‘It’s been a heck of a ride’: Vancouver whisky bar at centre of legal battle to close after 36 years

What will become of one of the world’s largest whisky libraries that’s long called Vancouver home?

Fets Whisky Kitchen, which endured a government raid in January 2018 and a protracted legal battle with the province, has revealed the business will shutter soon. Fets Whisky Kitchen/Facebook

It may be home to “one of the world’s largest whisky selections,” but after a 36-year run (and a couple of name changes), Fets Whisky Kitchen will be closing permanently.

Owners Eric and Allura Fergie posted the closure notice on social media as September got underway, indicated Fets Whisky Kitchen’s last dinner service will be Friday, Dec. 23.

“Our lease is up early next year, and we have decided not to renew. We feel it’s best to resign while we are on top of our game and will proudly work with our staff to make everyone’s final visits as memorable as their first,” explain the Fergies.

The couple also note that they delivered the announcement to the full staff as well.

Fets began in 1986 as Fettucini’s Café at 1179 Commercial Dr. A move to its current location, 1230 Commerical Dr, took place in 1996, as did a name tweak to Fets Bar & Grill, and in 2013 they rebranded as Fets Whisky Kitchen.

In recent years, Fets has been known for its legal battle with the B.C. liquor control board. In early 2018, the provincial government conducted four simultaneous Prohibition-style raids on establishments in Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver and confiscated tens of thousands of dollars worth of liquor. They were targeting bottles of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s unique (and expensive) whiskies; the bottles were shipped to B.C. under proper channels and all appropriate taxes paid, however, the licensees bought them through private retailers instead of government stores, which is not allowed.

Among those being raided was Fets Whisky Kitchen.

The raid led to several years of legal back and forth between the Fergies and the B.C. government, which did not get any mention in the couple’s closing notice.

“It’s been a heck of a ride!” write the Fergies. “We have had the pleasure of working with many amazing people over the past 36 years. We have forged many great relationships over the years, and we will miss seeing everyone on a regular basis. Too many memories have been made here to count but we have cherished our time operating one of Vancouver’s longest continuously family-owned and operated restaurants.”

With an end-of-year closing in sight, Fets will mark the last few months in business with several whisky dinners.

The closure does leave one lingering question for Fets’ owners: “Hmm, what to do with one of the world’s largest whisky selections?”

—Lindsay William-Ross, Vancouver is Awesome

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