This will be my last post about Vancouver, I promise, at least for the foreseeable future. But in case you’re planning a jaunt north, I thought I’d share a few of my findings before I forget them.
1. The Diamond in Gastown. I didn’t find the Diamond, I followed the Tales cocktail crowd there. And I’m so pleased I did. In discussions about Vancouver cocktail destinations, you hear about L’Abbatoir, Pourhouse, The Keefer, and West. But not the Diamond. In any case I’d never heard of it. But I loved the tiled walls and the old-world feel and the easygoing staff and the really good drinks. You’re not in the states, so might as well ask the ’tender to make you something with Havana Club.
2. These are the sort of bargains I always wish I knew about when traveling: At the high-ceilinged Yew lounge in the Four Seasons, bottles of wine are 50 percent off on Sundays. (I was loving the food friendly BC sauvignon blancs I tried when I was in town). And If you’re in Vancouver for business, the cushy chairs by the glass fireplaces work great for booze-enhanced meetings.
3. The Templeton Diner. This is a tiny diner on Granville Street sandwiched between a bodega and a sex shop. There are individual jukeboxes at each booth, those one-serving boxes of Frosted Flakes and Rice Krispees that you may recall from childhood, and bowls full of little jam packets with foil lids. I hope I’m not making it sound kitschy because it’s not. It’s perfect. Breakfast is served every day until 3pm—I was all set for typical diner fare and was surprised with organic turkey sausage and pillowy, seed-flecked slices of multigrain toast.
4. Amtrak will subtly sell you a bus ticket for your return trip when you think you’re buying one for the train. Look closely when you book. If your ticket costs $40 instead of $45, you may be going Greyhound. The man at the ticket counter in Vancouver said that no one mentions this to travelers in Seattle "because they’re afraid they’ll lose customers." No kidding, that’s what he said.