How to Drink Like a Local in 4 Top Drinking Destinations

Our guide to what to try and where to go in Austin, Barcelona, Glasgow and a wine region near Portland.
 

1. Go to a Dive Bar in Austin

The White Horse, photograph by Trista Alley.

Austin is packed with live music venues, with options to suit all styles. But a visit to one of the city’s dive bars is a must, and few stand up to The White Horse.

Who: A multi-generational crowd of hipsters, ranchers, students, bikers and rockabillies.

What: A bona fide honky-tonk bar that embodies East Austin’s charms: cheap beer, nightly live music, a buzzing patio and plenty of whisky, all in a no-frills space.

Why: Go for the house special, a US$6 Two-Step (ice-cold Lone Star with a shot of whisky), and mosey up to the large dance floor with kicks freshly buffed at the venue’s shoeshine station.

2. Sip Vermouth in Barcelona

Photograph by Margaret Stepien.

An aperitif made of fortified wine steeped in botanicals, Spanish vermouth is a lifestyle in Catalonia. Whether taken on the rocks or with a spritz of soda water, the ritual of tomar un vermut (“take a vermouth”) involves midday tippling with friends or family while nibbling on tapas.

3. Drink Pinot Noir in Oregon’s Willamette Valley

Photograph by Beth Dixson/Alamy.

The Willamette Valley, a half an hour from Portland, is one of the best regions when it comes to pinot noir as the red grape prefers areas like this for its mild growing season. Vineyard management, using clonal selection, dense planting and vertical trellising, has helped develop better fruit. There are more than 550 wineries and nearly 800 vineyards in the valley, but it’s the wines from Yamhill-Carlton sub-appellation, with its marine sediment-enriched soils, and volcanic soil-rich Dundee Hills, that really shines.

4. Drink Whisky at The Scotia in Glasgow

Photograph by PJP/Daily/Alamy.

This Scottish city is known for its rich bar culture. Here are some numbers to prove it.

1:5

The ratio of visitors who make a trip to a whisky distillery.

385

The number of pubs and bars in the city (as of November 2018).

1792

The year the city’s oldest pub, The Scotia, opened.

[This story appears in the August 2019 edition of WestJet Magazine.]

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