It’s no surprise that a single girl in Vancouver with a mortgage and a costly commute isn’t left with much in the way of disposable income. My disposable income, such as it is, is consistently funneled to two of my best friends (besides A&E): my aging dog and The Diamond.
I try to stay away for stretches here and there, so they don’t get tired of me hanging around, but the place exerts some sort of magnetic pull. Owing to my recent travels, it has indeed been a while, but a shortly upcoming visit is written in stone on my Google calendar!
When I describe the Diamond to friends, I often use the phrase “wonderland of beauty.” Truly everything is beautiful here: the staff, the filament bulbs, the stag's head chandelier, the exposed brick walls, the view of Maple Tree Square from the windows (especially when it snows!), the craft cocktails, and even the exquisite vintage glassware. Happily, it's an old-timey and warm type of beauty that was obviously not conceived in a Toronto boardroom, unlike the contrived corporate esthetic of certain other places. It’s just so easy to lose yourself here, and I’m always eager to show it off to someone who hasn’t yet had the pleasure of an evening at the Diamond.
I’ve never been here for an actual dinner, since the Asian fusion concept is more small plates than anything, and the drinks are so strong that it’s unwise to go on an empty stomach. That being said, what I’ve nibbled on while lingering over cocktails has always been wonderful: olives, nuts, gyoza, subs, and panna cotta. The drink prices run high ($10-12), but we're not talking watered down rum and cokes. The booze forward cocktails are nonetheless so eminently drinkable that it took E making us journalists at our own New Year's Eve pre-party for us to realize just why we often end up unexpectedly blitzed at the Diamond.
A small selection of beer is available, but as I once unwittingly asked someone who turned out to be Mark Brand, "How can you drink something like that in a place like this?" PBR has its charms, I'm sure, but I remain immune to them.
The service is such that I felt like a regular on my very first visit, and by this point, I actually feel among friends. Impeccably dressed, attractive, sociable, and skilled friends who make consistently incredible cocktails from memory, (I'm talking to you, Donnelly Pub Group), and don’t tease me (much) when I’ve had a few too many. What more could a single girl ask for?