Pidgin

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I swear I’ve walked on this street many times, yet I’ve always passed by without noticing Pidgin. The outside decor makes it look sort of like a cage, while the inside is hip and modern. There’s a bar table since they have a long list of drinks, but there’s also regular seating for those who are ready for a meal. Pidgin is known for their sharing plates. Since we wanted to try a bit of everything, we went with their Prix Fixe menu, which comes with 8 dishes to share for $55 a person.

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Sakehitosuji “plum sake” Junbaishi and Kozaemon, Junmai Umeshu

We started off with two drinks which were outside the prix fixe menu. I’m a huge fan of plum wine, so we decided to try both of their Plum Sakes. If I remember correctly, the Kozaemon was pricier, but also much sweeter. Really good!

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Daily Pickles and Oyster Shot

The first dish that came were the Daily Pickles. It came with beets, cabbage, and something similar to oshinko. They were all sour but my favourite was probably the beets. The rest were too sour for my liking. To be honest, the dish wasn’t too exciting and was a bit disappointing. On the right, was the second dish which was the Oyster Shot. A mini raw oyster topped with apple horseradish. Super cleansing and fresh!

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Cured Sockeye Salmon

The third dish was the Cured Sockeye Salmon. It was plated beautifully with a radish and herb salad. I didn’t really like the salad, but the salmon was nice. Nothing too special again.

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Raw Scallops

Next was probably my favourite dish. It was the Raw Scallops, which came with pomegranate, red curry oil, daikon, and julienned green apple. I loved the acidity of the green apple against the freshness of the seafood. Very flavourful!

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Mushrooms and Snap Peas

The fifth dish was the Mushrooms and Snap Peas. We were told to mix everything together and dip the mushroom into the soft boiled egg. The dish was also flavoured with soy yuzu brown butter. Pretty good, but I wouldn’t say it was amazing.

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Pan Roasted Halibut

Finally, something that seemed more like entree came. It was the Pan Roasted Halibut, which came with a side of pine nut raisin mix and some cauliflower puree. The halibut was moist and I loved the cauliflower puree that it was paired with. Not bad!

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Half Duck

The last entree was the Half Duck, which was a huge dish! It came with a carrot cake puree with orange and spices. I found that the meat was way too salty though. This was a huge dish too, and it was almost too much to eat alone, especially since each course comes out one by one. I felt like it needed some sort of a side to go with it. We ended up packing more than half of it to take home.

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Meringue

The last course was the Meringue. Again, it was plated really nicely, with yuzu curd, vanilla cream and coconut on the side. The meringue was quite sweet though, and was only good when balanced with the yuzu curd.

Overall, I found Pidgin to be just average. Was the food good? Yes, but nothing extraordinary or memorable. The plating is really nice and the portions will actually get you filled up, but it’s also quite pricey. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the service though.

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Shirakawa

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After Greedy Pig, we decided to look around for more food. We came across Shirakawa, which is tucked away behind some other boutiques. It’s definitely easy to walk past and not even notice that there is a walkway where more shops are located. It’s an Itoh Dining company, and one of the first in Vancouver. Itoh Dining is a high end Japanese restaurant company in Japan. Shirakawa is actually famous for their high quality beef, especially their Kuroge Wagyu beef. However, we came for their happy hour menu, which was offered from 5:30-6:30pm.

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Mint Sake Lemonade

I went for their featured drink, which was also discounted for happy hour. It was the Mint Sake Lemonade, which I found very refreshing. It definitely was strong in the minty flavour.

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Kome Dry, Honjozo, Yoshi no Gawa, Niigata Sake

We also decided to share the Niigata Sake. It was described to have notes of mild tropical fruit, and distinctively dry lending to an ultra-clean finish. I could definitely feel that dry feeling, which I wasn’t too fond of. Very strong for sure.

