LETTER FROM THE ACTING EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
May I offer you a drink? Whether your taste tilts toward dive bars, family-friendly pubs or sexy speakeasies, our inaugural guide to Canada’s Best New Bars has you covered (page 52). Tipped off to the hottest new openings by bartenders, journalists, chefs, sommeliers, mixologists and other industry experts, journalist Kaitlin Fontana sipped and swigged her way across Canada to introduce you to the nation’s freshest, most welcoming and most memorable watering holes.
Not surprisingly, the bars are as varied as the country itself — filled with crowds of revellers, in groups, pairs and solo, enjoying first dates and anniversaries, kicking back after work and going strong until last call. Decor and vibes are eclectic: these spots will transport you from Havana to Hanoi, from the 1950s into the future. And the drinks display innovation and a globe-trotting influence: locally sourced biodynamic wine, beer brewed with Japanese green plums, cocktails infused with rosewater and cardamom.
What remains consistent, though, is the sense of Canadian warmth and hospitality. The 10 places highlighted are popular gathering spots for locals, as well as the perfect gateway to a new destination for travellers — because if you want an inside line on a city’s hidden gems, servers and bartenders always have the goods.
Each year for nearly two decades, Air Canada enRoute has saluted the country’s best new restaurants. Visit canadasbestnewrestaurants.com to find the 2018 longlist, then come back to these pages next month, when we celebrate the top 10 spots. This year, we’re proud to complement that program with Canada’s Best New Bars. I’d like to toast the creative minds and mixers keeping our glasses filled and our spirits up. Cheers!