O’Byrnes Irish Pub.
What is still one of my favourite bars in all the world (including bars I’ve been to in New York, San Francisco, my own Vancouver, Seattle, Vegas, etc. etc. etc.) not for any one particular reason, but for all the reasons your neighbourhood pub is irreplaceable:good food, fond memories, friendly random strangers, a great patio, the best music, and many, many, many amazing drunken nights. Plus where else on the planet can you sit down and pour your own pints of Guinness?
Luckily, Oilers fans have a hub here in Vancouver in the form of the Black Frog, where Edmonton fandom runs rabid and bleeds copper and blue. Even so, nothing compares to actually attending a game in Edmonton at the outdated, Stanley Cup banner-laden arena and drinking Rexall beer and eating slices of Boston Pizza pizza. When the Oilers win a game, the LRT rides home are loud with drunk fans yelling “WE WANT THE CUP!” even though we all know that’s not actually going to happen, and if they lose, you’re commiserating with good company who all understand the painful sting of Oilers losses. There’s nothing like it.
Alley Kat Beer
A trip back to Alberta wouldn’t be a trip back to Alberta without Aprikat and Main Squeeze. And remember when they had that seasonal cranberry ginger beer? Alley Kat is craft beer.
Sunsets From High Level Bridge
Sunsets in Vancouver are indeed nearly as stunning as prairie sunsets. But I can remember the first time I saw one, from my friend’s window in residence. Her entire room turned this bright, vibrant shade of marmalade and beams of light shone through the window. Every cliche crossed my mind when I saw that sunset. Every cliche crosses my mind with every prairie sunset.
When you want a food coma, there is nothing else that satisfies like a po’boy and sweet potato fries. And if you can fit in the bananas foster after, you’ve not only experienced the quintessential Edmonton food coma, but you’ve experienced southern comfort culinary perfection.
Summertime Whyte Avenue Walks
The first sign of summer in Edmonton is when you walk down Whyte Avenue and it’s so full of people, you have to weave your way through the throngs of Edmontonians who are so happy that it’s not -40 anymore. There’s ice cream and patios and sandwiches and late-night tacos and teeny tiny little clubs with one disco ball hanging from the ceiling where you’ll have the most fun you’ll ever have. The whole neighbourhood, the whole city, just lifts. It’s wonderful.