Bartenders Opening “The Diamond” In Gastown

Regular readers may recall that we made mention of a new Gastown project a couple months ago involving some well known players. Since then, however, it has sat on Scout’s Anticipated Openings™ page, gathering internet dust under the title of “Gastown Secret”. For real, the owners have been so mightily secretive about it that we were even discouraged from commenting on the address. Some of you may have forgotten that it was even in the pipe. I’d advise against that, for tonight we’ve accrued a fat enough file to finally share the scoop. And dang, it’s a goodie…

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It didn’t have a name back then, and it hardly needed one. With principals that are among the city’s top bartenders – Mark Brand, the 2006 Van Mag Bartender of the Year and co-owner of Boneta; ex-Chambar bar manager Josh Pape; and Sophie Taverner, formerly of The Cascade – they could have called themselves The Ghengis Khan Soda Shack & Swizzle Bar and they’d still likely open to a sustained packed house.

Located upstairs at 6 Powell St overlooking Gassy Jack Square, the sixty seat bar and restaurant is called The Diamond. They’ve picked up Christie Peters (ex-Feenies, Chow) and Pierre Natarani (ex-Feenies, Boneta, Medina) to run the small, easy Asian-themed kitchen (gyozas, ramen, etc), and Chambar’s Charles Ainsbury is on his way down to join the bar team as well (the world’s youngest Bartender of the Year, from Australia).

The business is a two fronted thing, with days seeing it run as a bartending school, something that will hopefully help elevate the bar scene from its rye and coke doldrums. They’ll also be offering spirit seminars to folks who want to sip and learn prior to heading out on the town, not unlike the many wine tasters you might see at Salt just around the corner. But it’s from 5:30pm until midnight (Thurs-Sun) that The Diamond will likely shine brightest.

It’s always really cool watching something like this come together. I’ve toured the place a few times already, and can tell already that it would have stood out strong if it had opened in the big restaurant boom of 2007-2008. But in a year when we can count the interesting openings on one hand, The Diamond, with its slogan of For The People, The Craft. Past & Present, sounds as sure a thing as the sun coming up.

Opening date: late April, 2009.

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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.

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16 Responses to “Bartenders Opening “The Diamond” In Gastown”

  1. Matt R. on March 28th, 2009 1:42 am

    Money line:

    “Price point?”

    “Three dollars to twelve.”

    “Sweet.”

    “Everyone can afford.”

    So true – these guys are doing the right thing at the right time with the right interest rates – genius. Drop in back yard eggs at $6/dozen (for example) and they’ll be set by 37…..

  2. Kyle on March 28th, 2009 12:24 pm

    Awesome.

  3. Luck S. on March 29th, 2009 3:22 pm

    Those fools on the wood & Crusty on the line ?!?! Enough Said.

  4. Paul D on March 29th, 2009 7:49 pm

    Hyperbole alert: “help elevate the bar scene from its rye and coke doldrums”. Really?

    It seems to me that the town is crawling with experty mixologists of the self and otherwise-nominated types. Any place worth its hip quotient has a cocktail philosophy and house drink list with infused, muddled, expertly-prepared creations which salute the classic cocktail era etc etc etc.

    And no-one downtown drinks CC and Coke outside of a few Roxy or No. 5 regulars anyway. Vodka/Soda is the modern insult to cocktail culture.

  5. Scout Magazine on March 29th, 2009 7:59 pm

    Hmm, I disagree with both your points Paul. First, the number of places downtown that are worth their “hip quotient” is minimal. Maybe 10 out of 200. There might be plenty of bartenders who aspire to become expert mixologists, but there are few owners who actually allow it to happen. Second, CC and Coke (or Ginger) is still the suburban drink of choice. Vodka and soda (or Seven) is still a ways off from the lead. I could be wrong…just my read.

  6. Paul D on March 31st, 2009 11:41 am

    Well, at the risk ot taking this discussion sideways . . . the Caesar has consistently ranked as the most popular cocktail in Canada over years and years of surveying. Maybe not in Gastown, but meh, whatever.

    I guess I just reject the notion that Vancouver’s cocktail culture is in peril. Given that we still have a relatively small social downtown population, the number of people who are genuinely interested in cocktail culture and who go out and spend enough to support it probably justifies roughly the number of cocktail forward places we have. If there was an urgent need for more muddling, entrepreneurs would have reacted to it in the same way that the general level restaurant viniculture has improved in our fair burg.

    Where there’s a crisis in Vancouver is in our beer culture. I wrote an article for the Hopscotch magazine on great beer lists in Vancouver and was pressed to come up with five–there are more in Guelph, Ontario. I can go to the Shore Club and have a well-designed and prepared cocktail or superb glass of wine yet the best beer I can get is a mass-made lager like Peroni? Sad.

  7. Evan Leeson on April 10th, 2009 9:15 pm

    I live in Victoria and Vancouver. I drink beer in Victoria, which has an embarrassment of riches in the beer field (including the annual GCBF) made in the many local craft breweries and served on tap all over town. I tend to drink cocktails in Vancouver simply because the pace here is faster. The best beer list I have encountered to date is at Alibi Room.

  8. Crystal on April 30th, 2009 2:30 pm

    I’ve been keeping my eyes open for mention of Diamond being open. It’s April 30 now – are they open for business yet?

  9. Eagranie on May 14th, 2009 12:41 pm

    Any updates on the opening date? So thirsty…

  10. Scout Magazine on May 14th, 2009 12:46 pm

    Dry runs are imminent.

  11. Xtina on May 30th, 2009 12:21 pm

    Went last night… LOVE the place. It was stinkin hot, but the drinks were cold and, as expected, just right. The menu is made up of great snack-while-you-drink-more items and the price points are killer.

    This place is going to rock. Way to go, Mark, Josh and Sophie! (Also happy to see Lou working the floor there.)

    X

  12. Kurtis on May 30th, 2009 2:17 pm

    Congrats to all, and thanks for the hospitality last night.

    Handsome room & handsome folk!

  13. Xtina on June 15th, 2009 7:25 pm

    I hear on solid word that this weekend is OPEN – Fri/Sat/Sun. FINALLY!! Yippee!!!

  14. trader on May 7th, 2010 3:19 am

    oh, shit.
    we had had most bad experience at the bar…
    they choose people by skin of color, fxxk.
    we just order when we want, right?
    but they told us… ” why you guys dont order when i came here? ”

    and also when we got bill, …. you know what was happened…

    anyway, we can feel so shit.. you know.
    some of server girl and fxxk the owner was related.
    which owner can give to customer a huge shit !?

    there is ” white spot ” . oh, ,, men,,, here is Vancouver….
    how can we choose the nationality…

    anyway, i got big shit, so, i just wanted to share the feeling.

    please make ready to go to the place, ok, guys…

    so how do you think?

  15. pablopicante on May 7th, 2010 11:24 am

    trader, your review is as eloquently worded as it is thought-provoking. i had no idea that the staff and ownership of the diamond were racists. thank you for being the whistleblower on this one and alerting the internet to these terrible terrible crimes.

    p.s. dinehere.ca is juuuust over there…

  16. Scout Magazine on May 7th, 2010 11:50 am

    a little bit further…a little bit further…keep going…