The First Look Inside Gastown’s Upcoming Beer-Themed “Bitter”

August 4, 2011.
Operations manager Mike Mitchell and owner Sean Heather inside the construction site at 18 West Hastings

by Andrew Morrison | I was given a tour of the upcoming “Bitter” beer-themed restaurant the other day. The building that houses it on Hastings had been wrapped up in scaffolding for as long as I can remember, but it’s all been dismantled now and construction has begun in earnest. Scout broke the news of its coming back in January:

Sean Heather and Scott Hawthorn, partners at Salt Tasting Room and Judas Goat, are joining forces for a third time to open a new joint called Bitter. “It’s an extension of Salt, really” says Heather, “only its a beer format instead of wine”. Beers will be had in all guises and sizes, from tiny tasters to pitchers, while the food will see fresh pretzels, weisswurst, smoked sausage, house sauerkraut, currywurst, whole smoked ham hocks, pickled onions, scotch eggs, pork pies, and more. Bitter will land on the main floor of the oddly-shaped (flat-iron-ish) building at 18 West Hastings opposite Pigeon Park, and will sport some 140 seats, two entrances (one from the street and one from the back alley), a patio in Center A’s parking lot, a 20ft diameter circular bar and finishing kitchen around which diners will sit and be served, and my favourite thing of all..a neon sign flashing the word “BITTER”.

Much of the construction is being done off-site, so right now they’re in prep stage, making everything ready for plug and play installation which will probably go down in September. When it launches toward the end of October, we can expect some 50 beers available in an atmosphere reminiscent of Vancouver’s pre-Prohibition era when the ales, lagers and bitters flowed liberally from a multitude of local breweries.

A circular bar will dominate the strangely shaped space. It will be backed by what Heather calls a “tower of beer,” meaning a working, Wonka-esque display of kegs, pressure valves and lines.  Surrounding it will be wooden bench banquettes (think church pews) and walls of glass looking out onto the street and through to the white picket fence-enclosed patio (shaded by a pair of leafy trees).

True to the heritage of the building, there are mosaic floors that are in the process of being patched and restored, cool girder beams across the ancient wood-slatted ceilings and lots and lots of gnarly red brick. The back of the space, which funnels to a point like the prow of a ship (sailing toward the Pender gate to Chinatown), will see an 18 seat semi-private room with a flatscreen TV for Canucks games and, typical in Heather ventures, an alleyway entrance for take-out fare. Take a look inside below, and please forgive the shaky camera work as I just got off crutches…

  • Bitter exterior
  • Bitter exterior
  • Bitter exterior
  • Bitter exterior
  • Bitter interior looking north from the private room to the main bar area
  • The exit to the patio
  • Sean and Mike
  • Bitter interior
  • Bitter interior detail
  • Heritage brick column
  • Interior detail
  • Beam work
  • Brick
  • Laying mosaic fixes
  • Laying mosaic fixes
  • Laying mosaic fixes
  • Bar front
  • Patio area looking onto Hastings
  • Patio
  • Patio
  • Sean Heather

ALL ANTICIPATED OPENINGS

#ScoutThis

There are 6 comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The scout Community

49th Parallel Coffee Roasters & Lucky’s Doughnuts Acorn Alibi Room Ancora Waterfront Dining & Patio AnnaLena Araxi Ask For Luigi Au Comptoir Bambudda Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie Bar Oso Bauhaus Beach Bay Café & Patio Beachhouse Bearfoot Bistro Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe Bel Café Bestie Beta5 Chocolates Biltmore Cabaret Bishop’s Bistro Pastis Bistro Wagon Rouge Bitter Tasting Room Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar Bottleneck Bufala Burdock & Co. Cadeaux Bakery Café Medina Caffè Artigiano Camp Lifestyle + Coffee Co. Campagnolo Campagnolo ROMA Cannibal Cafe Cartems Donuterie Chambar Chefs’ Table Society of BC Chewies Oyster Bar Chez Christophe Chocolaterie Patisserie  Chicha Chill Winston ChocolaTas Chocolate Arts Cibo Trattoria Cinara CinCin Ristorante + Bar Cioffi’s Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill Cocktails & Canapes Catering + Events Cuchillo Culinary Capers Catering & Special Events Dirty Apron Cooking School & Delicatessen District Brasserie Dockside Restaurant & Brewing Company Doi Chaang Coffee Co. Earnest Ice Cream Edible Canada Elementa Espana Exile Bistro Fable Fanny Bay Farmer’s Apprentice Fat Badger Fat Mao Field & Social Fish Counter Forage Giovane Cafe + Eatery Gotham Steakhouse & Bar Grain Granville Island Grapes & Soda Greenhorn Espresso Bar Gyoza Bar Hapa Izakaya Hart House Restaurant Harvest Community Foods Hawksworth Restaurant Heirloom Homer Street Cafe & Bar Hy’s Steakhouse Irish Heather Jamjar JJ Bean Joy Road Catering Juice Truck Juniper Keefer Bar Kin Kao Knifewear Krokodile Pear Kuma Tofino L’Abattoir La Buca La Mezcaleria La Pentola La Quercia La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop Latab Wine Bar Lazy Gourmet Les Amis du Fromage Lions Pub, The Liquidity Bistro Little District Lobby Lounge + RawBar Lolita’s South Of The Border Cantina Longtail Kitchen Los Cuervos Taqueria & Cantina Lupo Restaurant Maenam Mamie Taylor’s MARKET by Jean-Georges Matchstick Coffee Roasters Meat & Bread Meinhardt Fine Foods Miku Restaurant Milano Coffee Minami Miradoro Mission Mogiana Coffee Mosquito Nicli Antica Pizzeria Nightingale Nomad Nook Notturno Nuba Oakwood Canadian Bistro Olive & Anchor OLO OPUS Bar Oru Osteria Savio Volpe Oyama Sausage Co. Pallet Coffee Roasters Phoenix Perennials Pidgin Pied-à-Terre Pizzeria Farina Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn Pourhouse Railtown Cafe Railtown Catering Rain Or Shine Ice Cream Rainier Provisions Red Wagon, The Revolver Coffee Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. Royal Dinette Sai Woo Salt Tasting Room Salty Tongue Café Savoury Chef Settlement Building Shaughnessy Restaurant Shebeen Whisk(e)y House Shelter Shika Provisions Siena Six Acres Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe Stable House, The Steel Toad Brewpub & Dining Hall Supermarine Tableau Bar Bistro Tacofino Tavola Terra Breads Thierry Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie Timber Timbertrain Coffee Roasters Torafuku Tractor Foods Truffles Fine Foods Two Rivers Specialty Meats UBC Farm Uncommon Cafe, The Urban Digs Farm Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise™ Program Via Tevere Pizzeria Napoletana West Restaurant Wildebeest Wolf In The Fog YEW seafood

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was .

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was .