Where to Sip Wine in Vancouver

Wine

The Vancouver International Wine Festival takes over the city February 20 to March 1. With over 50 events—many of them already sold out—and hundreds of bottles of wines showcased, it’s no surprise that this festival is one of the most popular in Canada.

If you didn’t score tickets to Wine Fest, there are many restaurants, bars, and shops in Vancouver where wine is a priority and oenophiles can gain an education. Below, we look at some of the best places to taste wine in Vancouver.

Salt Tasting Room

Gastown’s Salt Tasting Room located in Blood Alley Square offers well-chosen wines by the glass along with cheese and charcuterie pairings. The small restaurant carries more than 70 bottles of wine, with many of them available by the glass, including sparkling, white, rosé, red, sherry, and fortified. For diners who prefer something else to sip on, Salt Tasting Room also serves a selection of craft beer, cider, and spirits. Specializing in artisanal cheeses and small-batch cured meats, guests are encouraged to create their own tasting plate based on the day’s chalkboard selections.

UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar

This downtown wine and cocktail bar below the Moda Hotel offers an impressive list of wines as well as cocktails. Sommelier Robert Stelmachuk keeps a cellar that focuses on Italian labels. Here, wines are offered by the glass or bottle. Alternatively, guests can leave the decision making in the hands of the experts and opt for a wine flight, which includes 2 ounce samples of three wines. A “Bubbles Flight” makes any day a celebration with samples of Prosecco, sparkling Riesling, and Cococciola. For an around-the-world tour, opt for the “New Empire” flight, which highlights wine-growing regions in New Zealand, Argentina, and Canada.

Vancouver Urban Winery

There’s no need to travel to the Okanagan with the Vancouver Urban Winery just outside of the downtown core. Located near Oppenheimer Park in Railtown, the Settlement Building houses a winery, brewery, and restaurant. Guests can pop in for wine tastings daily and select from a variety of flight options that highlight 25 “local” wines. At adjoining Belgard Kitchen, diners can pair these wines with chef Reuben Major’s modern comfort food. On weekends, stop by for brunch and start the weekend right with a wine tasting.

Legacy Liquor Store and Marquis Wine Cellars

Two wine stores make the cut because neither of these are regular liquor stores. In Olympic Village, Legacy Liquor Store not only carries an expansive selection of wines from around the world, but also hosts wine-tasting events on a regular basis. Many of these are free public tastings, and a calendar of events can be found on the Legacy Liquor Store website. Similarly in the West End, Marquis Wine Cellars is a speciality store that offers free wine tastings nearly daily and one of the largest selections in Canada.

The Wine Bar at Provence Marinaside

Enjoy a glass of wine with a view at the Wine Bar at Provence Marinaside. This intimate tasting room is steps from False Creek and focuses mainly on French wines and a few other Mediterranean countries, with over 50 bottles to choose from. Glasses of wine start as low as $7 and bottles run from $30 to around $150. To pair with the wines, enjoy French bistro-inspired bites, including grilled squid, spicy lamb sausage, and grilled artichokes. Daily deals means there is a reason to visit every day of the week.

Where to Watch the 2015 Oscars in Vancouver

Oscars

The 87th Academy Awards takes place on Sunday (February 22). Just because you aren’t one of the select few strutting down the red carpet that evening, it doesn’t mean you need to watch the Oscars on your home television.

A number of viewing parties will be taking place across Vancouver. Some of them even require a little gussying up. So throw on that ball gown or tuxedo, grab a glass of champagne, and make a date out of the Oscars this year.

Rio Theatre

East Van’s historic Rio Theatre will be hosting a free Oscar-viewing party on Sunday. Festivities kick off at 4 p.m. to watch stars walk down the red carpet before the awards begin at 5:30 p.m. The 19+ event will offer bar service and grilled cheese sandwiches from the concession. Attendees are invited to dress up pose on the Rio’s red carpet. There will also be contests, including Oscar trivia, to help fill the time between TV commercials.

Vogue Theatre

The Vogue Theatre downtown will host a similar Oscar party that’s open to all ages. The event, which is free by non-perishable food donation to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, kicks off at 3:30 p.m. The Vogue will also have a red carpet for attendees to pose on, and there will be an award for “best dressed”. Inside, enjoy champagne on special, a full-service bar, and movie snacks to keep film-lovers fueled throughout the awards show. Trivia, ticket giveaways, and a game of Oscar bingo will be added to the mix.

