Michelle and I checked out Foxtrot Tango Whisky (“FTW” for short) over the weekend. We were the first to arrive at the new Victoria bar located right beside the 42 year old Bartholemew’s Pub at 721 Humboldt Street (at the foot of the Doubletree by Hilton hotel). The place was not yet a week old but it quickly filled up, a testament – no doubt – to the personal pull and popularity of the people behind it.
The 40 seater, conceived by Victoria barman Shawn Soole (ex-Clive’s, Little Jumbo) with Shane Clark and Jill Tulloch of Clarke & Co., had some beautiful old bones to work with (mouldings, booths, wood panelling), enough at least to lend FTW’s 1950’s Los Angeles theme a convincing patina. The elaborate, era-inspired cocktail list (presented as a busy broadsheet of old) furthers the illusion. Only the lack of tobacco smoke and the prices break the spell — the latter being squarely of this decade. (Don’t let the light in the photos below fool you; when the blinds are closed it’s fittingly dark and brooding, like a scene from a Nathaneal West novel.)
It’s a cool concept that’s well executed, no doubt helped along by its diminutive size and exceedingly capable staff. The pair of drinks I tried were just as bonkers good as I expected them to be. Anything less would have been a shocker, for this is nothing if not a bartender’s bar.
Selfishly, I wish to hell and back it was in Vancouver.
Note: the red-roped off booth in the corner is in part a memorial to local bartender Brendan Brewster, who passed away in the Spring of 2016. Take a closer look…
photos by Michelle Sproule