Take a peek inside the brand new cocktail and snack bar in Vancouver
When you think bottled or canned cocktails—those commercially-produced beverages known in industry shorthand as “RTD” for “ready to drink”—you might conjure up the same imagery as Vancouver’s Please! Beverage Co.’s founder, Noel Steen: shotgunning a can on a boat.
While that might be the norm for some of the familiar big brands available to drinkers in Canada (and certainly the makings of a potential banger of a good time), Steen wanted to create a line of bottled cocktails that better reflected the integrity of the ingredients with which they can be made and create a cool, unique space for hanging out and drinking right in Vancouver.
The result is Please!, which has recently opened up the doors to its “tasting house” in Mount Pleasant. Situated in a former autobody repair shop, the multi-faceted renovated building serves as not only a gathering place to sip and snack, but also as Please!’s production facility and a retail space for their own products and merch as well as packaged foods for building a picnic to go.
Steen says he was keen to be behind a brand that has a true narrative and uses real ingredients. He explains that the idea to have “a physical space with production facility rooted in the neighbourhood” was the vision from the get-go, though what did come first was Please! releasing its initial line of bottled cocktails.
To create the drinks, Please! brought on Dickie’s Ginger Beer founder Stephen Tufts as their in-house “liquid guy” (Tufts chose his job title). Wildly passionate about making delicious drinks, Tufts works in the Please! lab and production kitchen to first infuse hard spirits like vodka and gin with fresh ingredients like fruit and herbs that are then combined with other fresh elements to create cocktails.
What’s on the menu to eat and drink at Please!’s new ‘tasting house’
The Please! cocktail bar has several taps for pouring their house-made concoctions, like the Mango Sticky Rice made with (mango, pandan, coconut, and rice) or the Green Tea Fizz (green tea, osmanthus flower, vodka, lemon, and mint). The tasting room has launched with four drinks on tap but plans to expand the line soon to about three times as many.
One delicious discovery, Steen says, is that the infused spirits are very drinkable on their own – before they make it into the cocktails. That realization led to the inception of another branch of Please! Beverage Co’s offerings; guests can order up a pour of vodka infused with fresh strawberries, for example, or raspberry gin, served either straight up, on the rocks, or with soda water.
Steen adds that a plan is in motion to bottle those “intentionally simple” infused spirits, too, and offer those bottles for sale for enjoyment at home.
For now, Please! is getting acclimated to its new digs, which offer the flipside of the old “business up front, party in the back” trope. Here, the business in front is all about the guests, who can come have a good time in the bright, airy, modern tasting room which boasts ample seating, lots of lush greenery, and vibrant art. (Please! works with local artists to create their labels; look for those designs on tote bags and on the paper coasters under your cocktail glasses.)
Along with the drinks comes a snack menu from Jamjar, the well-known Lebanese restaurant and caterer, featuring share plates like dips or flatbreads. The family-friendly space is starting off by being open Tuesday through Saturday from 3 to 11 p.m., but Steen says the plan is to expand their hours soon to include lunch, which will likely be quite welcome in the office-building dense area of Mount Pleasant Please! calls home.
Then, of course, there’s the business of the retail space, where you can stock up on items to go, and, on busy days, even have a drink at the soon-to-be-installed bar in the waiting area.
While some might see the front part being the party, spirits are, literally and figuratively, bubbling in the production area, where things are about to enter a lively time of creating more for customers to drink. Ingredients hold the promise of a cocktail styled after the beloved juice drink Five Alive, among other inspired offerings Tufts and the team have been perfecting.
Ultimately, there is much more to come from Please!, according to Steen.
“We’re only really just getting started.”
Please! Beverage Co.’s “Tasting House” is located at 222 W 5th Ave in Vancouver
—This story by Lindsay William-Ross first appeared on Vancouver is Awesome