How does an iconic hotel such as the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver celebrate a milestone birthday? With a $12 million restoration and the opening of a pop-up roof lounge and restaurant!
The grand old dame’s 15th-floor lounge made its debut in 1939, soon becoming the city’s go-to place for fancy dining and dancing high above the city. Dal Richards and his 11-piece band made their name here back in 1940, when management booked a six-week gig for them that lasted 25 years. CBC later used the rooftop venue as a broadcasting space to host a weekly show.
Classic cocktails and splendour were all the rage at The Roof, known back then as the Panorama Roof. The lounge is now alive and well, ready to open later this month for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and daily high tea service (including Sundays). Executive Chef Cameron Ballendine has returned to Vancity from having cooked around the globe at restaurants in Egypt, United Arab Emirates, France, and China.
A Victoria native, Cameron’s happy to hang his toque back home on the West coast. His illustrious career includes serving dinner to Queen Elizabeth II, former US presidents Bush and Clinton, and Sir Elton John.
The view is breathtaking, spanning the coastal mountains, Point Grey, and Strait of Georgia from the banquettes and wing-backed chairs. The sunken bar is the restaurant’s other eye-catcher, and on the night of my visit, staff were busy prepping Moscow Mules and Negroni cocktails, as well as pouring bubbly and serving wine and beer to media in attendance.
Dinner will be the focal point of the restaurant, and will include classics such as oysters, French onion soup, prime rib (all meats certified Angus beef), pork and lamp chops, BC seafood, grilled chicken, and for desserts, lemon tart, chocolate cake, creme brûlée, and artisanal cheeses.
Look for live entertainment on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, and enjoy this special dining spot until the end of summer, when the space will become a private events venue.
Perhaps we’ll even see Dal return for a few more gigs before the end of summer. The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver is located at 900 West Georgia Street in Vancouver.