Civic Holiday is the best bit of summer, amiright? You have your sticky-weather wardrobe down, so your look is peak. And there is still a long stretch of summer like, at least 30 solid days of possibility, of potential hookups, of time with bae, of hours with fresh Tinder bait ahead.
Long story short: It’s time to up your drink game. Here’s how to crush it, from west to east.
Mountains, harbor, city and beach: Canada’s jewel on the Pacific offers the best nature has to offer. And day or night, there is no need to throw shade on the Van City patio scene.
You’ll want to be where the action is at in Gastown: for people-watching, for mountain vistas, for sea breezes, for the European city square. Two great bets here are Chill Winston and The Flying Pig (there are other locations of this local fave around town).
Gastown is hot because of its identity as a hub for new media companies, and comes complete with all the trimmings, like vintage shops, galleries, clubs, gastropubs and of course patios.
Best served with: Fish tacos with slaw and mango salsa.
Young and eligible, Calgary is thirsty. Of course, the city’s many cowboy and beer bars (not to mention mechanical broncos) are world-renowned. But sometimes you really want a proper drink, some tunes that slay and (TBH) some potential hookups to scope out. Or at the very least, hot people.
Hit Proof Cocktails and Curiosities on 1st Street for awesome drinks, tiny plates and no reservations or lineups ever. The secret sauce here is space to relax. Allowing only the correct ratio of buns to chairs, if things are crushed, staff will take your number and leave you free to explore, then summon you back when your cozy table is ready.
National is a Calgary institution that remains evergreen in its hip factor. There are four locations around town, each with its own vibe and fun gimmicks rock’n’bowl, DIY DJ vinyl nights, best all-day happy hour but it is the patio at the 8th Street location that really has us hooked.
Best served with: a Tiki umbrella on Industry Sundays on 8th.
Canada’s biggest city sees cocktail culture trends come and go and then come back again. And while there are great classic patios around town the Black Bull on Queen for bikers and sunburn; Bar Raval on College for artsy rubbernecking; the Pilot, a total classic on the rooftop at Yonge and Bloor the more exciting news is the little patios attached to bars in more next-wave hoods like Junction, Roncy, Leslieville and Chinatown.
An exciting new destination downtown is the Nueva Vista Social Club, a Cuban-inspired lounge in the sleek and chic DEQ Terrace at the Ritz-Carlton. It’s got everything: throbbing Latin beats, eats and classic rum cocktails, especially the mojito and Cuba Libre. Also worth a trip is the hidden gem Cold Tea in Kensington Market, with its concrete bunker of an interior courtyard.
Best served with: a muddler, for grinding up organic herbs. Of all kinds.
There is nowhere more full of FOMO in Canada than Montreal on a hot summer day. The path to amaze streets St. Laurent and St. Denis is well worn and timeless. But in the stifling summer, you will want to be in the cool, cobbled streets of the Vieux Ville.
For four levels of fun in the sun, check out Terrasses Bonsecours, a Miami-style outdoor tapas restaurant that turns into a nightclub when the sun goes down. Sangrias and punches are the big thing this summer.
Best served with: a hotel room in the Old Town to sleep it all off.
Canada’s East Coast is famous for its warm welcome and its embrace of the few months of sunshine and cheer, which peaks on the August long weekend.
The downtown bar scene is best seen from a patio somewhere like Argyle Bar & Grill, which is known for its awesome mojitos. Or if your crew is vegan or veg, you can’t beat The Foggy Goggle (also downtown on Argyle Street.) for great comfort-food options to soak up your celebration.
For an elegant setting right on the waterfront, head to The Bicycle Thief, where you’ll be treated to soul fulfillment, Italian style. There you’ll find the finest cocktails, cheese and charcuterie or a meal by the sparkling Atlantic.
Best served with: lobster, obvs.
6. Try this at-home bro!
Because you’ve mastered red rum punch, slayed the Cuba Libre and bent your blender on pina coladas. It is time to master the muddler.
Mint is at its peak across Canada, so get snipping from your container garden and crush some ice. Pro tip: A good home mixologist knows how to grab a bar towel and crush those cubes down to size with a hammer no ice crusher necessary. It’ll impress your guests, and it’s mess-free.
2 parts BACARD Limn
4 lime wedges
12 fresh mint leaves
4 lemon wedges
2 tbsp. simple syrup (or 4 tsp. sugar)
Sprig of fresh mint and wedge of lime to garnish
Muddle mint leaves and lime in a tall glass. Cover with simple syrup and fill glass with ice. Add BACARD Limn and club soda; stir well. Garnish glass with a lime wedge and sprig of mint.