The bartender at the Riva Supper Lounge notices something peculiar about the patrons he's been serving. All of the men are between the ages 35 and 45, and all of the women are between the ages 30 and 45. It's not a coincidence; it's a speed-dating event hosted by 25dates.com. Since 2002, the site's staff has created age-specific dating events like this for straight, gay, and lesbian singles in LA, Chicago, New York City, and all across Canada. At a typical event, they set up attendees with 25 one-on-one dates, each lasting three minutes. After each mini-date, participants write "yes" or "no" behind the ID number of the person they just met. 25dates.com then finds mutual matches and exchanges the two parties' contact info. More than 75% of participants find at least one match, a number that has caught the eye of myriad press outlets. If a mutual match can't be found, attendees receive free admission to a future event.
Chalkboard menus and sports memorabilia adorn the inside of The Sin Bin Sports Grill, where full lunch, dinner, and brunch menus keep bellies as full as the bar’s event calendar. Sports fans join their ilk beneath 106 inches of projected television screen, and comedy fans take in standup one to two times a week. During lunch and dinner, tapas, blue-cheese-decked strip steaks, and burgers accompany the entertainment; and come midday on weekends, brunchers can sink their teeth into a variety of benedicts: blackened chicken, smoked salmon, and portobello gouda are just a few of the options.
Rendezvous Club may not have a hidden stock of cupid’s arrows, but it does have its fair share of date cards. While they may not be as whimsical as love-yielding weaponry, club founders Hillary and Chris have found they tend to be just as effective. At some chapters, Rendezvous Club's hosts hand the cards out during speed-dating parties and dinner-dating events that serve three-course meals. Using them, singles can jot down the names, characteristics, and preferred Monopoly game pieces of people they’re interested in meeting again. For those who prefer more organic dating atmospheres, Select locations feature less-structured singles parties and mix-and-mingle events that round up singles and let them converse on their own, aided by complimentary appetizers.
At The Academic Public House, patrons choose from a huge selection of specialty cocktails, whiskies, and craft beers, and peruse a menu of nibbles made from locally sourced meat and organic cheeses and eggs. Crispy pancetta surfs atop the Modern Pub burger’s grass-fed beef patty ($14), and the blackened chicken sandwich’s brioche bun hoists Maple Hill Farms free-run organic chicken, BC farmstead cheddar, and veggies ($14). Reasoning with the Angry mussels ($12) requires a cool head, acquaintance with Robert’s Rules of Order, and an appreciation for thai coconut curry, ginger, and basil. Modern twists settle themselves in brunch favourites such as short-rib hash ($14) and late-night treats.