This Gastown Wine Bar Was Named After a Stressed Out Animal Suffering a Nervous Breakdown

The ever-evolving Restaurant Graveyard series looks back at the countless, long-shuttered establishments that helped to propel Vancouver’s food and drink forward. Full A-Z with maps and photos here. May they never be forgotten!

Opened in Blood Alley in the Spring of 2010, this tiny, Spanish-inspired restaurant/wine bar came to us from Sean Heather and Scott Hawthorn, co-owners of Salt Tasting Room (also in Blood Alley). It was cheffed for a time by Lee Humphries.

The 21 seat hole-in-the-wall featured a striking mural by local artist Robert Chaplin that spelled out the unlikely tale of a goat that led countless unwitting animals to the slaughter until one day it suffered a nervous breakdown and decided to open and operate a wine bar instead. Heather explains the story in the video below, which was filmed while the restaurant was still under construction.

The name wasn’t a Chaplin fantasy, however. “Judas” goats are real, as Heather explained to me long before the artist got to work on the embellishment:

“When animals are trucked to a slaughterhouse they are often reluctant to get off the truck…..go figure! Most abattoirs have a resident older goat living on the property. The goat is trained to make nice with the animals, and then lead them off the truck to the obvious conclusion. Because of the goat’s treachery, and abuse of his position of trust, he is nicknamed the ‘Judas Goat’. The tragedy of it all is that the goat is ignorant of what is happening around him and his role in it. He is just being friendly. […] The Judas Goat in Blood Alley — for numerous reasons, we couldn’t resist.”

Judas Goat closed in September of 2013. The space would become the irreverent Gringo shortly thereafter.

  • Judas Goat
  • Judas Goat
  • Judas Goat
  • Judas Goat Salad
  • Scott Hawthorn, co-owner of Judas Goat
  • Judas Goat  corner
  • Judas Goat
  • Judas Goat
  • Judas Goat 2
  • Judas Goat
  • Judas Goat
  • Judas Goat Meatballs

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