Winter has spring up its sleeve, and we all just want to put on some cute outfits and go out with our friends. Edmonton may be cold, and we could spend our time debating whether it’s tundra or arctic, but it’s way more fun to plan where we can go for a low-key night out! Deciding where to go takes on a whole new dimension when you’re wearing a glossy puffer coat and a pair of statement pants. If you’re looking to have a night out with your best girlfriends, YEG downtown is your scene.
What does low-key mean to you? Maybe you’re past the time in your life where you want to dance in a sweaty space, drinking paralyzers all night long. Having someone spill all over your shoes? You’re over it. Now that you’re in wedding planning mode, you want to go somewhere with a calmer atmosphere, where the music plays, but you can still enjoy scintillating conversation. Your taste in food has evolved just a little bit, and you’re looking for a sophisticated cocktail menu, the kind where all the drinks look so appealing that you take forever to decide what you want. Naturally, you need the décor to live up to the expectations of the fabulous (yet relaxed) outfit you’ve put together. In fact, your outfit is so understated that you’ve got the menswear jacket over a statement bra, and your shorts are so miniature that your blazer might be a dress. You’re too fabulous for words, and you need to get out and be seen, but in a very uncomplicated way!
Edmonton’s best-kept secret might just be Pablo, a downtown basement bar that is rated among the top 20 bars in all of Canada. Being listed on Canada’s 100 Best is quite a pedigree! In addition to the creative cocktail offerings, such as Porn Star Royale and Peach Penthouse, Pablo has a curated vintage atmosphere, which harkens back to the glamour of the 1960s Hollywood scene. Their motto is “serve people not drinks,” and it’s totally worth finding the secret entrance. The feeling here is arty and moody, and you look like a boss in your vegan leather leggings, cropped jacket, and built-in suspenders. You and your friends need this kind of atmosphere to lean back and enjoy some of your last nights out before you get totally wrapped up in wedding planning.
Maybe you’re looking for something dark and moody? At Bar Bricco, you can cultivate an air of mystery in your uptown bordeaux coat dress. You can find smaller tables, or just stand and have a few drinks before moving on. They serve a sophisticated selection of food and drinks, most notably the dolce far niente cocktails– “for savouring the sweetness of doing nothing.” If that doesn’t scream “laid-back evening,” then I don’t know what does!
At the centre of Rice Howard Way, you will find Bianco, a calmer version of a big-city restaurant and bar. The terrace is expansive and will come to life again this summer. If indoors is more your scene, you could choose an intimate booth to just gossip with your gal pals, and there is a fashionably inviting long bar area if you just want to enjoy drinks. You may demur, and say that you just want to relax, you don’t want to call attention to yourself, but your chequered pants and bra top are saying otherwise! It’s unfair to your outfits to keep them at home; you can be seen here, yet at the same time keep the mood light and subdued.
Next, the Bower is one of YEG’s sought-after destinations, and should be on your list of places to go when you just want to relax, soak up the old-school atmosphere, and enjoy a quiet, sophisticated night out with your friends. The wood paneling and luxury velvet upholstery evoke a feeling of old-fashioned, masculine cool, which will be the perfect contrast to your deep red silk slip dress. Their list of cocktails is spectacular, and you’re guaranteed to enjoy a relaxed and cozy evening.
Finally, you should try Bar Clementine for a clean, vintage, inconspicuous feel, where you can order from a list of “Try Before You Die” cocktails. The vibe is unassuming, and the menu is uncomplicated yet elevated, much like your little black dress with sheer lace overlay.
Whatever your mood, there’s a place for you to shine (in a modest, low-key way), and just enjoy yourself. Now, go out and have some fun!
Photographer: Katherine Kingston
Models: Mode Models
Hair and Makeup: Blush Artistry
Location: El Beso