Ever ask yourself why, when it rains 10 months of the year on these shores, we have to suffer through torrential monsoons in the summer? If you’ve spent the past two days working the umbrella like Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins, you aren’t alone. Here’s a collection of bits and bites to divert your attention away from the fact that, once again, Vancouver in the summer looks the weather every day in The Road. Enough already.
Chupito wins a round
You know the old saying about how you can’t fight city hall? (And, no, we’re talking about the George Carlin quote, which hasn’t aged well considering how bat-shit crazy the world has become the past few years.) While that may be true, you at least sometimes get a sane decision that goes in your favour. On that front, July has finally brought some good news for Gastown cocktail-nation fave Chupito.
First opened during the hell that was the pandemic, the outdoor patio launched at 322 West Hastings behind La Taqueria in 2021. Flash forward a bit, and the semi-hidden location was tagged as a can’t-miss by the folks behind the Michelin Guide in 2022, setting Chupito up for a massive season this summer. And then the city got involved earlier this year, suddenly getting stuck on the fact that an onsite shipping container/bar was a permanent part of the restaurant, making Chupito ineligible for a temporary patio license it was granted in 2021 and 2022.
That the shipping container was part of the restaurant the previous two years evidently no longer mattered. Anyhow, after months of fighting city hall, including going through the media and bringing in lawyers, the Gastown spot is back in business. After entering through the alley, you can once again kick back with top-flight food (hello, callos en aguachile verde!) and insanely greats cocktails (don’t miss the Zipolite with aged rum, pineapple, coconut, demerara sugar, lime, and ginger). Don't forget to marvel at the fact that, with all the problems the Downtown Eastside has, a shipping container that serves as a bar was flagged as a big one.
Where: 322 West Hastings
Parq becomes a Pride hotspot
One of the flashiest buildings in the city, Parq Vancouver will serve as an official sponsor partner for this year’s Vancouver Pride Festival. Highlight events will start on Friday (July 28) with the Third Annual Posh Ball on the complex’s 30,000 square-foot rooftop. A Drag Queen Slot Tournament takes place on August 3, with a drag brunch running August 6 at Honey Salt. During the coming weeks, Parq (situated at the end of the Vancouver Pride Parade route) will also be raising and donating funds to the Dr. Peter Centre, A Loving Spoonful, and Rainbow Refugee, all of which provide essential programs for the city’s 2SLGBTQIA+ communities. Watch for cocktails like the Rainbow-Rita until August 15, with a dollar from each drink going directly to the Vancouver Pride Society.
Where: 39 Smithe Street
Beaucoup gets cool
Admit it—at this point in the game you’re sick of Mr. Freeze freezies, ice cubes made out of lychee juice, Popsicles (except the lime ones), and ice cream lineups that stretch from 2nd Avenue to King Edward on the less-busy nights. And, so, you need new options when you want to cool down with a treat in Vancouver.
With its Kits and Dunsmuir locations, Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe is a favourite spot for those who wish every day started with a trip to a Paris patisserie; when geographical location stops you from popping into Stohrer on Rue Montorgueil, you’ve got a go-to for artisan pastries like the almond double-baked croissant and the hazelnut dulcey cake. Now, as we wait for the clouds to part and the sun to finally arrive on the West Coast, Beaucoup co-owners and siblings Betty and Jacky Hung have, as in the past, added two frozen options to their menu.
The vanilla blueberry iced mousse parfait offers a caramel-lime cake with walnut pralines, lime crémeux, and BC blueberry jam. The aptly-named Chocolate Indulgence has a dark chocolate brownie and chocolate-chip cookie sandwiching a milk chocolate and semifreddo, with a pecan milk-chocolate glaze finishing things off. In announcing the two items, Beaucoup pastry chef Betty Hung said, “Growing up, our parents always gave us ice cream on special hot and sunny days, and we’ve kept up with that tradition.”
Where: St. Regis Hotel, 602 Dunsmuir Street
Published and Ursa Major get heavy
Published continues to shoot for world—or at least West Coast—domination with the recent unveiling of Heavy Is The Head, a collaboration wine with Okanagan Valley-based Ursa Major. Only available in Vancouver at the Michelin-starred restaurant in Mount Pleasant, Heavy Is The Head is a blend of gewürztraminer, riesling, and pinot gris.
The organic grapes used in the wine-making process come from the Ursa Major’s new Stoneface Vineyard, located on the Naramata Bench. Redolent of apple blossom, green mango, and lemon cake, Heavy Is The Head is available by the glass, or as part of a curated flight.
Where: 3593 Main Street