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Kakuni

All their happy hour dishes are $5, which is quite a good deal. We decided to just order every dish on their happy hour menu, since there weren’t that many. First up, we had the Kakuni, which was slow cooked pork belly, with a teppan finish. It had a sweet soy reduction and on the side of the plate, there was some spicy mustard. This was probably one of my favourite dishes. The pork belly had a good amount of fat and meat, and the teppan finish made it have sort of a smoky flavour. Along with the spicy mustard, it was very appetizing!

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Buta Katsu

Next was the Buta Katsu, which I thought was just average. It’s essentially panko-breaded pork cutlet. It is then topped with harvati cheese and black miso. I found that the sauce wasn’t very effective and didn’t bring too much flavour to the dish.

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Teba

Next were the Teba, which our server highly recommended. It’s fried ginger soy marinated chicken wings, and they were definitely very yummy! I liked their batter as it was just the right amount and it didn’t feel oily.

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Gastown Gyoza

The Gastown Gyoza was also a highly recommended dish by our server. The gyozas were filled with pork and mixed vegetables. It came with a jalapeno miso sauce which was very good. Definitely had a kick in the sauce.

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Spicy Tofu

The last item on their happy hour menu was the Spicy Tofu. It was deep fried tofu with vegetable garnish and a spicy dashi broth. Contrary to what the name says, and that spicy dashi broth, it really wasn’t spicy at all. We ended up dipping the tofu in the jalapeno miso sauce that came with the gyozas. The tofu were deep fried to a nice golden brown though.

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Amakaki

Since we were still sort of hungry, we ordered some items off their regular dinner menu. First, we got the Amakaki, which are house marinated oysters on a bed of ume dressed onions. The oysters were plump and fresh. The marinade was also very flavourful and refreshing with the oysters.

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Kani Cream Croquette

We also ordered the Kani Cream Croquettes, which are cream croquettes filled with crab. The dish normally comes with only three croquettes, but we paid extra to add an additional. They remind me of risotto balls but filled with crab. Not bad!

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Kimpira Udon

Lastly, we got the Kimpira Udon, which was probably my least favourite of the night. It was cold udon noodles topped with spicy burdock, renkon, pork bits and drizzled with a house rayu sauce. I didn’t find any of the dish spicy, and the minced pork was a huge fail since they would just fall through. By the end of the dish, there was a bunch of minced pork left on the plate as none of us could grab the noodles with the pork. They need some sort of a thicker sauce to go with it if they want the diners to eat the pork together with the noodles.

Overall, our experience at Shirakawa based mostly on their happy hour menu was very good. I find that their regular menu is quite pricey, so going for happy hour is definitely a good deal. Plus, the service was very attentive and friendly.

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Greedy Pig (Happy Hour)

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On a Tuesday afternoon, we decided to head to Gastown to try Flying Pig’s happy hour menu. I’ve heard great things about the restaurant and was excited for this meal. Unfortunately, it was raining that day, and when we got there, the street along Flying Pig was completely out of power. They were not able to serve us, and we had to look for other food. Walking around, we found Greedy Pig, which I had visited for New Year’s Eve before. They also offered a happy hour menu, and although limited, we were tired and ready to just eat whatever.

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House White Wine

I started off with the House White Wine, which was a pretty good deal at $5 a glass. It was served chilled and was subtly sweet.

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Spanish Meatballs

To be honest, we weren’t too fond of the menu after sitting down. We decided to just share two dishes and head to a different restaurant instead. We ended up getting the Spanish Meatballs, which were a huge disappointment. The meatballs were extremely overcooked, dry, and rough. The only thing that helped was the zesty tomato sauce. It came topped with shaved grana padano, which is a popular Italian cheese. I wish there was more cheese though, as it was so little that it didn’t even make a difference to the dish.

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Herb Crusted Baked Brie

Lastly, we got the Herb Crusted Baked Brie, which was also just average. I liked how they baked the brie so that it was crispy and flaky on the outer layer though. It came with some raspberry sauce, which always goes well with brie. A good amount of cheese to accompany the bread though.

