The Gastown wine bar takes its cue from Spain’s wondrous neighbourhood drinkeries.
Virtually every culture around the world has its notion of the “local”: small, casual, lively rooms in which people from the neighbourhood gather to drink (in a civilized manner, ideally) and mitigate the impact of alcohol with food. The North American tavern, the British pub, the Japanese izakaya—all of them have their unique charms. But the Spanish tapas bar may eclipse them all, not least because the truly authentic establishments among them customarily offer a steady, complementary procession of small plates so long as you continue to imbibe. And the food tends to be a model of simple excellence: good cheese, olives, bread, charcuterie, bite-size seafood… (Anthony Bourdain sang the praises of this practice in his Grenada episode of No Reservations. ) From Sept. 8 to Oct. 11, Salt Tasting Room, in collaboration with specialty purveyor Bosa Foods, imports the tapas tradition to Gastown. Dubbed the San Sebastián Experiment, each day from 3 to 6 p.m. Salt will offer the likes of aged Manchego cheese, white anchovies, marinated calamari rings, chorizo, and much more to customers enjoying libations from the room’s acclaimed selections of wines, sherries, and beer. Summer may be waning, but this is as good a reason as beach weather to knock off work early. Salt Tasting Room 45 Blood Alley 604-633-1912 Salttastingroom.com