Putting the spotlight on a downtown that’s lighting up after dark
Once considered a ghost town after dark, downtown Edmonton has recently received a reviving jolt of energy. Stylish wine bars, sexy lounges and sleek restaurants have reached critical mass in warehouses and buildings that once would have met their fate with the wrecking ball.
Arts District and Churchill Square
The latest addition to the Arts District is the new Art Gallery of Alberta, designed by renowned architect Randall Stout. Passersby can’t miss the steel-ribbon-wrapped glass building, nor the crowds streaming in to view exhibitions by international and Canadian artists. After your visit, dine at Zinc, the gallery’s restaurant, and sample Chef David Omar’s tasting menu inspired by wine and tapas bars. The square is also home to the Citadel Theatre, a live-theatre venue that showcases productions from across Canada and the United States. Next door, the Winspear Centre hosts the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, led by the head-bobbing, hip-swaying William Eddins. No matter where you sit in this spectacular concert hall, the seats are plush and the acoustics precision-tuned.
Rice Howard Way
Restaurants line the cobblestone streets of Rice Howard Way, a popular enclave for travelers staying at nearby hotels. Head to Hundred, a chic resto-bar that hits all three must-haves for a great dining experience: locally sourced ingredients, innovative creations and a chill ambience. Try the Alberta beef burger, topped with onions braised in Zinfandel, black-currant mayo and cold smoked duck breast. Across the street, Moriarty’s Bistro captures the style and sophistication of a modern wine bar with its sleek black chairs, white-leather booths and small plates meant for sharing. It’s where the oenophiles go to sip Carmenère and nibble on flatbread. Or enjoy beer from around the world at Sherlock Holmes, an oldie but a goodie.
103 Street to 105 Street (Warehouse District)
Blink and you might just miss Corso 32, a tiny 35-seat Italian restaurant on Jasper Avenue. Chef/owner Daniel Costa takes patrons back to Italy with authentic dishes such as ricotta ravioli with brown butter and collard greens. The young phenom’s culinary legacy can also be sampled at Red Star, a gastropub where Costa cooked for several years before venturing off on his own. Next door at Halo nightclub, resident DJ Junior Brown and guest DJs spin everything from Britpop to funky house. In the heart of the Warehouse District, Tzin and Lit round out the area’s wine bars. Far from dull, downtown Edmonton is reaching a new level of cool.
Take a video tour of Edmonton’s galleries
Art Gallery of Alberta, 2 Sir Winston Churchill Sq., 780-422-6223, youraga.ca
Citadel Theatre, 9828 101A Ave., 780-425-1820, citadeltheatre.com
Winspear Centre, Sir Winston Churchill Sq., 780-428-1414, winspearcentre.com
Hundred Bar Kitchen, 10009 101A Ave., 780-425-0100, centuryhospitality.com
Moriarty’s Bistro and Wine Bar, 10154 100 St., 780-757-2005, moriartysbistro.com
Sherlock Holmes Pub, 10012 101A Ave., 780-426-7784, edmontonpubs.com
Corso 32, 10345 Jasper Ave., 780-421-4622, corso32.com
Red Star, 10534 Jasper Ave., 780-428-0825
Halo, 10538 Jasper Ave., 780-423-4256
Tzin Wine & Tapas, 10115 104 St., 780-428-8946, tzin.ca
Lit Italian Wine Bar, 10132 104 St., 780-757-6688, litwinebar.com
Tourism Edmonton, 1-800-463-4667, edmonton.com/tourism
Travel Alberta, 1-800-ALBERTA (1-800-252-3782), www.travelalberta.com
Tracy Hyatt is the associate managing editor of Westworld Alberta magazine. Specializing in travel writing, lifestyle and trends, she contributes to Western Living