Victoria--Hip cocktail venue?
Hey - I'm looking for a hip cocktail venue (and fab wine shop) in downtown Victoria, Vancouver Isl. Know the Empress is a tourist trap but have heard it's a great place for a martini. Any other suggestions welcome. Need to be walking distance from the harbour. Thanks
Ferris' upstairs is great for drinks. I do recommend the Bengal Lounge (in the Empress) although you are right, it is expensive. The Empress as a whole is a "tourist trap" but I think the Bengal Lounge is kind of an exception - I know lots of local young professionals who hang out there.
I've also heard Jellyfish and Temple are good for drinks but I've never been.
Re: wine shop, the best is the liquor store at Fort & Foul Bay (not walking distance from the harbour). Within walking distance, I recommend the Wine Barrel on Broughton. There is also Mark Anthony on Government St (low down, near Broughton) but the selection is more limited (I think they only sell from one winery). The Wine Barrel is a VQA shop and the staff is very knowledgeable.
One place that's kind of "hip" in a Rat Pack sort-of-way is "Doubles" Martini Bar in the ground floor of the Executive House Hotel. It is an original martini bar that, far as I know, is basically the same as it was in the 60's and 70's. The drinks are not fancy, but it is a fun place to enjoy a classic gin-and-vermouth martini (or vodka, if you prefer).
If by "hip" you mean popular, consider Sauce. They have great drinks (especially girly cocktails) and decent food, and they're pretty popular with the twenty-something crowd.