A secret bar is opening behind a Chinatown ‘betting shop’

There’s a new speakeasy in town!

The team behind Laowai is opening another hidden bar in Chinatown, Bagheera. Supplied photo

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.

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A B.C. Artisan Whisky is Named Canada’s Best

For the first time in its 13-year history, the 2023 Canadian Whisky Awards have named a B.C. craft bottling the best whisky in Canada.

Sons of Vancouver’s Palm Trees & a Tropical Breeze was named Canadian Whisky of the Year at the 2023 Canadian Whisky Awards. Supplied photo

At the Canadian Whisky Awards on January 19, Palm Trees & A Tropical Breeze from the North Vancouver-based Sons of Vancouver won top Canadian Whisky of the Year honours. It was also named Canadian Whisky of the Year, Artisan Producers; Barrel Finished Whisky of the Year; and All-Rye Whisky of the Year.

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Watch: One of the world’s best bartenders makes drinks for thousands from her Vancouver home

She’s spreading her world-class knowledge online.

Vancouver-based bartender Kaitlyn Stewart is TikTok famous

Kaitlyn Stewart loves to learn.

If the Vancouver bartender sees a new technique or tries a drink that captures her interest, she wants to know how it works. “I’m like a sponge, I’m always trying to soak it up,” she tells V.I.A over the phone.

She believes constantly learning is a testament to being a good bartender or even chef. It’s also likely one of the traits that earned her the title Bartender of the Year at the World Class Competition in 2017.

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Here’s what the author of ‘A Bartender’s Guide to the World’ loves most about Vancouver

“It feels like Vancouver’s still one of the best-kept secrets in the world,” says award-winning cocktail expert Lauren Mote.

Lauren Mote is the author of A Bartender’s Guide to the World, a new book released Oct. 25, 2022 that chronicles her global travels in the cocktail industry with recipes.Photo courtesy Penguin Random House Canada

When it comes to tips about enjoying cocktails in Vancouver, Lauren Mote is a bit of ringer.

The award-winning Canadian mixologist and author of the new book A Bartender’s Guide to the World actually called Vancouver home for several years, crafting cocktails at some of the city’s top spots and launching her business Bittered Sling with her husband, chef Jonathan Chovancek.

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First Ever Craft BC Whisky Weekend comes to Victoria and Vancouver

The Craft BC Whisky Weekend was held October 29 and 30 in Victoria and Vancouver. Supplied photo

Over the past decade British Columbia has become the focal point for craft distilleries within Canada. Prior to 2013, there were only a handful of distilleries in operation in the province. However, once the Provincial Government established new regulations around “commercial” and “craft” distilleries, exempting “craft” distillers from the more than 160 percent markup the province applies to all other B.C. spirit makers, there has been an enormous boom. Today, there are close to 100 distilleries in operation.

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Loving the nightlife at Bar Convent Berlin

Guest shifts and cool cocktails at some of the city’s best bars

Bar Convent Berlin is Europe’s top bar and beverage sector expo, attracting some 12,000 visitors each year. But when the BCB exhibition halls close for the day, the party is just getting started as top international bartenders join local cocktail bars for guest shifts and spirits brands host popups around the city. The Alchemist publisher Gail Nugent was at the most recent BCB in October and captured these snapshots of the nightlife. The next BCB will be held October 9 to 11, 2023, barconvent.com.

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Stars of the Bar

The inaugural Michelin Guide Vancouver gave eight local chefs the coveted white jacket—but also acknowledged some local bar stars.


Michelin restaurant inspectors look for high-quality ingredients, personality of the creators on the plate, plus a harmony of flavours and mastery of technique—all consistent over multiple visits. The same ingredients go into a Michelin-quality bar, as Vancouver discovered on October 27 as the Michelin Guide granted world-class honours in the city for the first time.

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A Toast to Barcelona

In a happy coincidence, the host city for The World’s 50 Best Bars 2022 is also home to The World’s Best Bar, Paradiso—and two more bars in the top 10. From the Western Canadian Academy Chair for the awards, here’s the rundown on some of this year’s other big winners. 

The team at the number one-placed Paradiso in Barcelona celebrates their win. Photo courtesy of The World’s 50 Best Bars

“If you build it, they will come” could have been the tagline for the 10th anniversary of The World’s 50 Best Bars awards ceremony, held in Barcelona on October 4. It has been a buzzy cocktail destination for the last several years—and particularly during the pandemic, when Spain remained relatively open to tourists. Building on  that strong foundation, the city has scored bragging rights for The World’s Best Bar of 2022: Paradiso. Also placing in the top 10 were the city’s beloved Two Schmucks (#7) and Sips (which had the most impressive rise from last year’s list, up 34 places this year to #3).

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‘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.

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