Raising The Bar
The mountain is open and what does that mean?!?! Baileys before 9am is perfectly acceptable, and more importantly Après season has officially arrived! I won’t deny, to you friends, the thought of hitting the GLC or Dusty’s for well-deserved beverage and appie with friends post-turns has been my entire rationale for going riding many a day.
In the past, I would have made the assumption this “need” equated to the establishment’s lacking requirement to deliver a quality product. They have us hooked, so can slack on both customer service and tasty cuisine as we are blinded by fun entertainment and ambiance.
Lately however, with my microbrew pint and savory salad roll in hand, I have been proven otherwise. This realization was accompanied with a question of preference by a foodie friend as to – given the choice – which I would choose: high quality food or superb customer service. I responded initially with an irritated, “How sad is that! It is a choice more often than not, and a complete surprise if you can get both!” This considered, I find it ironic the setting I find I get to have my cake and service too is in the lounge and bar world. Cozied up to friends in a booth or perched on a bar stool I have seen the expectation for bar food is not quite as high as the average restaurant. For many patrons it is a matter of just getting something in the body, but I am a little bit more demanding, I suppose, for my hard-earned coin.
When asked for recommendations on après-worthy hangouts, I keep in mind this is an integral part of the Whistler culture. I am quick to endorse a visit to GLC where I know good food AND good times will be delivered with a smile. A certainly adequate wine, beer and cocktail offering, paired with extensive fresh flavours for a pub that could likely survive on location alone is impressive. But it is worth noting these locales depend on the bar and après scene demand where most restaurants have a bar area basically as a holding ground for those who haven’t booked ahead. It seems even more so surprising then when the restaurant bar can turn out a heightened experience to the restaurant itself. This is my new discovery.
Sure, the food is the same, as is the company culture, but somehow the friendly banter across the bar with someone who seems to enjoy their job has recently drawn me in. In many establishments, the chaos of the dining room can almost be too much not only for the diner but shown on the faces of the servers positioned there. Even in restaurants where the food and service throughout are up to snuff, I have found myself requesting a stool bar side as it gives me, quite literally, a heightened experience.
At The Flying Pig, in Vancouver’s Yaletown, the tucked away feel, and instant camaraderie gained amongst us, the barkeep, and fellow trough dwellers only adds to the fabulous fare and libations. True, when you pull up only a few feet from the server’s domain it is difficult to not receive acknowledgement, but she is busy too. With the bar close at hand, I have the ability to taste test the Razor’s Edge Shiraz before committing, and can easily request a small alteration without causing a scene to the delectable Beetroot and Arugala Salad. Oh, and even to a vegetarian, seeing an entire bar lined with the monstrous Red Wine Braised Beef Short Ribs is awe-inspiring and leaves me salivating.
I have found my new fav spot and it is not one distinct restaurant but a location and type of ambiance within the dining world – bar side for two please.