by Andrew Morrison | We broke the news of Chambar’s coming expansion back in October. The Belgian-Moroccan eatery – one of my personal favourites since it opened 10 years ago on Beatty Street – is only moving next door…
The new restaurant will be roughly twice the size of the current one, with about 270 seats between two levels, a 50 seat patio, and private rooms that can fit 20 – 80 people. There are lots of opportunities for new design motifs to fit in with the old, but I suspect it will look very similar to the original. Yes, in addition to the branding, relaxed vibe, deep drinks programs, and casual flirtations with fine dining, much of its furniture will also be making the move, which is great news because who doesn’t love the original tables, couches, banquettes and button-ed up red booths? ”The layout will be just like the old Chambar,” Karri explains, pointing out how the front will be the lounge and bar area that narrows at the waist to open up into a dining room. “The new place has brick and beams, too,” she adds, referring to the core aesthetic of the original. One big change is that the wall that divides the patio from the interior will be glass (said patio will also have its all-day sunshine filtered by young trees – sounds awesome). Also making the move will be the staff, though they’ll definitely be needing to hire a lot more people considering the breadth of their expansion.
30 more people, to be exact. They’ll need them, too, as the place is huge. I went on a tour with co-owner Karri Schuermans today and while it was clear that they still have a ways to go if they’re to meet their revised target opening date of the first week of August, most of what’s left to do is cosmetic. Most of the heavy lifting appeared to be done. As you can see from the shots below, it does resemble the layout of the original Chambar. The only obvious departures are the sprawling patio (which I expect will be pretty magical), the stairs that lead down to the massive kitchens and private room, the rooftop deck for further private functions (killer views from up there), the sound proofing at the entrance to the rear dining room, and the introduction of a new colour to the Chambar fold: a tealish green (evidenced on the wall section by the door and wave-like panel that spills across the ceiling above the bar).
Owner/chef Nico Schuermans menus are also taking shape. He’ll be keeping plenty of the Cafe Medina (also moving) originals – which he developed in the first place – for breakfast service (fricassee, etc), while lunch and dinner will see classic mainstays like the lamb tagine and the moules frites joined by about 20 small plates, which are still in development. I don’t know how they could possibly improve on the drinks side of things, but they’re aiming to make life easier for the bar staff. The 22 seat bar is purpose-built for ease and efficiency (wells and rails galore), and the wines are going to be laid resplendent on racks inside a great big temperature-controlled walk-in box of glass just off the dining room. It all looks fantastic, and it’s incredibly comforting that they’re a known entity with a pretty kickass track record of doing good things. I mean, what’s not to love about this move? Chambar + patio? Yes, please! Chambar + breakfast? Absolutely! Chambar + roof? Let’s go!
by Stevie Wilson | It is recognized as one of Vancouver’s most popular music venues and the longest continuously occupied space of its kind, but there’s much more to the Railway Club at 579 Dunsmuir than the occasional anecdote about The Tragically Hip. With over 80 years of history behind it, the space is yet another product of the inextricable link between Vancouver and its busy rail lines. The club, established in 1932 (at midnight on New Year’s Eve, to be exact) was originally a members-only space for the CPR’s staff to unwind, and was allegedly opened in response to the exclusivity of the nearby Engineers Club. Following the repeal of prohibition in 1933, The Railwaymen’s Club (as it was then known) operated as a busy, beer-stained and smoke-filled poker bar for the city’s thirsty working class.
The slim Laursen Building (also registered as Lawsen) dates back to around 1926, and has since featured many small businesses both upstairs and down. Prior to the Railwaymen’s Club, the top floor belonged to the European Concert Cafe, where one can only imagine what sort of fun was had. Over the years the space fell into significant disrepair until the Forsyth family purchased the bar in 1981. None of the contemporary furnishings are original, save for the fenestration and radiators; everything had to be constructed for a new crowd of patrons. Behind the main bar a set of beautiful stained glass windows are nearly hidden by a wide variety of signs and stuff to stare at over a pint.
Another surprising element of the Railway is its cozy back-end bar. While it blends seamlessly with the dark wooden decor of the front space, this room used to be the H. Miles Jewellery Store, which the Forsyths took over in 1988. The beautiful oak back bar was purchased from the storied West End gay bar Buddy’s when it closed its doors in the same year.
So whether it’s for a drink, a show, or to watch its charming toy trains circle the ceiling, just soaking up an hour at this local landmark means soaking up some uniquely local history, too. Indeed, in a city where restaurant and bar interiors seldom last as long as they really should, it’s an uncommon environment worthy of your thirsty investigation. Photos after the jump… Read more
by Stevie Wilson & Andrew Morrison | The Sun Tower at the corner of West Pender and Beatty Streets is one of Vancouver’s most recognizable landmarks, particularly due to its eye-catching, mint-coloured dome that’s visible from nearly everywhere in the city. However, despite the building’s iconic status (and its magnetic tourist’s photography), it’s not too often that hear from anyone who’s actually been inside the dome or, better still, atop the cupola, so we decided to take a look.
