Street
Located in the heart of Davie Village, Oasis has been a neighbourhood staple for years. Though the bar may be best known for its bumpin’ weekend nightlife, Oasis also hosts a more laidback and intimate ‘Social Sunday’, serving up $8 pitchers to curb your hangover. You read that right… EIGHT DOLLAR PITCHERS. Oasis also has a great appie menu and one of the best patios on the block.

Pink Elephant Thai VIP Christmas Party

Pink Elephant Thai VIP Christmas Party

This past Monday, LuvnGrace threw a VIP Christmas Party at Pink Elephant Thai, which included fashion shows from Timeline Boutique, Smooch Boutique Swimwear & Element 7 Style. The venue was packed, housing hoards of models, photographers, media pro’s and a few notable Vancouver names.

Smooch Boutique showcased a very diverse line of edgy women’s swimwear, with pieces that were young, playful and (at times) daring. With collection names like “Adore Me”, “All Dolled Up”, “Resort Chic” & “Lounge Chic” it’s obvious that there’s something here for every woman, for any occasion that calls for swimwear. Needless to say, the vision of swimsuits had just about everybody in the room longing for summer…

Timeline Boutique is a consignment shop specializing in high-end women’s wear, boasting brands like Louis Vuitton, Betsey Johnson, Fendi and Jimmy Choo. Timeline is one of only a handful of high-end consignment shops in Vancouver, and they offer up dozens of brands at up to 90% off retail. A friend who frequents Timeline said that a lot of the clothes they carry still have the tags on them (Christmas shopping, anyone?) Now, if only they carried menswear…

Last but not least was Element 7 Style – a company specializing in body jewelry. The brand makes cool, edgy pieces that can instantly dress up even the simplest of outfits. Most of the pieces have been “upcycled” – that is, made from a combination of vintage and new materials. I’ve actually been familiar with Element 7 for a while – the lead in a film I worked on in 2011 wore some of their pieces in several scenes, and just about every woman on set needed to know where they were from.

This was my first time visiting Pink Elephant Thai, so my friends and I sampled a few items off the menu – all of which were amazing. If you’re thinking of checking it out, I’d suggest wrangling a few friends and sharing one of their group platters (huge variety of food & good portion sizes). Their signature bright pink booths, in-house DJ, great menu and all-around cool vibe make for a great joint to grab some dinner, or have a few cocktails (or if you’re me, do both).

Who said Mondays couldn’t be any fun? ;)

The Keefer Bar

The Keefer Bar

135 Keefer Street
Vancouver, BC
V6A 1X3

Anytime someone asks me my favourite place to grab a cocktail in town, my answer is always the same: The Keefer. In a city littered with lounges and bars, there are very few that stand out as spectacular. The Keefer is THE stand-out (in my humble opinion). It hits the nail on the head when it comes to selection, service, price and (most importantly) ambience.

One of the first things you’ll notice about The Keefer Bar is that it’s located under the super exclusive set of residences. The top floor is their infamous penthouse suite, where countless celebrities have stayed, and a variety of movies and TV shows have shot at (most recently, the Real Housewives of Vancouver filmed an episode in the suite, which ended with a booze-fuelled cat fight in the elevator). The penthouse suite truly is spectacular – and most notable is the private rooftop terrace (which includes a full-size pool, hot tub and out door kitchen) with a 360 degree view of Vancouver. Needless to say, I never wanted to leave the suite during my brief time in there.

The Keefer Bar has a beautiful glass-walled patio that is very warm and welcoming – ideal for a date, catching up with an old pal, or just for some good old fashion people watching (seriously, Chinatown plays host to some very interesting people). When you walk inside the bar, the first thing you notice is that it’s very dark, long and narrow. The interior is designed after an apothecary, so the walls are lined with jars of ancient herbs, skulls, bones, and X-rays of the human anatomy. The walls are painted black, and they rely on little to no lighting (aside from candles, and the backlight from the X-rays on the walls) – when you couple the lighting with the decor, it creates an almost haunting yet intimate atmosphere that I can spend hours in (and trust me, I have). There’s one TV in the joint, which plays distorted surveillance footage of the bar – which I love. Going for a cocktail should be a social experience, not two people awkwardly gazing up at Sportsnet or CNN anytime they run out of stuff to talk about.

The Keefer has a very extensive drink menu (which they refer to as “remedies”) but during my last visit, my friends and I decided to put our fate in the hands of our amazing bartender, Keenan. We kept it simple: we told him what kind of alcohol we’d like in our drink, and if we wanted something sweet, sour, or strong. Needless to say, five minutes later he plopped down four custom drinks that we were each over-the-moon about. The bartenders at The Keefer clearly love their jobs, and are genuine and passionate about the drinks they make (and the people who order them). Although some of the cocktails might seem a bit pricey on paper, keep in mind that most of their drinks have 3 ounces in them (and they often have great drink specials, depending what day of the week you stop by). They also have a pretty decent tapas menu, with skewers, spring rolls, edamame dip, Chinese churros (yum), and duck sliders (“snack-sized” portions, all of which are priced very reasonably between $6-12).

The bar also plays host to musical acts and DJs from time to time, which just adds to the cool factor. They also have themed nights – including Wednesday (when they unleash a “tickle trunk” full of random costumes for patrons to throw on, with music by Top Less Gay Love Techno Party), and their very popular burlesque nights on Thursday.

Overall, The Keefer provides top-notch cocktails, tasty tapas, and a truly unmatched ambience – yet it does so without feeling exclusive or pretentious. It draws quite the diverse crowd too – from the trendy twenty-somethings to the business crowd. So grab your friends, significant other, or your coworkers and grab a cocktail at The Keefer Bar – you won’t regret it.