If you’re looking for an inventive, outside the box cocktail in Edmonton, Woodwork is without question the place to go. The long bar is one of the main features of the space, and for good reason — you’ll instantly want to pull up a chair and sample the libations the talented bar team has created.
There are takes on staple cocktails, like the Woodwork Julep, which incorporates Cognac and branca menta in addition to the standard bourbon. There are seven varieties of the classic Old Fashioned, each distinctive and well worth trying. If you’re with a group, a large format cocktail like the Woodwork Rum Punch is a must. And of course, the house cocktails — each one is more intriguing than the next, and there’s something to suit everyone’s palate.
You’ll obviously need a few bites to go with your beverages, which is where the bar snacks menu comes in. With options like marinated olives with pickled chili and game pâté, your snacks will be as memorable as what you’re sipping. – A.M.
10132 100 St., 780-757-4100, woodworkyeg.com
Clementine is a cool bar in the classic movie sense — it’s on a main road (Jasper Avenue), but a bit hidden, dimly lit and intentionally small. It’s where deep characters in a dark drama would go to speak few words but say a lot, with a dark, subtle background score, matching the mood of the room. The drink menu reads like most restaurants’ food menus, with long descriptions of fine wines and elaborate concoctions, and the servers are happy to help guide your tastes. It’s a bar’s bar, tended by experts who take their craft seriously, and know the value of becoming thoughtfully imbibed. – C.S.
11957 Jasper Ave., 780-756-4570, barclementine.ca
There’s a tall hutch at one end of Baijiu. Over it is a red lamp. But wait, that’s not a hutch — it’s a secret door to a 16-seat bar called Little Hong Kong. It’s designed to look like a speakeasy, and it’s open, first-come, first-served on Friday and Saturday nights. Whether you’re in the main restaurant/bar or LHK, expect an inventive, ever-changing menu of cocktails that emphasize tropical and Asian flavours. On my recent visit, I was taken by the Cardi Bee, with a little lemon and honey adding a dash of sweetness to a tequila base spiced heavily by an ancho chili. – S.S.
10359 104 St., 780-421-7060, baijiuyeg.com