Keep in mind that it wasn’t easy. The dome is impossible to gain access to if you don’t have the building managers on your side. It took plenty of correspondence and explanation of benign intent on Scout’s part to convince the keymasters that we were there by virtue of sincere curiosity and true affection for the building’s architecture and history. In the end, our foot in the door came last month when Scout was invited to a Vancouver Heritage Foundation event. One thing (begging) led to another (pleading), and eventually a tour was arranged in good humour, for which we will remain eternally grateful. Take a look…
To gain access to the dome, one most first get to the 17th floor, up a winding staircase made of marble and through a locked door. The interior is a bit of a shock at first. There are no frescoes, sculptured metopes or decorative flourishes of any kind at all, which is a truth that came rudely, really, as one half expects the gorgeous thing to be filled to the knees with treasure. But it’s completely bare and unadorned save for spidery support beams in yellow painted steel that have been bolted above a noisy blue machine that operates the building’s elevators. It was all very industrial, which is to say a little deflating of the imagination.
And yet it clearly wasn’t without beauty. The dome is lit by a ring of oculi (the fancy name for circular windows). These look over the city from the cardinal points, and gazing out of them was a real trip. Though the buildings that surround it are mostly new (especially to the west and south), the windows – recessed and antique as they are – soften their glaring modernity like a Hipstamatic filter. But the real view is up even higher. A sketchy, steel-framed platform leads to a ladder that rises to a trap door in the ceiling. Once unbolted, this leads to the cupola, or the open-air nipple that stands erect at the dome’s apex. Here, the building’s big fib is revealed. The green-tinge on the dome’s exterior isn’t real. It’s a faux patina design that’s been painted to mimic oxidized copper. Alas, the view – so raw and exposed – more than makes up for it.
The history of the Beaux-Arts building is readily found and filled with fantastic details, but here’s a brief run-down: Noted Canadian architect William Tuff Whiteway (of Woodwards fame) was commissioned to design the structure in 1911-12 by the now-infamous Vancouver mayor L.D. Taylor. It began as the offices for Taylor’s newspaper company, The Vancouver World, before the publication folded and the building was passed to Bekin’s, the Seattle-based storage and moving company. At the time of its completion, the building was recognized as the tallest (commercial) structure in the British Empire – a distinction that previously belonged to the nearby Dominion Building. In 1937, the Vancouver Sun took over the building, renamed it, installed a massive red neon sign across the top, and continued operations until 1965 when it relocated to 2250 Granville Street.
Unlike the exterior of the tower – which still features Charles Marega’s controversial “nine maidens” perched at the 8th floor, bare breasts and all – the interior has changed much over the years. In 2011 it was redeveloped by Allied Properties as creative spaces, though several historic features are still on display on the top floors, including tile work, marble staircases, single-paned fenestration, radiators, and beautiful door handles. Inside and out, there’s no other building like it. Take a look…
The GOODS from The Bottleneck
Vancouver, BC | The Bottleneck, Granville Street’s best kept secret, has officially launched its new lunch and dinner menus just in time for the summer heat-wave. As delicious as ever, new additions include Grilled Cauliflower Salad, Chicken Kale Caesar Salad, Smoked Ham Hock Pizza, and highly anticipated Roasted Local Halibut. Chef Hugh Carbery has once again designed a creative and flavourful menu, featuring the season’s freshest ingredients, while continuing to use natural, free range meats, Ocean Wise seafood, and locally sourced products wherever possible. The new summer additions (and noteworthy returns) can be found after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Chambar
Vancouver, BC | Chambar is on the lookout for a full-time barista to join our team. Our new team member will be part of the exciting opening of our new restaurant in roughly one month, with training beginning now. The right candidate will have high-volume barista experience, and be willing to work in a fast-paced environment with customer service skills and a high attention to detail. Serving experience, food, beer and wine knowledge also a great asset. Please send resume and cover letters to taryn [at] chambar.com. Read more
The GOODS from CinCin
Vancouver, BC | Famed Argentine Chef Francis Mallmann will soon visit Vancouver’s award-winning CinCin Ristorante for two nights only – September 10th and 11th – to showcase his unique brand of fiery ‘Gaucho Grilling’. This visit is Mallmann’s first to British Columbia and only his third to Canada.
