Thursday, November 21, 2013

The QC Cocktail Quest

Restaurant Simple Snack Sympathique
Finding a spot for cocktails in Quebec City proved to be quite a challenge. Google it and the number one pick on everyones list is the St-Laurent Bar at the Château Frontenac. The old world charm and spectacular views of the St. Lawrence River make it a classic spot for swanky cocktails, but we found out the hard way that it's closed for renovations until early 2014. Which left me with no plan B just hours away from cocktail time on the Saturday of our visit.

We arrived just in time for cocktails on Friday night and the lovely concierge staff at Hotel Le Germain-Dominion directed us around the corner to Simple Snack Sympathique (Restaurant SSS). They're famous for their assorted pâtés and spreads (the little C&Gs are not that adventurous) and their french fries with pulled pork poutine (more palatable). We were seated in the sleek dining room, made cozy by the low ceilings and old stone walls, but we had really been looking for a place with more of a lounge-y kind of feel.

Our concierge told us there aren't many lounge options in town, and we certainly found that to be true. My guess is that with so many old stone buildings converted into various hotels and restaurants space is tight and efficiently used. A few other hotels lined the cobblestone street in front of our hotel, but when we poked our heads in to each one we were disappointed to find no lounge, only sleek leather couches for waiting guests.

Café-Bar Artifact at the Auberge Saint-Antoine
Auberge Saint-Antoine is a trés chic hotel that's perfect for a romantic getaway, and their award winning restaurant Panache serves an innovative (and trés cher) menu. The lower priced and more casual Café-Bar Artifact was on my list but I was worried it wouldn't be kid friendly. But with no other options in the neighborhood on Saturday afternoon, I dragged us all in for a look.

I shouldn't have been so worried, as the cozy Alpine ski lodge vibe was perfect for our late afternoon cocktails. We found four seats at the bar and the friendly bartender invited the boys to pull up a chair. She quizzed them on their juice preferences and then made up the most stylish of concoctions, complete with pineapple frond garnish.

A bit of France north of the border
When the little C&Gs got restless they wandered around the lounge checking out the extensive collection of artifacts found during construction of the hotel. Our charming bartender helped me with my French while mixing up delicious cocktails from the extensive menu. Two separate rooms in the café offered cozy spots to curl up in front of the fireplace and musicians were just setting up before we had to head out to dinner.

We have our fingers crossed that the next time we're up the bar at the Frontenac will be re-opened. But even if it isn't, we found a new favorite spot at the Auberge Saint Antoine. For when we get up enough energy to leave the couches at the Hotel Le Germain-Dominion, of course.

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