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Last night, I was invited to the opening of Vancouver’s newest lounge space, Grain Tasting Bar. Drawing its name from the reclaimed wood doors and accents located throughout, this new downtown player offers smoked wood-fired pizzas, salads, crafted sandwiches, charcuterie and cheese, and shared plates, all created with local ingredients.

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[Pear and ginger margarita]

Grain is located inside the Hyatt Regency Vancouver’s lobby, its entrance chic and urban. It’s the perfect spot to grab a light meal or drinks before heading upstairs to dine at Chef Thomas Heinrich’s other venue, Mosaic Bar and Grille.

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The salads on the menu are under the Lettuce section; a couple of salad choices that stand out are the Gelderman Farms pulled roasted pork and crispy kale salad, with Klippers organic butternut squash, apple, pea greens with apple vinaigrette, as well as the seared Vancouver Island Albacore tuna salad with farm tomatoes, arugula, and cucumber vinaigrette.

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On the charcuterie side, house-made duck proscuitto, Toscano proscuitto, and Okanagan salted and dried Sezmu beef are delicious choices to pair with Little Qualicum Cheesework’s Brie, Olde Farmer raw cow’s milk cheese, and Salt Spring Island Cheese’s Romelia. Softly-scented truffle honey, candied walnuts, pickles and other lovely accompaniments make the cheese and charcuterie experience complete here.

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Local suppliers such as Oyama Sausage, Gelderman Farms Pork, Skuna Bay Salmon, plus several craft brewers, wine makers and distillers keep Grain’s dishes high in both quality and sustainability.

Grain Tasting Bar interior
[Photo provided by Grain Tasting Bar]

The space captures a lot of natural daylight and looks equally imposing at night, offering city street views with lush trees outside the window.

Grain Tasting Bar at night
[Photo provided by Grain Tasting Bar]

In summer, the windows slide open to integrate the outdoors into the lounge, a creative, cutting-edge window design by Sunflex.

Grain bar
[Photo provided by Grain Tasting Bar]

I especially like the bar’s colouring and design. The shimmery ceiling reflects the lighting and bar stools below, almost adding a water-like quality. Everything from inventive cocktails, BC wines, and craft beer begin their journey here, in a beautiful space designed by California firm EDG Architecture.

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The cocktail list is equally fun and inventive: Cherry and Basil Margaritas, Bangkok Mules, Ginger Pear Martinis (my favourite–so far), Poet’s Reach, and Ruby Tuesday are just a few on offer. Hand-made, small batch Victoria gin, including concoctions from Long Table Distillery, the city’s first micro distillery, find their home here as well.

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Beers are available on tap and in bottles (both domestic and imported). You’ll feel at home with the BC red and wine listings, including Burrowing Owl Merlot, Quail’s Gate Pinot Noir, Mission Hill’s ‘Five Vineyards’ Cabernet/Merlot, Sumac Ridge’s unoaked Chardonnay, Prospect Winery’s Pinot Blanc, Haywire’s Gamay Noir-Rose and others. All wines are available either by the glass or bottle and range from $9 to $16/glass.

Judging from the last night’s scene, this will become the spot to hang your hat (or laptop bag) for some serious unwinding. Kudos to Chef Heinrich and his team for putting together yet another spot to celebrate simply delicious food and drink.

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Grain Tasting Bar is located at 655 Burrard Street and is open daily from 11 am to 1 am.

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