Given that there’s a whopping 300-plus restaurants participating in this year’s Dine Out Vancouver, all eyes—and noses and taste buds—will surely be on the plates. But alongside a lengthy list of prix-fixe menus is a lineup of shindigs that shine a light on the trusty liquid companions that often play a part in a memorable meal.
From distillery and coffee tours to wine-pairing dinners and tea-spiked tasting menus, here are the Dine Out Vancouver events that put the beverage first. All tickets are available online.
BC VQA Wine Brunch
(January 20 at Hart House Restaurant; January 21 at Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier; January 27 at Forage; January 28 at Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar)
Homegrown food and wine converge at four special brunches that will see diners pairing sweet and savoury dishes with their choice of B.C. VQA wines. Five wineries will be onsite at each mingler-style event, which will serve up comforting items like smoked-salmon Benedicts and home-style fingerling potatoes. Tickets are $62.
(Various dates at YEW Seafood + Bar)
Get schooled in a series of spirits-centric classes that will offer a crash course on what goes into some of your favourite bottles behind the bar. Run by leading bartender Lauren Mote, the sessions cover whisky, tequila and rum, or bitters, and include sample cocktails, small plates, take-home drink recipes, and a gift pack from Bittered Sling, the company Mote runs with her partner, chef Jonathan Chovancek, which produces small-batch bitters that come in inventive flavours like Arabica Coffee and Plum and Rootbeer. Tickets are $96.
The Art of Tea Gastronomy
(January 19, 20, 26, and 27; February 2 at TWG Tea Salon & Boutique)
Luxury tea brand TWG’s expertly crafted blends are at the heart of this five-course dinner, which will see the hot drink infused in the evening’s cocktails and plates. The tasting menu will draw from Ethiopian, Canadian, French, Moroccan, and Japanese influences, delivering a marriage of flavours complemented by a lineup of exquisite teas. Tickets are $131.
Urban Wine and Distillery Tour
(January 18, 20, 25, 26, and 27; February 2 and 3 departing at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station)
Vancouver’s craft-beer circuit may be the talk of the town, but our wine and spirits scene is hoppin’ (sorry) as well. Get acquainted with three of the city’s top winemakers and distillers—Vancouver Urban Winery, City Side Winery, and Odd Society Spirits—during this three-hour tour that will offer a peek into the booze-making process, plus a selection of libations and complementary bites. Tickets are $119.
Best of Vancouver Coffee Tour
(January 20 and 27; February 3 departing at Canada Place)
Independent coffee shops are about as common as dispensaries in Vancouver these days, so it’s no surprise that there’s a trek dedicated to the city’s impressive—and incredibly varied—caffeine scene. Those who rise and shine will be rewarded with lessons in specialty coffee roasting, cupping, and tasting at three cafés: Elysian Coffee Roasters, a local institution that boasts four locations in Vancouver; Kahve, which uses Calgary’s Phil and Sebastian beans; and Aubade Coffee, which crafts its cups of joe via Aeropress. Tickets are $86.45.
The Brewmaster’s Dinner
(January 20 at Big Rock Urban Brewery & Eatery)
Celebrate the launch of Dine Out Vancouver’s 16th season with three-course dinner at Vancouver’s Big Rock. In addition to concocting and pouring a special Dine Out beer, the brewery will serve up accompanying beer and cocktails with each dish, too. Live music and entertainment should also be expected. Tickets are $75.05.
Robbie Burns Celebration Seminar and Dinner
(January 24 and 25 at YEW Seafood + Bar)
Join celebrated bartender Lauren Mote and chef Jonathan Chovancek for an evening that will toast to Scotland’s favourite son. The revered poet will be honoured with a multi-course meal, a whisky masterclass, and a cocktail showdown between Mote and special guest Tess Posthumus, one of the Netherlands’ leading mixologists. Tickets are $133.
East Vancouver Craft Beer and Street Food Tour
(January 19, 20, 25, 26, and 27; February 1, 2, and 3 departing at Waterfront Station)
A hit with Dine Out goers year after year, this jaunt—conducted by the knowledgeable folks behind Vancouver Brewery Tours—offers curious imbibers a taste of some of East Van’s most eccentric suds. Attendees will start their trek at Strange Fellows Brewing then make their way to Luppolo Brewing and Andina Brewing, two newcomers to the local beer scene that draw inspiration from the flavours of Italy and South America, respectively. Tickets are $99.50.
Australia Day Wine Dinner
(January 26 at Café Medina)
Every year, the National Day of Australia falls within the Dine Out dates, giving brunch hotspot Café Medina the chance to host a dinner that celebrates the best wines from Down Under. Paired with a Mediterranean-inspired four-course meal that includes dishes like crispy pork belly and braised veal cheeks, the bottles have been specially selected by local sommeliers Jenna Briscoe and Jason Yamasaki. Expect citrusy Chardonnays, robust reds, and everything in between. Tickets are $98.More