Cineworks

Talent Time’s Paul Anthony will host Cinework’s Oscar party, which means attendees should be prepared to get their laugh on. The fundraising event for the independent filmmaker’s society will start with cocktails and red-carpet screening at 4 p.m., followed by a Spanish tapas dinner provided by West End restaurant España and wine pairings. Diners will also be served a signature “Oscar” cocktail and local craft beer. Tickets to this event are $85 and available for sale online in advance.

The Bottleneck

The Granville Street restaurant and bar will host an intimate Oscar party starting at 4:30 p.m. Expect food and drink specials, commercial-break trivia, and prizes over the course of the evening. Reservations are recommended, but walk-ins are also welcome.

Whistler Film Festival

If you’re spending the weekend up in Whistler, enjoy a night out hosted by the Whistler Film Festival after a day of skiing or snowboarding. The Oscar party at the Firerock Lounge at the Westin Whistler runs from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and includes appetizers, a cash bar, photo station, raffle, trivia, and prizes. Attendees are also invited to dress in their best Oscar-worthy attire, or as their favourite character from one of this year’s nominated movies. Tickets to Whistler Film Festival’s Academy Awards screening party are $25 and can be purchased online or by calling 604-938-3203.

Five Downtown Vancouver Sports Bars to Watch the Game

RedCard

We all know that the best place to watch the game is at the arena, but not can score tickets to see the Vancouver Canucks, Vancouver Whitecaps, or B.C. Lions play live. The next best option, aside from the comfort of your living room, is cheering on your favourite team at a sports bar filled with likeminded fans. So put on your jersey grab a seat at one of these downtown Vancouver sports bars.

The Charles Bar

This Gastown bar and restaurant is perfect for catching the game, whether that be hockey, football, or more. Settle into a comfy booth with friends or pull up a stool to the bar and take in a game on one of the restaurants many HD television screens. While you’re there, enjoy a pint of beer and some classic pub grub, such as nachos, pork-belly sliders, and fried pickles.

Red Card

Tucked under the Moda Hotel in Yaletown, Red Card is a popular eatery for catching the game. In addition to airing all Vancouver Canucks games, the restaurant plays English and MLS soccer matches, UFC events, and more. Multiple TV screens means there’s no bad seat in the house. Snack on casual Italian fare, including pizza and pastas, while hanging with friends.

Score on Davie

Westenders know that Score on Davie is the best place to catch sports games—and devour inventive Caesars. The Davie Street sports bar is gaining a reputation for serving some of the wackiest cocktails on the Internet. Forget the typical bacon-and-bean garnish, the Caesars here are topped with chicken and waffles, stacks of onion rings, and even burgers and roast chicken. Come for brunch and stay for a Canucks game.

G Sports Bar and Grill

Just south of the Granville Entertainment District is G Sports Bar and Grill, where sports are just as important as food and drink. Enjoy the game on one of the restaurant’s 24 HD televisions, or on the nine-foot projection screen. It’s not just local matches that get played here, NBA, NCAA, NFL, MLB and more are also streamed. On weekends, doors open at 9 a.m. for UEFA and Premier League football—that’s soccer to North Americans—as well as Australian Rugby games.

Malones Social Lounge and Taphouse

This centrally located restaurant and sports bar shows NHL hockey, NFL and CFL football, NCA and NCAA basketball, MLS and European soccer matches, and rugby games on a daily basis. Malones features 18 HD televisions as well as a nine-foot projection screen. While you’re cheering on your favourite sports teams, snack on classic pub grub, including nachos, hot wings, soups, burgers, and flatbreads. Daily drink specials show off the restaurant’s 32 beer taps.

How to Resell Your Clothes Online

Consignment Clothes

Out with the old and in with the new. After possibly receiving a few new clothing items over the holidays—and taking advantage of Boxing Day sales—your closet may be bursting at the seams. Before you go ahead and fill a garbage bag full of clothing pieces you no longer want or wear, consider making a bit of cash by reselling your clothes. After all, your trash is usually someone else’s treasure.

There are a few things you should know about reselling your clothes on websites, such as Kijiji. Below are some tips on how you can make it work for you.

