Like arriving at school naked, going to school in a bustling bar is something that usually only happens in dreams. However, in BartenderOne?s signature MasterClass, that dream becomes a reality as students try their hand behind the bar at a variety of nightlife hubs during mobile, hands-on classes, taught by head bartenders from across the country. This class is just part of the school's unique offerings, which were created by the school?s founders, who surveyed 14 bartending schools on five continents before founding BartenderOne. They wanted to offer their students a preeminent bartending education, so they fused the best of the curricula they saw and left out archaic practices, such as memorizing lists of outdated recipes. The resulting classes?held in active bars to provide real-word experience?run the gamut from full bartender training to workshops on specific skills, such as martini-making, whiskey pouring, or balancing another bartender on your nose. The school is run by people who own and operate bars and restaurants, and they guarantee internships for all of their graduates.
The Highlander Pub is home to some 200 varieties of single-malt scotch whiskeys, as well as a main menu stocked with traditional Scottish favourites and eclectic, innovative hunger bashers. Pair a tasting portion of whiskey ($3.60–$81.25) with a wee taste of haggis ($10.95) or the popular Highlander cheese nachos, a tortilla, cheese, salsa, and vegetable concoction drizzled with purity marks of ranch dressing ($11.95). The solely Scottish menu features traditional tastings such as bangers and mash, with homemade semi-spicy sausages enhanced with a single-malt scotch, apple and leek cream sauce, garlic mashed potatoes, and Scottish colcannon ($11.95). Sweet teeth and sugar-seeking surface lickers will find solace in the classic apple crumble ($5.95) or the Baileys cheesecake, a light and creamy taste of decadence sitting stately atop a graham-cracker throne ($6.95).
D'Arcy McGee's combines Irish hospitality, pub favourites, and global twists. Digest the menu tome of lunches and dinners before ingesting palate preppers such as potato and bacon grillbread ($12.99), or dig into mild, medium, or hot chicken wings in one pound ($10.99) or two pound ($19.99) parcels. The house specialty fish 'n' chips ($10.99–$13.99) provides a round-trip-worthy taste of the coast of Eire without having to spend weeks in steerage. Alternately, give canines a proper chomp-for with a half-pound Guinness burger ($14.99), where freshly ground prime rib serves as the juicy bedrock for a mountain of Cahill's Guinness cheddar, roasted red peppers, and sautéed mushrooms.
The certified instructors at Tiny Hoppers nourish social and emotional development in fun, age-appropriate play classes. Each 45-minute Mommy & Me class is divided into groups according to children's ages and takes place amid safe play equipment on padded floors. Parent-child duos can take one of five Mommy & Me classes, each designed to encourage socialization while improving motor skills. Imagination Station classes encourage kids to play games in which they inhabit the personas of favourite children's characters such as Scooby-Doo, Barney the dinosaur, and Sir Richard Branson. Play Time at the Pond sessions integrate rhythm into coordinated activities that allow tykes to climb climbers, play under parachutes, and blow bubbles. While wee walkers and talkers frolic through more active classes, the Baby Play class whisks smaller tykes through games, finger plays, and songs aimed at developing motor and paralegal skills. Each Tiny Hoppers location maintains its own schedule of Mommy & Me classes.
The culinary artists at Obsession Lounge rouse taste buds with a creative menu of French fusion cuisine embellished with eclectic flavours. Diners can inaugurate francophone appetites with the escargot, a classic assemblage of garlic-butter-roasted snails nestled among mozzarella, fresh chives, and a crostini for soaking up flavour and building scale models of the Notre Dame ($10). To flourish the epicurean fete, chefs enlist a puff-pastry cocoon to harbour the AAA-Alberta-beef 6-ounce fillet, caramelized onions, and brandy-peppercorn sauce of the Wellington Obsession ($29). A collection of homemade, whole-wheat-crust pizzas such as the barbecue chicken pie, enlivened with bacon, barbecue sauce, and monterey jack cheese ($14) beckons contemporary palates, and gorgonzola cheese and sun-dried tomatoes accent the wine-infused marinara warming the made-from-scratch pasta noodles in the vegetarian merlot dinner ($17). As a chic, modern interior inspires patrons to nibble playful fare, Obsession's patio dining, like a recipe written in the Shakespearean sonnet form, inspires the summoning of romantic dishes such as the veal frangelica, dressed in cream sauce and roasted pecans ($19).
The Brass Monkey models itself after New York–style bars, encouraging revelry with 16 billiard tables, darts, draft beers, a menu of pub fare, and live music. Pool pairs grab sticks and a trash-talk phrase book as they deliberate play on one of four 9' Crown tables, four 7' Brunswick tables, or eight 7' coin-operated Valley tables ($1.50/game). As solids and stripes scuttle across the felt, players snack on a pound of jumbo wings spun in choice of sauce including four levels of hot, honey garlic, smoky chipotle, dry Cajun, or island jerk, plus a choice of ranch of blue cheese for dipping. Six draft beer varieties from Rickard's Red to Budweiser fill pitchers and refuel quests to secure an evening's worth of bragging rights or a full chalk beard. On Fridays and Saturdays, cue comrades can catch performances from original and cover bands, and Thursday nights, an open mic showcases local talent. The Brass Monkey also supplies free dartboards, though patrons must supply their own darts.