Meet Cyan Moir, a hard-working, Chihuahua-loving industry veteran who wears all sorts of hats in Vancouver, from established publican to skat master (belated spoiler alert). She brings skill, experience, and mega style to the local scene, but, as a true scion from Quadra Island, she curbs pretension and just wants to host a good time…for humans and Chihuahuas alike.
Laura: OK. Hi Cyan! Tell me about what is going on in your world these days?
Cyan: Work, work, and work. I’m currently behind the wood at Chambar, The Narrow, Uncle Abe’s, and The Rumpus Room. I’m also working on some collaborative cocktail pop up projects.
L: How would you describe the Vancouver bar scene? What makes it different from other cities that you’ve travelled to, or worked in?
C: Vancouver is small. For me the restaurant industry feels as though it weaves the city into a smaller place. I love that, until you have a Tinder date aaaand can’t figure out a bar to go to where you don’t know someone. Ahem..The Old Spaghetti Factory…*Hot tip, they have wildly cheap doubles.
L: You’ve had a chance to work in some pretty awesome spots around the city. How did it all begin for you though? Tell us about how you got to where you are now?
C: In my 13th summer I walked down the hill from my house and got a dishwashing job at Beavers Family Restaurant. They had a double-patty burger called the ‘Pile Driver’ (w…t…f…). Since then, I’ve bussed, served, and flipped burgers. I began bartending once I started working at Me & Julio and Lolita’s and became one of Lila’s girls (Lila Gaylie being the owner of Me & Julio, and Lolita’s, both of which are now closed). With late nights and loads of margaritas, I made friends with many industry humans.
L: Do you think it’s hard for new bartenders to break into the scene in Vancouver? Any sage advice on how to wet your toes?
C: These days I think it’s easy to get a bar gig. My advice: learn the basics, build a solid foundation, and then… learn to skat. When you’re in the shit, restaurants are like jazz. “It’s not the beers you pour, it’s the beers you don’t pour.”
L: Learn to skat! Haha, I just spit up my wine coffee…
Do you (or did you ever) have a mentor? Or just someone who knows exactly what to pour you at the end of the day?
C: As far as mentors I’ve taken bits and pieces from so many creative, driven, and knowledgeable restaurant humans. It’s Vancouver, alcohol is expensive, spaces are small, laws are archaic, and the gen pop is demanding. You’ve gotta reach into a hat and pull out a rabbit.
L: Speaking of little creatures, you recently hosted a fundraiser bartending event, featuring your notorious little puppy, Misto, and it was a total success! How did this idea manifest? And who made those dog cookies??
C: Misto’s charity pup up pop up was born because I wanted a stage for some of my more outlandish cocktail creations. I really wasn’t sure how to do any of it, and it felt narcissistic to assume anyone cared about a solo project from me. Once I found the element of charity as a focus, things really took off. I felt the freedom to get weird and promote and ask for help and with that I found a lot of support.
The cookies were made and donated along with all the food at the event by Jo Astudillo from The Butler Did it Catering Company. My mind was blown by the generosity and I maybe cried a little when I saw the dog bone shaped “Misto” monogrammed cookies.
L: You also raised over $1100 for the BC Chihuahua Rescue Society, which is pretty rad!
So when the gig isn’t raising money for pups, bartending can have a pretty wet and wild reputation… particularly for those who have not worked in the industry. What is a misconception people have about bartending?
C: I think a misconception about bartenders is that we are a part of your party. It’s a fair assumption; I’m dressed like I AM THEEEE party. I’m playing the music you like and talking with you, hoping you enjoy yourself. Except I’m actually responsible for all these humans around me and the money and the building. So don’t try to kiss me, ask me to break laws, or argue with me.
L: What is the most underrated bar in this city?
C: Although I love putting on heels and eating nettles with smoked hazelnuts and stuffed zucchini flowers… what I really enjoy is a local pub. If I walk in and see a pull-tab machine, I’m in. Something like The Princeton, which reminds me of an old pub on the island I grew up on.
L: What’s your guilty pleasure drink? Mine is super cheap buttery chardonnay, just to set the bar really low…
C: Due to the amount of drinks I taste with a straw, I don’t drink a lot of cocktails. I mostly drink Jameson neat, or wine. I love wine, but I’ll drink it if it’s Hood or Hollywood, so although I will ask for a bone dry Riesling, I will also happily drink a mystery swill red that gives me hives.
L: How about the most memorable drink you’ve ever had?
C: The most memorable drink I ever had was at Bao Bei. When it first opened it had a sour, I think it was a smoked plum sour. I was inspired and I began to create.
L: And what drink makes you cringe (to drink or to make)?
C: Extra extra Dry Martini. Like … ok, that’s a redundant drink order… but I promise I won’t even look at the bottle.
L: The late nights are not always easy to juggle. What keeps you sane and balanced outside of work?
C: I’m a morning person so the late nights can be a bit challenging, but it also helps me keep my focus at the end of the night. I probably won’t go out for drinks after service because I want to make it to yoga in the morning.
L: Yeah, I’ve seen your IG posts at 6am yoga on many occasions…it’s ambitious!
So, when can we expect the next Misto fundraiser?
C: I’m currently working on a collaborative cocktail pop up with a friend for summer, but as far as a follow-up charity event for doggos I’ll wait a year, grow some ideas on how to make it bigger and weirder.
L: I can’t wait. Thanks Cy!
Dog or cat? Misto
Negroni or Boulevardier? Negroni
Most overhyped bar trend? Overly complex cocktails. “A single plum floating in perfume, in a man’s hat.”
Most despised bar term? If I tell you that, it’s all I will hear for years. Like, don’t tell anyone you hate the song “Love Shack” or it will never stop playing.
Most underutilized spirit? Galliano. LOL
First drink you ever had? Olde English 40
Pinot or Cabernet? Cab… “It helps me sleep,” “it’s how I digest steak” and, there is no story so good that a thicc red won’t make it better.
Go-to hangover cure? A lay down shower and pigging out.
High school prom song? Prom song? Forget it.. if humans enjoyed something and it was even slightly cool in high school, I could not abide. I was that girl.
THC or CBD? Sure, I blaze in the morning sometimes…
—by Laura Starr