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.
We already knew it, but now so does the rest of the world. In a first for Vancouver and for Canada, Botanist Bar at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel has won the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award, given by North America’s 50 Best Bars.
This prestigious award recognizes the single-best hospitality experience across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
Jacob Martin wins the 10th annual contest on the closing night of Vancouver Cocktail Week 2023
Canada’s Best Bartender of 2023 is also a certified cheese professional with a refined palate and remarkable sensory appreciation. Congratulations to Ontario’s Jacob Martin, who won World Class Canada’s big prize at the closing gala of Vancouver Cocktail Week on Saturday night.
For the first time in the competition’s six-year history, a whisky wins the Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year.
Fort Beauséjour Peated Single Malt Whisky from Distillerie Fils de Roy in Petit-Paquetville, on New Brunswick’s Acadian coast, achieved the highest score of any spirit entered in the Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition (CASC) this year. It is the the 2023 Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year and the first Canadian Whisky to win the award. “We’re thrilled that our eastern artisan distilleries are receiving some well-deserved praise,” CASC founder Alex Hamer said in a news release.
B.C.’s Shelter Point Distillery becomes the first Canadian bottling by the prestigious Scotch Malt Whisky Society.
During the Victoria Whisky Festival on January 20, the Canadian chapter of Scotland’s Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) unveiled a new bottling, 152.1, also known by the name Vibrant and Vigorous. The “.1” identifies the first-ever bottling from a new-to-SMWS distillery, and the Society identifies whiskies only by number and their often-fanciful house names, because each whisky is a single cask bottled at house strength, and may be a unicorn that doesn’t align with the distillery’s house style.
Getting inside Vancouver’s newest bar involves placing a wager on “King Louie.”
The team behind the hidden Chinatown bar Laowai is opening another underground watering hole, this time inside the (faux) Happy Valley Turf Club off-track betting shop (518 Main St).
Bagheera is an homage to India and the cultural crossroads of Three Kingdoms Hospitality co-founders Lewis Hart and Brij Rathi. While Laowai is modelled after Prohibition-era Shanghai, Bagheera is named for the black panther in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book and was inspired by India at the turn of the 20th century.