At Turtle Bay Pub, scenic views of Wood Lake enhance the experience of sipping cold brews and indulging in a diverse selection of pub fare. That cuisine ranges from hearty classics, such as racks of ribs or steak & Guinness pies, to lighter dishes, such as flatbreads topped with prosciutto, pear, and goat cheese. Live music sets the mood on Friday nights, and on others, it's set by the cheers and groans of patrons as they watch sports games. Sunday brunch, replete with omelettes and buttermilk pancakes, is also available.
The team behind Avenue Classic Bar sets out to create an upscale tavern with a warm, neighborly feel. A row of chandeliers shines soft light on intimate conversations below, as patrons nestle into soft folds of U-shaped leather booths. Bottles of top-shelf liquors rise from behind the bar, waiting to be plucked from obscurity and to melt some unsuspecting ice cubes. Stone walls and hardwood floors lend a rich quality to the upscale saloon.
At Gracie Barra Kamloops, students learn the art of the underdog: brazilian jiu-jitsu. This martial-arts discipline capitalizes on the concept of leverage to negate any advantage of size or strength. Its grappling techniques therefore enable a person to subdue a much-larger opponent using a repertoire of joint locks and chokeholds.
The instructors—two of whom are certified black belts—demonstrate their ground-fighting techniques during classes for all ages. These sessions hone self-defence moves while promoting overall fitness, much like kicking the panel of your StairMaster between each step.
Copper Mug Pub has been plating up belt-loosening eats since 1974, making Okanagan Life Magazine's top three pubs in 2011. Copper Mug claims to be among the oldest pubs in British Columbia, competing with younger pubs by sporting an 80-inch LCD TV, hosting a champagne breakfast every Sunday, and never accepting help when crossing a busy street. The menu's over-the-top Mug burger entertains and satisfies with an outlandish combination of fried mushrooms, bacon, and a fried egg. Thursdays at the pub feature wing night, and on Saturday afternoons, guests gather with their forks and ketchup-stained monocles during Baron of Beef lunches.
Bonitas Winery began its life under the name Hijas Bonitas, or "beautiful daughters," and was a way for vintners Diane and Lawrence to simultaneously celebrate their four daughters and their passion for winemaking. Their vineyard sits on the site of a former apple orchard against a mountainous backdrop and stretches toward the deep blue expanse of Okanagan Lake, where visitors can see the occasional passing sailboat or a migratory Loch Ness monster.
Bonitas grapes are transformed into myriad wines. Their crisp chardonnay, aged in French white oak, collects the wood's toasty and buttery character combined with citrus and apple flavours. Alternatively, a VQA merlot, part of the limited artist series, presents notes of black currant and cherry interlaced with influences from French and American oak. Patrons can sample these and other wines in a cheerful tasting room or carry a glass outside to a sun-drenched patio and infuse drinks with sunbeams, Mother Nature’s favorite garnish.
Tours lead guests around the sprawling vineyard and the winery interior, which hosts a bistro on the second floor that serves new North American and Asian fusion fare and overlooks the grounds and the lake’s rocky shores. For patrons who wish to experience the winery as a bald eagle would, Bonitas books helicopter tours through Northern Air Support, which fly over Okanagan wine country during the summer.