We’ve all gone to a Jets game or a concert downtown and come out feeling elated after it ended. We looked at our friends, standing in the entrance of Bell MTS Place or shivering outside, and debated where to go for a nightcap. We didn’t want the night to end just yet, and we wanted to gush over what we’d just experienced. Should we go to Tavern? The Pint? Browns Social House? We could, but those spots tend to get crowded as fans flow out of Bell MTS Place, and they don’t offer much more than your basic pint of beer and your standard Caesar. If you’re looking for something a little bit different and much more intimate, here’s a list of places downtown and in the Exchange that aren’t your typical pub.
Nonsuch Brewing Co.
125 Pacific Ave
Tuesday to Saturday, 4 to 11 pm
Although they’ve been brewing and selling award-winning beer for a while now, Nonsuch only recently opened its taproom to the public. Located in Peg Beer Co.’s previous location behind the Centennial Concert Hall, Nonsuch had a soft opening during Nuit Blanche, exhibiting dozens of golden umbrellas on its ceiling, illuminated by just as many light bulbs. The room is tastefully decorated with black walls, so-comfy-you-sink-in-them sofas, and modern furniture. The vibe is very relaxed, perfect for both groups and couples.
Everything on their menu is $7: every beer, ranging from a Belgian blonde to a Baltic porter, is $7 (those with a higher ABV are served in slightly smaller quantity). Nosh on a delicious fruit and nut plate or dig into a massive bowl of popcorn with your choice of dill, chilli pepper, or truffle seasoning. The fantastic beer, relaxed atmosphere, and stellar service are sure to make Nonsuch Brewing Co. your new go-to bar—it’s definitely mine!
Forth Cocktail Bar
171 McDermot Ave
Tuesday to Thursday, 4 pm to 1 am
Friday to Saturday, 4 pm to 2 am
If you live or work downtown, chances are you’ve been to Forth for a coffee and a quick bite, or even to their tiny rooftop bar in the summer. But at night, through a separate entrance that leads to the basement, Forth Cocktail Bar comes alive in a speakeasy-style space below the café. The bar offers light bites, wine and beer, premium spirits (like mezcal and Japanese whisky), and great cocktails. The bartenders are also highly knowledgeable, so they encourage guests to let go of the reins and try something new by ordering the “Bartender’s Choice.” The space of this speakeasy is dark and cosy, making it a great spot for a late night cocktail.
Make sure to head to Forth Cocktail Bar on a Friday night for their weekly Forth Fridays event, where one of their resident DJs will be spinning their playlist from 10 pm until late.
Amsterdam Tea Room
103-211 Bannatyne Ave
Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am to 12 am
The absolute best spot for a boozy hot drink during the cold months. Not only does Amsterdam Tea Room offer a food menu specializing in Dutch delicacies (traditional bites, sandwiches, desserts, and more) and a selection of teas to rival David’s Tea (including their own in-house blends), but they also have a fantastic cocktail list.
You can have a hot boozy tea, made with tea-infused spirits (like earl grey gin, jasmine vodka and Scottish breakfast rum), or a refreshing tea cocktail. The cocktails are perfectly balanced, and you might be surprised to find matcha mixed with vodka or mint green tea shaken with bourbon. Co-owner Mark will be sure to make you feel at home and recommend the best brew for you. You might walk out of there with a bag of tea as well as a warmed belly!
Cordova Tapas & Wine
93 Albert St
Tuesday to Thursday, 8 am to 2:30 pm; 4:30 pm to 12 am
Friday, 8 am to 2:30 pm; 4:30 pm to 2 am
Saturday, 5 pm to 2 am
My favourite beer in the entire world (to date) is Delirium Nocturnum, a Belgian beer, but it’s very hard to find. If an establishment has Delirium at all, it’s almost always Delirium Tremens. Which is why I was so happy to see that in addition to tapas and wine, Cordova also specializes in Belgian beers—complete with the Delirium sign hanging above the bar! My ecstasy at finding Delirium Nocturnum in Winnipeg aside, Cordova is also a fabulous spot for a nightcap.
They have an extensive wine selection, carefully crafted cocktails, and delicious tapas. The candlelit atmosphere makes Cordova the perfect spot for an intimate nightcap over a bottle of wine and shared small plates, and it’s a must-stop for any Belgian beer aficionado.
75 Forks Market Rd
Monday to Thursday, 6:30 am to 11 pm
Friday to Saturday, 6:30 am to 12 am
Sunday, 7 am to 11 pm
I realized a few years ago that hotel bars are extremely underrated. They’re usually quiet, relaxed, open late, and offer a great selection of food and drinks and amazing service. Hotel bars just aren’t the first place most people think about when they want to get a drink somewhere! But you don’t need to be a hotel guest to enjoy the hotel bar.
My favourite hotel bar in the city, and one I’ve been going to for years, is Smith at the Inn at the Forks. The food is phenomenal, and if you’re not up for a meal, they have a large selection of small plates and sides. (My friends and I usually order a bunch of sides to share.) They have great local beers on tap that rotate regularly, a fantastic wine selection, and some seriously good cocktails. Like, seriously good (try the mezcal and beet cocktail). They have a list of classic cocktails and a list of Smith originals. They even have their own gin! Not to mention the décor is sleek and cosy, and no one is going to bug you if you stay in your Hudson’s Bay blanket booth for hours.
So on a cold Winnipeg night, after the Jets have once again made their city proud and you’re craving a nightcap to finish off your evening, try something new! Think of a crisp, locally-brewed beer, a cosy speakeasy, a warm tea cocktail, a juicy glass of wine, and delicious late-night food made by some of Winnipeg’s best kitchens. Downtown Winnipeg has a lot to offer if you know where to look…
Have you had a tantalizing nightcap at any of Elena’s favourite spots? Let us know what you recommend!