Blood Alley Getting Spanish Tapas Bar

From the little known Department of Just When You Thought 2009 Was Going To Totally Suck comes phenomenal news from a Gastown alleyway.

Restaurateur Sean Heather is planning to open a new concept in the small space currently under development right next door to Salt Tasting Room in Blood Alley. It will be a 21 seat Spanish tapas joint, with food items selling for $2 to $3 and liquids focusing on sherry, wine, and beer. There is no name just yet.

Sean will be doing a guest travel blog for Scout when he travels to do research in Spain next month, so stay tuned for more updates as things progress. Arriving late summer ’09. If you have any suggestions for names, let loose in the comments below.

More Saltiness…

Here are some shots from last week’s unveiling of Iberico ham for local chefs in the Salt Cellar. Vegetarians and small children may want to skip it…



Andrew Morrison is a west coast boy who studied history and classics at the Universities of Cape Town and Toronto after an adolescence spent riding skateboards and working in restaurants. He is the editor of Scout Magazine, the weekly food and restaurant columnist for the Westender newspaper, a contributor to Vancouver and Western Living magazines, and a proud board member of the Chef’s Table Society of BC. He lives and works by the beach in Vancouver.


38 Responses to “Blood Alley Getting Spanish Tapas Bar”

  1. Tom on February 2nd, 2009 1:56 am

    Is that to the west or east of Salt?

  2. Kevin on February 2nd, 2009 8:18 am

    How about ‘Pimienta’?

  3. Owen Lightly on February 2nd, 2009 9:55 am

    This is an amazing development!

  4. carlos concha on February 2nd, 2009 10:39 am

    damm i love that , ill be back from colombia soon!! great pics !

  5. carlos concha on February 2nd, 2009 10:46 am

    la “Tasca de Sevilla “will be a great name ! Tasca is like a trattoria a bistro or a paladar in cuba !

  6. khristian on February 2nd, 2009 10:47 am

    How about “El Rincon” which means “the corner”.

    This is very exciting.

    Un saludo,


  7. starlady on February 2nd, 2009 11:58 am

    That’s awesome! Looking forward to it!

  8. Munchkin on February 2nd, 2009 1:05 pm

    So very exciting!

  9. Ben on February 2nd, 2009 2:38 pm

    Damnit…Stole my idea but realistically it wasn’t going to be off the ground for about 10 years, so I guess someone was bound to do it.

    I’ll be there. Add it to my list of the 2009 Tour de Gastown.

  10. Kyle on February 2nd, 2009 4:32 pm

    Very, VERY exciting.

  11. sean Orr on February 3rd, 2009 2:48 am

    Sangre means blood in Spanish. Salt and Sangre. Otherwise Pimienta is perfect. Also: Brezo (Spanish for heather).
    San Juan Cordovas
    Armada (the Spanish Armada sunk off the coast of Ireland)
    Black Sheep
    Black Irish
    Spanish Banks

  12. Scout Magazine on February 3rd, 2009 5:52 pm

    I like Spanish Banks. Others: Bank of Spain. Embarcadero. De Fuca. Dubloon. Spanish Tasting Room.

  13. Cheffrey on February 3rd, 2009 7:09 pm

    It sounds just like Spanish Tasting Room, the “hoax” restaurant. I wonder if copycats Cassandra Anderton and the Martini Boys will wait for confirmation on this one? :-)

  14. Sean Heather on February 3rd, 2009 7:58 pm

    what we are hoping to achieve here is a small space that is Spanish Tapas Bar in concept & spirit but is not limited to the food and drink of Spain/Portugal. So, while the food will mimic Tapas it will not just be Spanish food, ditto the wine list. We are not looking to relocate a Tapas Bar from Spain, but rather capture the essence of a Tapas Bar and use this to feature the best food & wine available locally and around the world…kind of like what Salt does.

    When it comes to the name, and with the previous paragraph in mind, it might be best to drop any sort of a Spanish name. The byline should convey the description of what the room wants is i.e. “Alley Tapas Bar” and the name could be “Salt Box” or, well, we don’t know yet!!

  15. Scout Magazine on February 3rd, 2009 8:22 pm

    I didn’t make it up.

  16. sean Orr on February 4th, 2009 12:00 am

    Food Cave

  17. Stephen Bonner on February 4th, 2009 2:45 pm

    Something simple like “Callejon” which is alley in Spanish

  18. Stephen Bonner on February 4th, 2009 2:59 pm

    other ideas….. racion “substantial snack” entremeses “finger food”

    montana y mar “mountains and sea” – appropriate for Bc as well

    Sean if you need some pointers on where to stay or eat drop me a line. Helen and I spent close to a month in Spain last year.

  19. Scout Magazine on February 4th, 2009 3:08 pm

    FYI: Sean wrote in a comment above:

    “When it comes to the name, and with the previous paragraph in mind, it might be best to drop any sort of a Spanish name. The byline should convey the description of what the room wants is i.e. “Alley Tapas Bar” and the name could be “Salt Box” or, well, we don’t know yet!!”

