Need something to do this weekend? Here are five shops to check out while you're at the Khatsahlano Street Party.
Zulu Records, 1972 West 4h Avenue
As much as the West 4th Ave Khatsahlano Street Party is about public art, beer gardens, and superior street food, the big spotlight is traditionally on the music. This year’s headliners include Straight cover stars Hannah Georgas and Mounties, as well as a supporting cast of nearly 50 of the Vancouver indie scene’s best and brightest. How does Zulu Records fit into this, you might ask? That’s easy—for over 30 years, the Lotusland institution has been a magnet for anyone obsessed with alternative music. Back before you could learn about the Gun Club, Nirvana, or Subumans with a click of a mouse, Zulu was where you went to find their records. Ask anyone who’s ever been in a Vancouver band, and chances are they spent a good chunk of their youth scouring the store’s extensive collection of cutting-edge CDs (remember CDs?) and, more recently, prized vinyl. Need concert tickets for Parquet Courts at the Rickshaw, or whoever happens to be playing the Biltmore or Cobalt next week? Zulu probably has them. In the market for a silk-screened poster of that first time you saw the Arcade Fire, or retro-cool vintage stereo equipment? Zulu stocks both. Once you’ve taken in public art on Saturday, spent a few hours at the beer garden, and stuffed yourself full of street food, you know where to go to find the records of every homegrown indie band that’s just blown you away at Khats.
Middle Sister Boutique, 2137 West 4th Avenue
Despite what its name may imply, it’s hard to ignore this relatively new boutique on the trendy stretch of West Fourth. The airy, all-white space is known for its stock of hard-to-find Korean labels, a handful of which are exclusive to the shop. (Store owner and buyer Linda Sin—a middle child who grew up wearing hand-me-downs from her older sis—regularly attends Seoul Fashion Week to scout the latest styles.) Think mesh-panelled button-downs and two-tone trench coats by up-and-coming line LIE, straight-cut coordinates splashed with quirky florals from Ti:baeg, and sleek, black-and-white shirt-dresses by fashionista favourite Enzuvan. Alongside these cutting-edge wares are pieces born and bred in Canada: flirty, A-line frocks by Victoria-born designer Hayley Gibson and surprisingly dinner-party-appropriate crop tops from the Montreal-based Marigold. This eclectic mix of Korean and Canadian names extends to Middle Sister’s décor and accessories offerings too, where you’ll find a curated assortment of gift-able jewellery, throw pillows, tableware, and the like. Sure, walking through Khatsahlano’s shoulder-to-shoulder crowds with a shopping bag in hand may not be ideal, but we can bet you won’t be leaving this spot empty-handed.
Rain or Shine Ice Cream, 102–1926 West 4th Avenue
The name says it all—you’ll want to grab a cool treat at this sweet joint whether it’s pouring rain or blazing hot. There’s a reason why the line is always out the door, because this little shop knows exactly how to satisfy your taste buds. It scoops up classic flavours like vanilla and chocolate, to more fun and quirky tastes that range from malted milk chocolate to blueberry balsamic, and honey lavender to coconut chocolate chunk. If you’re feeling like a heavier dessert, sundaes (with whipped cream and a cherry on top) and milkshakes are also offered. But this ice-cream parlour’s star of the show is definitely the item that sells out quickest—the ice-cream taco: a mouth-watering taco-shaped waffle cone with a few scoops of ice cream, drizzled in syrup and/or topped with toffee bits. Oh, its ice cream is also made in-house using fresh and natural ingredients that are sourced locally and organically whenever possible, and some flavours are also gluten-free and vegan. Basically, its frozen treats can cater to the majority of green-conscious Vancouverites…while tasting delicious.
Salvation Army Thrift Store, 1906 West 4th Avenue
In the wise words of Macklemore, poet of a generation, thrift shops are “fucking awesome”. And no one “pops some tags” better than the Salvation Army at West 4th and Cypress. Purveyors of everything from hella tight Gucci to flannel zebra jammies, the store specializes in all kinds of clothing. Bargains abound on the athletic-wear carousel (we are in Kits, after all), where seasoned shoppers can tell you exactly where to find top-notch samples of last season’s yoga pants, padded cycling shorts, and slightly off-colour Under Armour shirts. And that’s not all. Alongside their extensive clothing section, the Sally Ann boasts a number of vintage kitchenware items (classy as long as you can deal with some ’80s floral patterns) and some great wall hangings (chic if you’re willing to forgive some sun damage). But let’s be honest—when it’s this cheap, who cares if it’s a bit pre-loved. “Fuck it, man,” as Macklemore would say. “I’m hella happy that’s a bargain, bitch.”
Las Margaritas, 1999 West 4th Avenue
The forecast on Saturday might be calling for rain, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a break from the festival to indulge in a summery beverage at one of Vancouver’s longest standing Mexican restaurants. Transport yourself to the beaches of Cabo with one of Las Margaritas’ classic margs and forget, albeit temporarily, that you smell like a wet dog. Available in eight flavours—lime, strawberry, peach, banana, mango, coconut, pineapple, and raspberry—this joint’s classic margaritas come loaded with 2.5 ounces of tequila, and are served in traditional fashion: on the rocks with a salt-rimmed glass. If you really need to warm up, or you just want to get wild during Hot Panda’s rockin’ set, upgrade to a large ($10.40) or monster ($14.25) size and let the tequila take over. If your palette’s too sophisticated for the classic, pull something from Las Margaritas’ expansive list of top shelf options. We like the Jalapeño for its perfect blend of heat and sweetness.