Lounge in “Patiotown” for your summer stay-cation

Vancouver’s Gastown creates a safe, social outdoor oasis for the return of cocktail culture this summer. It makes perfect sense for the neighbourhood founded on the bar that helped build a city.

Supplied photo

Under some welcome umbrella shade on the Jules Bistro patio, live music wafts over from a nearby performer, the all-day-happy-hour Chambord kiss of French Martinis flow for $14, while cocktailians sip under vintage lamposts festooned with lush flower baskets. It almost feels like the “before times.”

As life slowly returns to normal this summer, Vancouver’s Gastown—the neighbourhood where the city started, and where our most famous bar ever was started by its namesake, nicknamed Gassy Jack (aka John Deighton) more than 150 years ago—has embraced pandemic conditions to enhance its reputation as patio central.

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2010

Looking back at the year that changed Vancouver’s cocktail culture

The Olympic flame isn’t the only legacy of 2010—so is Vancouver’s vibrant cocktail scene. Istockphoto.com photo

When Vancouverites look back at 2010, we think of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, a rain-soaked Wayne Gretzky and all those red mittens. But the really big news that year could be found at the bottom of a cocktail glass.

Proper cocktail bars were finally opening all over town. Global spirits brand reps started showing up to dole out samples. The organizers of Tales of the Cocktail reached out to see if Vancouver would be a good site for Tales on Tour. (Spoiler alert: Yes, in 2011 and 2012.) And Imbibe  magazine discovered “a Galapagos of mixology, a place where cocktails have evolved independently from the rest of the drinking world.”

Ten years later, we revisit the year that changed the city’s cocktail culture.

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Shaking it up at Science of Cocktails

The fifth annual event was a whizz-bang success

Science of Cocktails, held February 6 at Science World, surpassed a cumulative milestone of $1.2 million raised for the Class Field Trip Bursary Program. Tara Rafiq photo

“This is just what we do,” says Trevor Kallies, president of the B.C. chapter of the Canadian Bartender Association and the creative force behind one of Vancouver’s most dynamic cocktail events. “This” isn’t just making great drinks, although it’s that, too. Mostly, though, it’s coming together to help those who need it most.

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Vancouver bar claims government seizure of $40K in whisky breached charter rights

Fets Whisky Kitchen on Commercial Drive was raided in January 2018

In January 2018, Fets Whisky Kitchen was raided by B.C.’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch. Photo Fets Whisky Kitchen/Facebook

The Vancouver bar taking the B.C. government to court in an effort to recover $40,000 in whisky seized in 2018 has launched further court action alleging the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch breached its charter rights.

In January 2018, Fets Whisky Kitchen, a mainstay on Commercial Drive since 1986, was raided by B.C.’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch — 242 bottles of Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) single malt whisky were seized, and owners Eric and Allura Fergie were eventually fined $3,000.

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Thrilling open-bar event with 30+ drink stations mixes cocktails and science

The Science of Cocktails pairs some of Vancouver’s most accomplished mixologists with the wow-factor of physics, chemistry, and biology for a night to remember

With over 30 stations pouring exciting drinks made by top Vancouver bartenders, Science of Cocktails 2020 promises to be another thrilling night of drinks and fun. Photo courtesy Science World

It’s one of the city’s most dazzling drinking events: The Science of Cocktails pairs some of Vancouver’s most accomplished mixologists with the wow-factor of physics, chemistry, and biology for an epic open bar night to remember.

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Rock & Rye: Resurrecting a distinctly Canadian spirit in Vancouver

As a Canadian distillery, Resurrection Spirits has taken ownership of a distinctly Canadian spirit: rye. Photo: Resurrection Spirits Inc./Facebook

There is an inescapable paradox at play in the notion of craft production. It is like the beloved local indie band that creates a hit single and then ends up filling stadiums on the next tour. “Sellouts!” we cry, too cool to support them now that they are popular. “It used to be about the music, man.”

Make something cool, people like it. Too many people like it, your thing is not cool anymore. It is a philosophical minefield that makes artisanship a tough gig.

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Thrilling open-bar event with 30+ drink stations mixes cocktails and science

With over 30 stations pouring exciting drinks made by top Vancouver bartenders, Science of Cocktails 2020 promises to be another thrilling night of drinks and fun. Photo courtesy Science World

It’s one of the city’s most dazzling drinking events: The Science of Cocktails pairs some of Vancouver’s most accomplished mixologists with the wow-factor of physics, chemistry, and biology for an epic open bar night to remember.

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Bottled Up! with Brian Grant

Brian Grant. Laura Starr photo

Meet the incomparable Brian Grant. With 20 years in his back pocket in the bar industry, he can school you with stories of what he’s seen and done in and around the Downtown, Yaletown, and Gastown neighbourhoods of Vancouver. He can also school you in a boxing ring, as he is an absolutely beloved and revered coach at Eastside Boxing, and a big part of the annual boxing charity event, Aprons for Gloves. Intimidation need not apply though. In everything he does, Brian is engaging, patient, and inspiring, whether he’s yelling his pep talk in your corner during a boxing match, or pouring your favourite drink at his extremely cozy lounge in East Vancouver that doubles as his distillery for Resurrection Spirits. Starting from the bottom, he has crafted a life in this industry through perseverance and humanity, and he continues to give and give and give some more. A big cheers to this legendary Vancouverite!

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Seven fall and winter cocktail events you don’t want to miss

With so many exciting events coming up, you won’t have a moment of boredom all winter long.

Art of the Cocktail. Supplied photo
Toronto Cocktail Week

Get your kicks in the Six this fall: The six-day festival of all things boozy returns
October 15 to 20, bringing together bars, brands and bartenders—as well as consumers, of course—to celebrate the city’s evolving cocktail scene. TCW will be shaking things up with a neighbourhood-focused bar guide, themed gala events, guided, seminars and pop-up bars featuring familiar faces from Vancouver. torontococktailweek.ca


Art of the cocktail

The Alchemist is pleased to sponsor Western Canada’s most important cocktail festival October 19 in beautiful downtown Victoria. Some 900 attendees will gather at the Grand Tasting to sip and sample cocktails and products from 40 exhibitors pouring more than 60 spirits. Plus there will be masterclasses, guided tastings and more fun than you can shake a cobbler at during this fundraiser for the Victoria Film Festival. artofthecocktail.ca


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