    So Spanish names are most likely out.

  20. Stephen Bonner on February 4th, 2009 3:22 pm

    Tapas bar concept without a Spanish name; then its just another bar no? This city lacks restaurants/bars etc with Spanish names – in my opionon. Spain is hot culturally and gastronomically – look at London and the number of Spanish places that have opened in the last two years.

  21. Ben on February 4th, 2009 6:28 pm

    My dream still lives! Unless Sean is deliberately smoke screening.

  22. Captain on February 4th, 2009 8:22 pm

    Why is everyone looking so glum at the celebrtion of the swine, good lord you would have to smack me in the face with a crowbar ( or the bone)to remove the grin of my mitt.

  23. Sean Heather on February 4th, 2009 10:59 pm

    A Spanish name does not a Spanish Tapas Bar make!

  24. Scout Magazine on February 5th, 2009 12:45 am

    Tell that to Las Margaritas. :-)

  25. scott hawthorn on February 5th, 2009 12:16 pm

    i think the role i feel most comfortable in is trying to create our own culture here in vancouver rather than directly copying someone else’s culture and doing a 100% replication. i love the tapas bars in spain and think sean and i can find some inspiration from the food and experience in the rooms there as well in the lifestyles of those that run a small locally sourced menu. it is the informal neighborly experience, small plates and locally source seasonal experience in spain that is hopefully going to give us inspiration for some ideas we already have.

    having said that i would love to have a truly authentic spanish tapas bar here in vancouver but its not what this project is about. i like to create our own unique content. besides why have the carbon footprint of moving something half way around the world when there is already equal or better products here….

    ps gastown really needs a small counter sushi only spot. someone please do one.

  26. Scout Magazine on February 5th, 2009 12:35 pm

    I agree. Michi Sushi would be good. Is the owner reading today?

  27. sean Orr on February 5th, 2009 1:17 pm

    I think I get it. (although the proximity of Alhambra hotel really is enticing, also, Spanish Heather? Come on! Am i right? Back me up on this one people!)

    My new suggestions:

    -The Syndicate of Gentleman (too sinister? it relates to the group of property owners from Victoria who persuaded col. moody to have the CN terminus in coal harbour)
    -Trounce (the actrual name of the alley, blood alley is just the little square)
    -Mill Town
    -The Tea House (a nod perhaps to vancouver history?)
    -Back Alley Tapas (too boring? has a nice ring)
    -Bung Hole (nobody will get it, will they?)

  28. Stephen Bonner on February 5th, 2009 2:40 pm

    Scott i like your comments on the new place. I guess we have all been hoping for something Spanish in Gastown for a long time. Small plates with a regional focus makes sense. Enjoy Spain and its many small plates that really do vary so much frmm the North to the South and East to the West. I don’t thinkk we could ever have a real Spanish tapas bar here – the health department would go nuts over a bartender smoking a cigarette underneath the hanging jamon -)

  29. ariadna on February 5th, 2009 3:46 pm


  30. Sean Heather on February 5th, 2009 4:27 pm

    Urban Dictionary says that cabrón when used as slang in Spain can mean “asshole-fucker-bitch” ….sounds like the best suggestion so far.

  31. Stephen Bonner on February 5th, 2009 7:07 pm

    I think that is the entire vocab on the local residents in blood alley -)

  32. Scout Magazine on February 6th, 2009 2:52 am

    “Salt Box” is a reference to a gender-specific piece of anatomy in Johannesburg slang. I said that as cleanly as I could (we’re all about the family here on Scout).

  33. Vanessa on March 15th, 2009 11:16 pm

    oh cool! thanks for the information.
    i love salt tasting room and i’m looking forward to another restaurant in blood alley! $2 to $3 tapas? sounds good to me!

  34. Tara on May 6th, 2009 10:07 am

    How bout “Pepper” with a little red chili on the door this time? ;-)

  35. Hai on September 28th, 2009 11:59 am

    how about the P.I.T. ( Pleasure in Tapas/tea?)

  36. Hai on September 28th, 2009 12:00 pm

    how about The P.I.T.? Pleasure in Tapas/tea?

  37. Sean Heather on September 29th, 2009 10:21 am

    No longer looking for a name – “Judas Goat” is the chosen one.

    J.G. was actually named “Best New Restaurant Name” in Georgia Straight’s Best Of Vancouver issue

    For those of you who are interested, you can follow our “slower than a snail in a pool of molasses” progress here:

    Sean Heather

  38. Julia Watt on March 17th, 2010 1:02 pm

    Judas Goat is open for business!

    The Spanish style tapas bar seats 28 and the Executive Chef Lee Humphries’ small plates are influenced by Spain, Italy, France, and beyond.

    Monday to Saturday 5pm -midnight. For reservations you can email Sean at or call the restaurant directly at 604-681-5090.