There’s lots to love about summer on the West Coast. For a start, we’re almost always guaranteed at least 17 days of sunshine. Then there’s the fact that casual Fridays make it perfectly acceptable to toodle into the office wearing ’70s-issue Adidas shorts and baby-blue tube socks.
The best thing about summer being right around the corner, though, is that patio season is officially upon us. To celebrate getting legally loaded in God’s great outdoors, we asked some of our favourite Vancouver acts for their preferred street-level spots, along with their favourite potent potables. Should you spot them at their favourite hangs, remember, the polite time to ask for an autograph is before you’re four sheets to the wind and two steps away from vomiting in the nearest bus pan.
She has yet to put out a record, but that hasn’t stopped Piper Davis from building a reputation as a must-see act, partly for her chilled-out brand of sultry electro-blues, and partly because the girl has moves that suggest Karen O possessed by Lykke Li.
Party Central: “I only drink whisky, so I’d recommend the patio behind the Irish Heather/Shebeen Whisky House [210 Carrall Street]. They have a huge list that they share, and it’s hidden and quiet. It’s also near Blood Alley, which is packed with ghosts, but far enough away that you don’t have to worry about getting haunted while you’re having your drink.”
Feel Free To Order: “The Lagavulin 16 Year [Old Single Malt Scotch] is my drummer Luke’s [Luke Cyca] favourite.”
As you might guess from Spoon River’s epically accomplished debut disc, Kingdom of the Burned, the band’s members grew up adoring the likes of the Band and Neil Young. Singer Tavis Triance writes the kind of songs that are as steeped in classic rock as they are in sun-flooded Americana, but when he gets to drinking, he likes a Caribbean vibe.
Party Central: “My favourite patio in the city is the Reef at 26th and Main [4172 Main Street], partly because you get direct sunlight by day and heating at night, which allows you to stay there for long stretches of time, and partly because the drinks they serve never actually let you stay that long.”
Feel Free To Order: “Usually we arrive feeling like Confederate generals and try to convince them to use the fresh mint for their mojitos to make us mint juleps. And when we get tired of that, we order their overproof rum.”
When the Black Halos finally imploded, drummer Rob Zgaljic and bassist Jahmeel Russell crawled from the wreckage to form Red Vienna, a band that embraces a more subtle shade of darkness on its self-titled debut EP. When not singing for the U.K.–flavoured, post-everything quartet, Russell enjoys high-end vodka, soaked up—surprise, surprise—at night.
Party Central: “The place that I’ve been to lately that I really like a lot is the rooftop patio at the Keg in Yaletown [1011 Mainland Street]. It’s absolutely gorgeous. I’m a big sucker for being able to see the city at night, and when you’re sitting up there, the view is just beautiful.”
Feel Free To Order: “I’m a big fan of vodka with a splash of club soda, and preferably Ketel One if they have it, which they do here.”
Forget casting about for fancy labels—gunsmoke post-country or peyote-sick garage rawk—all you need to know about Indian Wars is that the band’s debut EP, If You Want Me, sounds fantastically primal. Which might explain why singer Brad Felotick loves watching animals devour raw meat.
Party Central: “My favourite patio isn’t actually in Vancouver—it’s just across [the border] in Point Roberts. It’s Kiniski’s Reef Tavern [70 Gulf Road, Point Roberts, Washington]. You can sit out there on the beach and the owner, Nick [Kiniski], sometimes will grab some raw chicken and come out and yell, ”˜Come on, big chicken! Come on, big bird!’ Then two eagles fly out of a tree, and he feeds them on the beach right in front of you.”
Feel Free To Order: “Every pitcher of beer there is something like $9. I also like the bottles of Henry Weinhard’s.”
If “Turn down the suck”, “Give’r”, and “Fuck that chair up” are your mantras in life, chances are you’ve heard that a FUBAR sequel is on the way. We can’t think of a more appropriate band for the soundtrack than local monsters-of-metal Black Wizard, whose eponymous debut should have come with its own beer-can bong. When not bringing the thunder, singer-guitarist Adam Grant likes to watch the sidewalk surfers in the Royal City.
Party Central: “The Heritage Grill in New Westminster on Columbia Street [447 Columbia Street]. It’s right on the strip of New West, and it’s not overly busy. They have a patio out front where you can smoke. A lot of times there’s a huge lineup at night for this club next door—the chicks are always dressed really slutty, with heels they can’t even walk on. It’s on a hill, and when they’re trying to walk down it when it’s raining, it’s quite a spectacle.”
Feel Free To Order: “I’m going to go with the red sangria. It’s $23 a jug, and they soak the fruit in peach liqueur or something. It’s really tasty, and it will get you drunk.”