Overall, we weren’t too fond of the Greedy Pig’s happy hour menu. Based on the dishes we tried, verything was just average, and nothing really stood out. There were quite a few people during happy hour though. I guess they have good prices for their drinks at the time.

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Clyde Common – Portland

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Clyde Common is located right next to the Ace Hotel, which is known to be super hip and a huge tourist spot. The whole area around here is great for shopping with unique boutiques.

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We had done some researching, but the locals also recommended that we go to Clyde Common for happy hour. It’s served every day from 3-6 pm so plenty of time to check it out!

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They have an open concept kitchen so it’s pretty neat.

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There’s also a bar on one side. Service was pretty good here. Our server was really funny and attentive.

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Pacific Standard: vodka, lemon, ginger, honey, soda

Their happy hour menu consists of food and drinks, so it’s pretty good! The drinks are well priced at around $5 for the cocktails. I chose the Pacific Standard, which was sort of like a lemon soda drink. We soon realized that all their drinks are very strong in alcohol. They definitely don’t cheap out on the liquor here! You can taste it heavily for sure.

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Daily Punch

J went for the Daily Punch, where I don’t think we figured out what it was still. I liked how it came in a little tea cup though.

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Spelling Bee: Reposado tequilla, agave syrup, absinthe, bitters, grapefruit peel

K got the Spelling Bee, which was probably the strongest in alcohol. It’s like all the hard liquor in one drink. I took a sip and all I could taste was alcohol. You’ll get your moneys worth if you order this, but I’m not so sure if I liked how it tasted.

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Smoked Mussels, Crackers

We then moved on to their appies. They don’t have a huge list and some of them sound quite ordinary. We went for the Smoked Mussels with Crackers, and it was surprisingly really good! The mussels were so tender and not tough at all. It paired really nicely with simply crackers! Yum!

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Pickled Devil Eggs

Next up were the Pickled Devil Eggs, which were very delicious! I liked how they seasoned the egg yolks. It was a little sour due to the pickling, so it was very appetizing.

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Meatballs, Bordelaise

We also ordered the Meatballs with Bordelaise Sauce. These little meatballs didn’t look too appealing, but they were very interesting! They had carrot bits inside and a beautiful red wine sauce which made it very flavourful.

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6 oz. Hamburger, Cheddar, Bacon, Pickled Onion, Lettuce and Aioli

The server recommended that we get the 6oz Hamburger, which he said is something you will want more of. We decided to share it anyways, and it was just as good as he described it! The ingredients were simple with just cheddar, bacon, pickled onion, lettuce and aioli, but the meat patty itself was so juicy! It was served medium so the meat wasn’t tough. The mustard seed sauce was also delicious with the burger.

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French Fries, Pepper Aioli

Lastly, we simply shared the French Fries, which came with a pepper aioli. Such a simple dish, but the fries were fresh and deep fried to a nice golden yellow. Crispy on the outside and soft in the inside. The pepper aioli was also very delicious. It gave it a bit of a kick.

Overall, we were very impressed with Clyde Common. It’s definitely one of my favourite spots in Portland from the places I tried. The atmosphere is nice, and the prices are quite reasonable for happy hour. Best of all, there was no line up!
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Catch 122 Cafe Bistro

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Throughout the summer, I despserately wanted to hit some happy hour spots, just because work would start soon and the weather would turn terrible. Finally, K and I decided to head to Gastown and we ended up checking out Catch 122 Cafe Bistro. They offer happy hour from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 4pm to 6pm.

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We got there right at 4pm, and I guess it was sort of an odd weekday, so we were literally the only diners. Shortly, there were another couple, but it’s definitely not very busy during these odd times. The interior is rustic yet hip. I loved the wooden furniture and spacious setting.

