The Winnipeg Cocktail Scene & The Roost Social House

Winnipeg, Manitoba is a city of almost a million people located fifteen minutes from the longitudinal centre of Canada. We are privileged to enjoy a bustling downtown, only a short drive away from stunning rolling landscapes and endless prairie seas. We are usually a few years behind the bigger cities when it comes to trends, fashion and food.  I have been working in bars and restaurants for little over a decade, with a passion for high quality products and perfect service.  Since starting beverage competitions three years ago, I have been lucky to take a few trips and be exposed to some very exciting events and cocktail spots around North America.  It is my pleasure to bring that knowledge and experience back to the Winnipeg scene.
In January of 2015 I was running the Winnipeg Bartender’s Mixoff, presented by the Manitoba Bartender’s Guild.  At the end of the event, two young guys walked up to me and asked me to assist them with an incredible project for Winnipeg.  We networked, and one week later, I was walking around a construction site wearing a suit.  The Roost Social House is a small-space cocktail and tapas bar, located in the trendy patio neighbourhood of Winnipeg, called Corydon street. It is perched in the tree tops on the second floor of a large house style building, and features a large outdoor patio for guests to relax amongst whimsical flowers and vegetables I planted myself.  The team behind this project are all young owner-operators and they have a passion for delicious small plates and hand-crafted cocktails, with as much local produce and flair as possible. The bartenders from the Roost frequently compete in local craft cocktail beverage competitions produced by our Manitoba Bartender’s Guild.  This bar is open Tuesday to Sunday at 651 Corydon Ave. in Winnipeg until late serving food and beverage, and patio seating is available as long as there’s no snow on the ground.
The Roost Social House
The mixology and craft cocktail scene in Manitoba, Canada is slowly picking up, mirroring the approach that has been so successful in bigger cities such as Vancouver and Toronto so far.  We are seeing more and more small tapas and cocktails bars open in trendy neighbourhoods around Winnipeg, and the guests are becoming more adventurous with their food and beverage choices.  It wasn’t so long ago that no one knew what an old-fashioned was, but now they are common place even amongst the chain places.  So it’s the best possible time for local watering holes like the Roost Social House to succeed and flourish here in Winnipeg.
I will continue to invest in Manitoba, and tirelessly support the scene and it’s lovely people.  I fondly remember all of the opportunities I was given as I grew up in the industry, and want share similar events and bonuses with as many folks as possible.  What we put into this industry, we get out of it. I have been good to Winnipeg, and Winnipeg has been good to me.  It’s exciting to consider the possibilities for the future in a small-yet-big city, where the craft cocktail revolution is slowly unfurling.

Joel Baker
Joel is the owner of the Bee’s Knees Bar Services, president of the Manitoba Bartender’s Guild, and works with many global liquor suppliers on private events
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