Spring is awards season, and B.C. bars and distilleries have been picking up shiny gold trinkets all over the place. Just a few of the honours: Botanist Bar won the prestigious Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award from North America’s 50 Best Bars and at #19 was the only B.C. bar to make the list. Clive’s Classic Lounge in Victoria was named World Whisky Hotel Bar at the World Whiskies Awards, which also recognized Macaloney’s Island Distillery with a trio of top prizes. The Keefer Bar was nominated Best Canadian Bar by the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards. And Okanagan Spirits was named Artisanal Distillery of the Year at the 2022 Canadian Whisky Awards.
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.
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.
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.
Continuing its thrilling series of guest cocktail bar collabs, this November Botanist Bar’s executive chef Hector Laguna and head bartender Jeff Savage will welcome Mexico City’s acclaimed Hanky Panky cocktail bar (No. 13 on the World’s 50 Best Bars list) for a Día de los Muertos celebration.
The Keefer ranks No. 25 at the inaugural North America’s 50 Best Bars Awards; Botanist places No. 2 on Canada’s 50 Best Bars
We all know what a dynamic cocktail scene Vancouver has, and what a talented group of bartenders we have slinging drinks here.
Now the rest of the world is getting an idea, too. Well, sort of.
Two sets of “best bar” rankings have just been released, with nods to some of our favourite watering holes. But as always, some of our very best cocktail destinations couldn’t make the list because they just don’t qualify as bars. (Because of our licensing rules, they are often technically considered restaurants.) No matter. We know who you are.
Botanist Bar in the Fairmont Pacific Rim has a holiday gift for cocktail lovers: an avant garde, off-menu cocktail and food pairing experience that celebrates the flavours of the Pacific Northwest.
It’s a collaboration between head bartender Jeff Savage, Canada’s Bartender of the Year 2020, and executive chef Hector Laguna. Together, this talented team will take guests on a wild flavour journey. “This one is very specific to what I love about the Pacific Northwest; it’s five savoury courses and one dessert course,” says Savage. “My cocktails are a love letter to Canada—
a love letter to the beautiful nature around us.”
There is always an element of theatre in a good bar, the dazzle of lights bouncing off a mixing glass, the rows of bottles lining the back bar like so many punters, the deft drama of the barkeep shaking a cocktail to his own overture. But the Beaufort Bar actually is a theatre, or was, back when it was the renowned cabaret stage at The Savoy, where the composer George Gershwin was known to strike up the band from time to time. When the hotel was renovated and reopened a decade ago, it was transformed into this glamorous Art Deco bar, all darkly gleaming in black and gold, perhaps the most romantic saloon in all of London.