The Caribbean. Sunny, friendly, sexy, and let’s face it, too damn far away for your cheap ass. The corner of Abbott and East Hastings, however, well that’s just one short little jaunt through some other fascinating scenery. So put away your tank top and flip-flops, fill the fanny pack with bear spray, and head down to Calabash Bistro for some hot Caribbean action.
Situated in a non-descript location a couple blocks off the well tread Gastown route, Calabash is an undiscovered Vancouver gem that serves up seriously good eats, drinks and beats. The menu is a much needed introduction to Caribbean grub in a city obsessed with Asian fare. For a primer on Caribbean curries choose from chicken, goat, seafood and vegetarian ($10 to $13), all served entree-style or in a roti with a side salad. For the more adventurous, hit up the crowd favourite Oxtail, which is marinated and stewed with carrots and potatoes and served with rice and a coconut dumpling.
As for drinks, this is a premier rum sippin spot, serving up the largest selection of rums in the city and mixing them into tasty cocktails like the Coconut Jumby, Cohiba Rakstone and Ti Punch. Of course, no visit to the Caribbean would be complete without trying the national drink of Bermuda, the Dark and Stormy. Made up of Ginger infused Goslings Black Seal with homemade ginger beer, Angostura bitters, and house made ginger syrup, the Dark and Stormy not only embodies the mood of a hurricane ravaged night on a tropical island, it’s an apt description of how you may feel the morning after downing a few.
After drinking up the Caribbean, you may as well just forget the fact you’re not actually there and get down like you are. Descend into the dimly lit basement bar and take in a night of live reggae, hip-hop or funk. The bistro also hosts live spoken word and poetry readings and the walls serve as a showcase for local artists. The atmosphere at Calabash is decidedly laid-back and friendly, so don’t be surprised if you wake up the next day with a bit of that island feel, man – but drop the accent, you sound ridiculous.