The Black Sheep Inn (Photo by: David Irvine)
The Black Sheep Inn (Wakefield, QC)
For the hip roadhouse vibe
With indie music, low-fuss food and hostel-style accommodations, this 1920s roadhouse is the poster child for laid-back Canadian coolness. Expect the patio to be filled with visiting musicians on the weekdays. The tone changes on the weekend, however, when day-tripping civil servants pour in from nearby Ottawa. Get there early to secure a seat at the south end of the patio, which features unobstructed river views; then order yourself a glass of lager and the popular pulled pork poutine. You are in Quebec, after all.
The Confederation Lounge (Edmonton, AB)
For the elegant ambience
Two-dozen single malts, 10 sipping tequilas and many other premium spirits line the cabinets of the Confederation Lounge. Order the Raspberry 75 – Moët and muddled raspberries – and then saunter outside to the terrace, which overlooks the lush river valley. Or raise a glass of Hennessy to the lounge's 100th birthday, coming next year.
Reposado Bar (Toronto, ON)
For the urban refrains
As one of the Ossington strip pioneers, Reposado is the largest curator of fine tequila and mezcal in Toronto. Live jazz, a leafy back patio and finger-friendly snacks make it easy to lose track of time. Ask one of the knowledgeable bartenders to recommend a flight of sip-worthy tequilas to see how age and distiller affect the flavour. As the evening progresses, order the crab cakes with a bianco and a traditional sangrita chaser.
Score on Davie (Vancouver, BC)
For the people-watching
Don’t let the tie-dyed underwear hanging from the rafters alarm you. Score on Davie is the welcoming heart of Vancouver’s vivacious, gay-friendly West End. For a tenacious culinary experience, order the notorious Checkmate Caesar. The four-ounce bevvy comes garnished with a whole roast chicken, a burger, a pulled pork slider, a hot dog, chicken wings, onion rings and a brownie (because, clearly, you’ll need dessert). All the seats have a great view of Davie Street, but the best people-watching is found right beside the sidewalk, where you are guaranteed to see all the colours of the neighbourhood.
The Port Pub (Photo: Stuart McLeod)
The Port Pub (Port Williams, NS)
For the locavore eats
Loved by the locals, the Port is the go-to option for Maritime foodies. The locally sourced menu pushes past traditional pub fare with dishes like the lobster poutine and bacon-wrapped Digby scallops. Grab a wooden chair on the patio, which overlooks the tidal-sensitive Cornwallis River and surrounding dike lands, and settle into what the regulars call a “three-beer tide.” (Translation: In the time it takes to finish three pints, the sandy river bottom will be deep under water.)
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