The Chateau Victoria Hotel is a rare gem indeed. Located in the very heart of downtown Victoria, it is independently owned by the well-known Piercy family. And, if you’ve been in this city any length of time, you are already familiar with the legendary Clive’s Classic Lounge, located on the ground level and named in honour of Clive Piercy, family patriarch.
But today, the Behind Bars entourage of Monday Magazine publisher Ruby Della Siega and a colleague, went for the room with a view: Vista 18, located on the top floor of the Chateau Victoria, arguably the best perch in the Pacific Northwest.
Prior to the COVID-19 pause, Vista 18 was closed for a two month renovation project and the wait has been worth it. The re-fresh is a kind of relaxed sophistication with a mix of dark grey walls and silver flecked wallpaper.
All who are familiar with Vista 18 know the view is the real show-stopper here. As part of the renovation, that ocean/mountain/city view was maximized with changes to the bar, including the lower-ing of the liquor bottles.
“Cocktail king” Shawn Soole has joined the Chateau Victoria team to support Vista 18 and manage Clive’s Classic Lounge. The hid-den garden on the 16th floor provides cocktail garnishes such as fresh mint, rosemary, thyme and basil. It just makes the drinks taste better.
And speaking of the drinks, our bartender Brooke conjured up a Tenacity for Ruby: a zero-proof cocktail made with Seedlip Grove 42, Lunette alt-gin with blood orange, ginger beer and thyme. Ru-by’s guest enjoyed a twist on the loyal Tom Collins. This Royal Collins featured Empress 1908 gin, grapefruit liquor, honey, lem-on, soda and a lavender mist. Light, refreshing and orange for-ward.
And in this COVID world in which we find ourselves, patrons can be assured safety protocols have exceeded guidelines with in-creased fresh air intake, spaced seating and a QR code for menus access. Clever.
Let’s hear from bartender Brooke:
What’s your claim to fame/best up-the-sleeve trick or technique?
As a rookie bartender I am still developing my “technique” in bar-tending skill; however, I would say my quick banter and sharp wit is well developed and certainly entertains the guests.
What’s hot right now?
In Vista 18, hands down the Moscow Mule. Classics never get old, they just get reinvented as companies continue to develop great ingredients to work with.
What traits make a good bartender?
Being open and honest. If you don’t know an ingredient or drink, it’s okay! On the other hand, be courageous. Don’t be afraid to experiment and if all else fails revert back to question one.
What’s your signature drink?
I created my first drink just recently. I call it the Royal Collins. In Vista, we like to do twists on classics. It is Empress Gin, house honey syrup (from the bees on our roof), lavender spritz (lavender from our garden) and topped with soda.
What are you drinking these days?
I am very big with the local craft beers. There are so many to choose from…I can’t really say which is my favourite.
Best memory from behind the bar?
My fist night bartending, ever. One couple ordered a $600 bottle of wine! Yikes! Needless to say, I broke the cork guest was great about it and that was when I learned that answer number one could be a lifesaver.