Toronto’s Jacob Martin wins World Class Canada with a breathtaking final at Vancouver Cocktail Week
World Class Canada celebrated its 10th anniversary in the best possible way—with a blowout final at Vancouver Cocktail Week that saw Jacob Martin of Toronto’s Bar Banane take home the title of World Class Canada Bartender of the Year 2023.
Suyo’s bartenders sidestep pretension by perfecting the art of not taking yourself too seriously
Inside the recently opened Suyo Modern Peruvian on Main Street, just above the chorus of stylish 20-somethings and couples on date night, the bartenders can be heard telling the story of Peru—from undergrowth to clouds, ancient Incan civilization to contemporary culture.
Each of Suyo’s cocktails is based around a geographical location and is tied to a story.
Cacti tells the tale of the flowering succulents of Ica, a coastal desert in Peru. The flowers are pollinated by a specific type of bee that hibernates for an extended period as the flowers only bloom for a brief period of the season. The cocktail is an ode to the poetic nature of the flora and fauna waiting for one another. Subsequently, the bartenders age the entire cocktail in beeswax so it, too, “hibernates,” taking influence from the bees.
Spring is awards season, and B.C. bars and distilleries have been picking up shiny gold trinkets all over the place. Just a few of the honours: Botanist Bar won the prestigious Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award from North America’s 50 Best Bars and at #19 was the only B.C. bar to make the list. Clive’s Classic Lounge in Victoria was named World Whisky Hotel Bar at the World Whiskies Awards, which also recognized Macaloney’s Island Distillery with a trio of top prizes. The Keefer Bar was nominated Best Canadian Bar by the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards. And Okanagan Spirits was named Artisanal Distillery of the Year at the 2022 Canadian Whisky Awards.
Some new names and usual suspects, including several here in Vancouver
There was a lot of jostling for position and some surprise inclusions in this year’s just-released list of Canada’s 50 Best Bars.
Usual suspects from past lists such as Botanist, The Keefer Bar, and Laowai made the cut yet again, though they’ve been bumped down a few places by bars in Toronto and Montreal. Civil Liberties in Toronto is returning champion and took home the title of Canada’s Best Bar for the second year in a row.
Botanist came in fourth place, and The Keefer Bar was eighth, with Laowai rounding out the top 10.
North America’s 50 Best Bars were revealed on May 4 in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico—a list that included seven Canadian entries, including one bar from B.C. New York’s innovative foodie-cocktail hotspot Double Chicken Please was named North America’s Best Bar.
It’s “Vancouver’s first jungle-inspired cocktail lounge.”
Keen-eyed Vancouverites have been watching the West End space at 961 Denman St since late 2021, when signs went up for a “health bar and cocktail lounge” called The Jungle Room moving in where the Dover Arms pub stood for many a year.
Dreaming of a dram? Then you may want to hop a ferry over to Victoria, where Clive’s Classic Lounge has just been named Whisky Hotel Bar of the Year in the prestigious Icons of Whisky Awards, presented by U.K.-based Whisky magazine.