This happy hour, I was invited to an exclusive sneak peak of the official opening debut of Kringle’s, a festive Pop Up Holiday Bar
at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Located in the lower lobby, downstairs from Hornby Street entrance. (Hard to find if you don’t know where to look).
Before this occasion the space was left empty so the hotel’s manager challenged the team to come up with a creative use for it, and the results are amazing. An explosion of Christmas in oversized presents and red bows, golden reindeer centre pieces, cloth napkins folded into trees; and a sea of metallic ornaments, hand glued and suspended, travelling down the length of the glass partition and as the centrepiece to a collection of golden frames on the walls. The decor will certainly having you pulling out your camera with the perfect backdrop.
The smaller area has pocketed seating for couples and small rooms for more intimate parties. We had the whole of the space to explore and enjoy, whilst drinking a small collection of their signature winter cocktails and enjoying small plates from their delicious menu.
Starting with a glass of sparkling at the door, as a warm welcome.
At the bar the bartenders were slinging out multiple drinks at a time.
The Polar Vortex was eye catching in a pastel purple-blue. If you look closely you can make out the edible lustre used to give the cocktail its sheen. Northern Keep vodka, cointreau, lemon, and lustre. It tasted like lemonade, except heavy on the vodka.
The Starry Night Negroni drank more like a whisky sour with its egg white foam. Suntory whisky, pomegranate, campari sweet vermouth, and a sprig of rosemary.
The Year Of The Trees was my favourite with the little edible tree garnish sitting atop of a king cube. Knob Creek bourbon, del maguey mezcal, amaro nonino, and terra spice. This was slightly smokey with a smooth honey finish.
For bites we tried them all, starting with Fried Brussel Sprouts with anchovy butter and parmesan crumb. I practically ate a whole plate. Each sprout was well seasoned and salted, simply delicious.
The Maple Garlic Glazed Chicken Fingers was a fun treat. Light herbed breading for a nice crunch and a dip of gochujang bbq aioli on the side to pack some punch.
I also really enjoyed the Garlic Brioche Pull Apart Bread. So fresh and spongey, each section pulled apart so easily. I had half a loaf, sticking to the more savoury sunchoke hummus as my spread over the sweet potato option.
There was also a Local Charcuterie and Cheese plate, ideal for the selection of wines on menu. Pickled vegetables, olives, grainy mustard, baguette, and fruits.
The Albacore Tuna Tataki with ponzu, scallion, and chilli threads was a nice light option. Fresh fish in a pool of fragrant broth.
The Mortadella Parfait came out different than what we expected, based the menu’s description. Toast cut into points, used as a base for a dish of meat spread, topped with crushed pistachio and pickled honey mushroom. The texture of the mortadella was not like a dip, but more of a pate you take with knife.
The Caramelized Onion Flatbread straddled on salty and sweet with a topping of blue cheese, pear, walnut, and fresh arugula on crispy bread.
And the Arancini balls were fried to order and still hot and steaming at the centre. Perfect rounds of mushroom dipped into pomodoro sauce and parmesan.
And before we concluded the evening, the Fairmont team brought out the magnum bottle of Möet as a surprise. In celebration of the season, and as an advent calendar of sorts. For the 25 days counting down to Christmas, hotel guests will be treated to a little luxury surprise. And seeing as today was the December 1st, all here were able to take part and indulge with a taster pour of champagne.
To summarize, this is definitely the most luxurious of all the Christmas pop ups I have been to this year, and the one to not be missed. I will have to return myself ans are 12 cocktails for the 12 days of Christmas, and I only got to try 3. The other 9 are worth checking out with interesting ingredients like truffle, cantaloupe, and ice wine.
Kringle’s at the Castle
900 W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V6C 2W6