Equipped with varied experience and an in-depth knowledge of alcohol and service regulations, the instructors at Fine Art Bartending School guide their students toward mixology mastery or job placement in the bartending industry during intensive five-day courses. While many schools focus solely on the craft, Fine Art's instructors also hone customer service skills through a guest bartending program at local bars and clubs—teaching students tip-enhancing approaches and how to graciously deflect customer's attempts at Bryan Adams sing-alongs. They also hold individual classes targeted at everyday drinkers, divulging industry-style instructions for blending specific drinks, performing difficult mixes, or pouring the perfect beer.
At Dublin Castle Neighbourhood Grill, diners can feast on Dublin wings and yam fries inside a multi-storey castle-like building perched along the Fraser River. The building’s striking interior, which once housed the BC Penitentiary, are almost as noteworthy as the Irish pub food and libations at the area hotspot. Private events, corporate parties, and elegant dog weddings often take over the sprawling outdoor patio, while regulars can belly up to the bar to sip wines, beers, and whiskies.
In the dining room, the rhythmic pounding of a bodhrán hand drum mingles with the joyful melodies of a tin flute, flooding every inch of the space with an ebullience punctuated by onlookers’ clapping hands and tapping feet. The diners have left the feasts spread across their tables mostly untouched, their attention glued to the band in the midst of their lively song. Such moments aren't a rarity at Donegal's Irish House, but are an almost nightly occurrence at the jovial eatery that brings locals together to make new friends and share in internationally inspired meals.
Champions of fostering an atmosphere of community and friendship, the affable staff goes out of its way to make guests feel welcome, thanks to attentive service and an ever-changing calendar of events that keep inviting guests back. On select evenings, patrons can convene at Donegal's to watch a Canucks game or to see local bands. As guests chat and mingle in the dining room, the kitchen buzzes with chefs concocting Irish standards such as shepherd's pie and international cuisine that includes perogies and sausage, jambalaya, and butter chicken. Donegal's signature dish remains the whopping blarney stone burger, a 7.5-pound charbroiled Canadian beef patty that gets its eater a commemorative T-shirt and a place on the wall of fame if it's eaten within two hours with no help. Unsuccessful competitors, meanwhile, find their snapshot displayed on the wall of shame, under the most personal entry from their dream journals.
Just past Fleetwood Arms Pub's classic red awning, leather armchairs, wood panelling, and a crackling brick fireplace await loyal regulars, who frequent the eatery as much for its warm, inviting atmosphere as its menu of traditional pub cuisine. As flat-screen televisions broadcast sporting events, servers shuttle fish and chips, burgers, shepherd's pies, and imported draft beers to lacquered wood tables. Throughout the week, the strains of live music and karaoke cut through the pub's standard soundscape of jovial chit-chat and mournful whale song.