Vancouver Weekender: February 1 through 3, 2013

Post work Friday night, glide into party-mode and switch things up a bit. Ditch the disco for the rink. That’s right, we said it. Sharpen those skates and head to Robson Square for a bit of night skating accompanied by DJs spinning until late. There are only a few weekends left to enjoy this unique offering in the heart of downtown – so take advantage of something a little off the beaten trend track.

Post-skate, we recommend you get warmed up with a deserving brew at the newly opened (as of Monday, officially) Portside Pub located in Gastown. This spot has already created a bit of a buzz (and we’re not just talking the sort that arrives after several pints). Courtesy of Mark Brand (Boneta’s, Diamond, Save-On-Meats), the historic 7 Alexander address has been dialled up a nautical notch. With 24 different beers on tap, several floors, plenty of whiskey, local brews and great East Coast-inspired eats to satisfy, this place yells ‘fun times’. Not to mention: they have a great line-up of live music to keep you entertained into the wee hours (perfect given the unfortunate news about the Waldorf’s future).

Saturday is all about easing into the day (it’s been a long week). So when it comes to breakfast, make it a greasy spoon-style by heading to one of these delectable diners. Deacon’s Corner is a definite favourite when in Gastown. It’s cozy, nicely decorated and serves up a tasty selection of brunch treats piled high on your plate (try the BELTCH). Or be sure to hit up Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe on West 4th where there is no shortage of food – and stuff to talk about. Since opening 25 years ago, the walls have been consistently added to with memorabilia, trinkets and random finds. The menu offers a multitude of choice – and even a dozen lighter fixes (so you’ll have room for their homemade pie afterward).

Sweeten things up by paying a visit to one of the featured cafes participating in the Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival, which runs until Valentine’s Day. We’ve had a chance to partake ourselves and recommend a definite stop at Gastown’s swanky Secret Location or Bella Gelateria (next to the Fairmont Pacific Rim). Once you’ve slipped away into a chocoholic’s abyss, be sure to make a casual drop-in at the hotel’s chic, laid-back Lobby Lounge for some live music. 

As for dinner plans on Saturday, be sure to get out and enjoy the final few days of Dine Out Vancouver 2013, or partake in the ongoing do-good feast fest that is Feast Van featuring more than a dozen local restaurants. If ever you needed a reason to revisit the award-winning Bao Bei in Chinatown, Feast Van will have you pining for it. A portion of proceeds from the 17-day long event go to support the Strathcona Centre’s Back Pack Food Program.

Come Sunday, work off the indulgence and hit the gym, go for a spin, or sweat it out and head to Bikram’s. Whatever you fancy, a bit of exercise is definitely called for. Next, pay a visit to Granville Island’s Public Market and get your health fix by loading up on locally sourced products for the week ahead.

If you have time, be sure to catch one of the blindfolded tours of our city as part of the PuSH Festival’s ‘Do You See What I Mean’ experience. Tours depart every 15 minutes from Access Gallery and invite participants to be part of a unique journey through every day life as part of this one-on-one theatre.

Lest we neglect to mention that Sunday just happens to be Super Bowl Sunday. You know that inevitably means that you better make your way to a local pub, drinking hole or whatnot. Game starts at 3:30PM PT – and there are lots of spots to choose from.  Our pick for game time: try The Local in Kitsilano, Coal Harbour’s own Cardero’s Restaurant or head to any Earl’s location. All spots guarantee a boisterous game-day atmosphere perfect for the task at hand. 

Photo courtesy Bao Bei