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Beer Flight Paddle (4 X 5.5 oz) ($6.50)

For drinks, I decided to go for the Beer Flight Paddle, which is a great deal to try all their local craft beer on tap. It’s around $3 off the regular menu. Starting from the left, we have the Russell Eastern Promises Pilsner (5%). This was a Czech-style pilsner one of my favourites. I liked how it was light and crispy and had a touch of honey flavour. Next, was the Russell Blood Alley Bitter (5.5%), which was my least favourite. I didn’t like it mostly because I found it too bitter and dry. It did have a hint of grapefruit flavour though. Continuing to our right was the Driftwood Farmhand Belgian Ale (5.5%). This one is brewed in Victoria and is supposed to be Belgian in flavour. It was okay, but I found it to be on the bitter side. Last but not least, on the very right was the Driftwood Fat Tug IPA (7%). This was an Indian Pale Ale, and I liked how it was a fruity beer. It had notes of grapefruit, mango, melon, and passionfruit.

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Salmon Tartare, 63º Quail Egg, Gaufrette Potato ‘Chips’ ($4)

For snacks, we started off with the Salmon Tartare. The food items are not discounted, so they are the same price as the dinner menu. However, they don’t offer the dinner menu during happy hour time.The salmon tartare came with a quail egg, which I mixed together. The tartare was flavoured well and the dill definitely brought lots of flavour to your palette. It came with potato chips so you could scoop the tartare. The plate is definitely very small, but very well done.

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Mushroom Pâté, Olive, Hazelnut, Poppyseed Lavash ($3.50)

The second appetizer we got was the Mushroom Pâté, which was visually appealing. It looked like a little plant! The pâté was seasoned with olives, hazelnuts, and pepper. It was then topped with little mushrooms. Super cute! Around the pâté, there was a poppyseed lavash ring. The flatbread was crispy and great to scoop the pâté.

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Based on just the happy hour menu, Catch 122 has good quality food. I can’t comment too much since I didn’t try most of their menu. However, I liked the atmosphere and I appreciate the fact that they put thought into their dishes, so it’s a bit more unique. Service wasn’t extraordinary, but it was available. I’d definitely return to try the rest of their menu. I hear their breakfast/brunch menu is quite good!

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Browns Socialhouse (Ironwood)

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Bellini

J and I finally set a date to meet up and we had originally planned to check out the Milestone’s Girls Night Out Menu, which featured 4 appies and 4 drinks for $40. However, taking a look at the menu, nothing really intrigued us. Plus, there wasn’t a Milestones in Richmond. Being lazy, we ended up going to Browns Socialhouse in Ironwood Mall. I’ve been here before, but it’s been years since I revisited. The small patio was full, so we ended up sitting indoors. I started off the Bellini, which is always on special for $5. Pretty good deal, but I found that it was way too sweet for my liking. I felt like I was literally eating the fuzzy peach gummies! As for J, she got the Traditional Mojito, since there was a $2 off special going on.

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Chicken Quesadilla

For food, I went with the Chicken Quesadilla, which was surprisingly presented very nicely. It came with three sauces – salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. The tortillas were filled with cheese, chicken, peppers, and jalapeno peppers. A bite into the jalapenos really gave you a hit of spice. The quesadilla was crispy rather than soggy, which I was very pleased with. J went for the Charred Peperoni Pizza, which was a perfect size for one. Plus, on Sundays and Mondays, all their pizzas are for $9 which is a great deal! She said the pizza was really good and had a good amount of toppings.

Overall, Browns Socialhouse is always a great place to grab some drinks and food with friends. It’s casual food with great service and prices. A nice change from always going to say Earls.

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Warawara – Seoul

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After dinner, the boys took us to look for some fruit soju! We took a 10 minute walk and ended up in a street full of bars. And this was a random Wednesday night, but the street was busy! Shows how much Koreans love to drink! Anyways, we ended up Warawara, which is supposed to be famous for their fruit sojus. The dining bar was in the basement floor, and the decor is all wooden. I liked how they had little rooms with blinds separating you from other diners so it gives you some privacy.

