The Scotch ethos is strong in this one. The Bothy’s staff aspire to make whisky as palatable and appreciated as the wines of France. They’re impressively knowledgeable and ready to explain the difference between Speyside – sweet and complex – and Islay whisky – peaty and full-flavoured. To taste the nuances, order a flight and pair each of the three with international cheeses and a charcuterie plate, or cut through a savoury meat pie with a firm Highlands Scotch.-Omar Mouallem 5482 Calgary Tr., 780-761-1761, thebothy.ca
RED STAR PUB
With a well-constructed beer list that ranges from German wheat dunkels to Belgian bottles infused with fruit flavours, Red Star appeals to true brew-heads. And the small menu, designed by Daniel Costa before his Corso 32 days, goes beyond ordinary pub grub by offering quality over quantity. The roasted tomatoes in the crostini are sweet to the point of being dessert-like.-Steven Sandor 10534 Jasper Ave., 780-428-0825
At Canada’s smallest wine bar, 15 coveted seats let you interact closely with sommelier Dianna Funnell and like-minded strangers (summer sees six seats added to the patio). With 60-some international bottles, starting at $28, and 35 glasses starting at $5 each, Bibo gives wine connoisseurs lots to talk about. And, when they’re touching elbows, how can they not? –Omar Mouallem 9914 89 Ave., 780-437-5588, culinafamily.com
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