1. Are your clothes even worth selling?

While your trash might be treasure to someone else, some trash is just that—trash. Don’t bother selling clothes that are extremely old and well-worn. If it has stains, holes, tears, loose stitches, or the material is faded and pilling, it’s time to donate it for free (in some cases, you might just want to toss it in the garbage). Only resell clothes that you’d likely find in a consignment store, items that are new or like-new. The only exception might be for designer items. After all, an old Chanel purse is still a Chanel purse.

2. Take good photos

Nobody will want to buy your “amazing coat” if they can’t see it. Along with a description of the item, you should include at least one photo. Make sure to take a decent photo of the clothes, meaning good lighting and with the item either properly hung on a hanger. The more photos you can supply, the better. If you’re trying to sell shoes, be sure to take a photo of the top, sides, and soles of the shoes.

3. Write a good description

This is where the salesperson in you comes out. Be sure to write enticing—but accurate—descriptions of your clothes. This includes the brand, size, colour, and how many times the item has been worn. If you’d like, you can say how much the clothing item retails for (or how much paid for it), so that buyers have an idea of its value.

4. Be fair about pricing

If you think about it, these were clothes you were almost going to throw out, so don’t expect people to pay retail prices for them (especially if they could just go out to the mall and pick up something identical). A good rule of thumb is charging around 50 percent of the retail price for new items that still have tags on them, and 20 to 30 percent for “like-new” and “gently used” clothes.

5. Dive in and start selling!

It will take you a few tries of selling different items to gauge what types of clothes and shoes will sell and which ones won’t. The best way to get familiar with the market is to browse the clothing section of Kijiji yourself and see what else is for sale. One more thing to keep in mind is the seasonality of the clothes and shoes you’re trying to sell. You might not have the best luck trying to resell a winter coat right before summer, and high-heeled sandals in the dead of winter.

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Five Off-Beat Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day in Vancouver

VUW

This year, Valentine’s Day will fall on a weekend. Therefore, most people in relationships won’t have an excuse to not do something special for their loved one on February 14. While spoiling your date with chocolates, flowers, and a lavish meal at a restaurant always spells romance, here are five alternative date ideas for couples looking for off-beat fun.

Wine Tasting at the Vancouver Urban Winery

The Vancouver Urban Winery (55 Dunlevy Street) is a small oasis for imbibers just outside of downtown. Their tasting room is open seven days a week until 11 p.m. Stop by for a flight of B.C. wines, many of them “on tap” at this innovative beverage hub. In between sips, savour food pairings from Belgard Kitchen. Not into wine? This building also houses Postmark Brewing, so toast your relationship with a pint of ale or glass of rosé on February 14.

Paint at Raw Canvas

Unleash your creative side at Raw Canvas (1046 Hamilton Street) in Yaletown. The art  studio and restaurant offers customers the chance to fill a canvas while enjoying glasses of wine and tapas-style bites. If you’re feeling particularly lovey come Valentine’s Day, share a large canvas with your date and make art together. The best part about this place is that when you’re finished creating your work of art, the staff do all the tidying about for you.

Burlesque Show at the Rio Theatre

Spice up your Valentine’s Day with a burlesque show at the Rio Theatre (1660 East Broadway). This year’s Burlesque Duets presentation will feature eight of Vancouver’s top performers, including August Wiled and Nicky Ninedoors, Crystal Precious and April O’Peel, Violet Femme and Voracious V, and Melody Mangler and Mr. Diva. Tickets are just $20 in advance and the show starts at 9 p.m. Consider this the anti-Valentine Valentine’s date.

Dana Gould at the ComedyMix

Don’t take Valentine’s Day too seriously. Laugh your way through the holiday by taking your date to a comedy show at the ComedyMix (1015 Burrard Street). On February 14, the stage will be occupied by Dan Gould as part of the Northwest Comedy Festival. Gould has several HBO comedy specials to his name, and has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and Real Time with Bill Maher. He has also produced episodes of The Simpsons and Parks and Recreation. Two shows (one at 8 p.m., the other at 10:30 p.m.) means there’s double the fun.

Games and Jazz at Guilt & Co.

Transport your Valentine to a 1920s speakeasy. Guilt & Co. (1 Alexander Street) is an underground bar, restaurant, and performance venue. As you sip on prohibition-style cocktails, play an old-school board game or the giant set of Jenga at the back of the room, before the live music starts. On February 14, dance to the funky stylings of Harvey Paris & the Pulp Factory, which kicks off at 9:30 p.m. There’s no cover charge, so get there early.