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Italian Creamy Fried Chicken

Apparently, you must eat when you drink! It’s drinking etiquette to always order at least one dish to share. They say that’s how they get drunk, since you keep eating, and so you’ll drink more… Anyways, we ordered the Italian Creamy Fried Chicken, which was by far my favourite fried chicken we had in Korea. It definitely had to do with the creamy and cheesy sauce! I had thought that the best fried chicken would be the classic, but they really know how to fusion up their classic fried chicken. They were little chicken balls that were boneless, so no hassle with deboning. Filled with vegetables like corn, peppers, broccoli and onions, the dish was extremely flavourful!

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Then came our fruit sojus! What’s cool about this bar is that they actually use fresh fruit to make your soju or other alcoholic drinks. None of that cheap processed juice or powder! What’s even cooler is that they actually present the drink in the fruit’s shell! So here we have the server actually physically bring us all the equipment to make the soju. His blender was filled up half with soju already. He then pulls out the pineapple with a metal tool.

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He then actually blends the whole drink in front of us! Super cool! Plus, you’re guaranteed it’s fresh!

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Pineapple Soju

And here we have the finished product of the Pineapple Soju! He fills the pineapple shell with half of the soju and places it on a plate filled with ice to keep it cold. Loved the experience and the drink was absolutely delicious! I love how you get some pineapple pulp in it, and it tastes more like juice than alcohol! I see how you can get drunk off of this so easily…

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Watermelon Soju

The pineapple soju was so good that we had to get another round of soju! This time, we chose the Watermelon Soju. Unfortunately, they said they ran out of the actual watermelon skin for the bowl, so we were only able to get it in a jar already made. I’m not sure how that works out though, because where did the watermelon come from if there’s no shell for it…? Odd… Again, super refreshing! These fruit sojus are a must try if you normally like calpico sojus that are flavoured peach or grape and such. Never thought these fruits would be so great with soju!

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Cass Beer

We mentioned how we liked the Korean beers, since it’s really light and diluted, so the boys taught us how they normally drink their beers. This time, we tried Cass, which is also a popular Korean beer.

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Soju

Now apparently, just drinking beer alone isn’t enough to get these boys drunk….so they mix it with soju! Here, the boys were showing us a trick where they spin the green soju bottle, and place light from their phone under the bottle to create a tornado…

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Soju Bombs

Typically, you can make soju bombs by dropping a shot glass of soju into a pint of beer. Instead, the boys just poured the soju into the beer. They then took a spoon and poked the drink through, and somehow the drink just mixed itself together. Pretty neat!!

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And here is what it ended up like! Some foam at the top, and the beer and soju mixed up! This definitely gets you more drunk quicker!

Overall, an absolute fun night to finish off our trip in Seoul! Can’t wait to visit these crazy boys again. Warawara is definitely a great place to hangout and have a few drinks in a comfortable environment! If you’re not a heavy drinker, those fruit sojus are perfect for you! I believe they have several franchises all over South Korea, so it shouldn’t be hard to find one!

Original Joe’s Restaurant & Bar

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Raspberry Burst

After checking out the Greek Festival, K and I decided to look for a patio back in Richmond to enjoy some drinks and the sun. I wouldn’t say there are too many patios in Richmond. Most of them are also quite pricey and more fancy than what we were looking for. We settled for Original Joes, which I’ve only been for lunch at the Broadway location. Original Joes in Richmond is tucked away on Steveston Highway, a bit further away from the rest of the restaurants in Ironwood Mall. Anyways, we sat outside in their small patio area. I chose the Raspberry Burst, which included vodka, raspberry syrup, sprite and lime juice. You can’t taste too much of the alcohol, so I really enjoyed the drink. A hint of sweetness and very refreshing.

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Joe’s Sangria

K chose Joe’s Sangria. It had red wine, Scotch, Triple Sec with lemon, lime, pineapple and fresh orange juice. Her drink looked very nicely presented, but it also tasted pretty good! Drinks were around $7 each, so quite typical for any restaurant establishment. Overall, we were quite satisfied with the drinks and service wasn’t too bad. It’s pretty quiet in the afternoon, so it’s a good place to hangout and chat.

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