Chef Mallmann will be co-hosting two multi-course dinners with CinCin executive chef Andrew Richardson. The first dinner – a five-course Wine Dinner – will see specially selected wine pairings chosen by Mallmann, while the second – a four-course Tasting Menu – will have optional bottles and by-the-glass offerings selected by CinCin wine director Shane Taylor and restaurant director Richard Luxton. Guests will have an opportunity to purchase an autographed copy of Mallmann’s much-anticipated second cookbook “Mallmann on Fire” – one full month before it is released to the public. But Mallmann has something more up the sleeve of his chef’s whites. On both evenings, the chef and his brigade will be giving special street-side demonstrations of their craft on Vancouver’s bustling Robson Street, right outside CinCin’s front door.
Call him the Man of La Plancha – the outsize Argentine cast iron griddle – that, together with his wood-burning parilla – form the tools of his trade. For Mallmann’s use of open fire is legendary. Argentine-born but European trained, Mallmann disdains the prissy and contrived of haute cuisine preferring the gutsy flavours found in whole salted chickens, baby goat, suckling pig and enormous cuts of beef. Indeed, his 2009 cookbook, ‘Seven Fires – Grilling the Argentine Way’ includes his method for cooking a whole cow – at once.
Prices for the five-course Wine Dinner and four-course Tasting Menu are CAD $165.00++ and CAD $120.00+, respectively. “Mallmann on Fire” is available for guests at a CAD $40.00 supplement, and interest may be indicated at time of booking. For reservations or more information, please call CinCin Ristorante at 604 688 7338 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more
Owner: Marcelo Ramirez Romero
Co-owner: Alfonso Sanz
ABOUT LA TAQUERIA
La Taqueria was born in 2009 as a pinche taco stand that could replicate the taste and feel of street tacos around Mexico. We make our tacos from traditional recipes with local, organic and sustainable products whenever possible. Our menu offers different types of fillings that can be served as a taco (soft tortilla, made locally) or quesadilla.
by Andrew Morrison | If all goes according to plan, the highly anticipated new tavern/gastropub from chef Andrey Durbach, Chris Stewart, and Michel Durocher (see also The Sardine Can, La Buca, Pied-a-Terre) will open this weekend in the old Wild Rice spot at 117 West Pender Street.
I slipped in to The Abbey for its “friends and family” night late last week. Though it had all the appearances of a fully functioning eatery, they’re still waiting on a few pieces of art to arrive and the kitchen crew are taking extra time to iron out some kinks. In other words, by no means do these photos fully represent what we’ll see on opening day.
I won’t comment in detail on the food I tried because it was their first dry run (everything but booze was on the house), except to say that those appreciative of Durbach’s cooking at its most carnivorous are in for a treat. Think potted oxtail, beef consomme, organic beef patty melts with Tête de Moine cheese and Berkshire bacon, lamb shanks, bangers, hanger steaks, and housemade sausage rolls. There are veggie and fish dishes, too, and they’re hardly after-thoughts (lobster mac & cheese, shrooms on toast, broccoli & cheddar beignets), but I’ll always gravitate to Durbach’s meatier plates. Force of habit, et cetera.
I didn’t get to properly explore the bar program helmed by Ben de Champlain – formerly of Boneta and the winner of Scout’s Bartender of the Year competition in 2012 – but it read like it was totally on point (it was especially nice to finally try a Dageraad beer after reading about the development of the brewery for so long).
Though it was made clear that the design was unfinished, there were finished aspects that caught my eye. I loved, for example, the raised booths running parallel to the bar (so cozy), and coveted the curvy, sleek look of the all-wood high top chairs. Of course the ghosts of Wild Rice are irretrievably embedded in the bones of the place, so the change will take some time getting used to, but it feels relaxed and ready to go. Good times, I suspect, will come naturally to The Abbey. Take a look…
The GOODS from The Cinematheque
Vancouver, BC | To celebrate the brand-new, 50th anniversary restoration of The Beatles’ epochal first film, A Hard Day’s Night, The Cinematheque is hosting an all-ages Opening Night on Friday, July 4th to kickoff their exclusive, one-week engagement. In store: refreshments, a special performance by in-costume cover band The Fab Fourever (dancing in the aisles encouraged!), remarks by rock documentary scholar Michael Baker, and a screening of newly restored, pop culture milestone. Lace up your black boots, leave that moptop intact, and mosey down to The Cinematheque for a night of Beatlemania! Doors at 6:30pm. Get more info here… Read more
Pecha Kucha Night organisers have announced the final line-up of speakers for Vol. 33 on July 3rd, and it’s quite the doozy cross-section of Vancouver’s cultural fabric…
Sam Chandola - Founder and CEO, Victory Square Games
Sandra Singh - Chief Librarian, Vancouver Public Library
Laura Barron - Director, Instruments of Change
Scott Larson - CEO and Co-Founder, Urthecast
Kevin Lee Royes - Soulcial-Preneur, The Soulcial-Preneurs Club
Lital Marom - Co-Founder and CEO, Beyond
Christopher Gaze - Actor and Artistic Director, Bard on the Beach
Emerson Lim - Founder, Karma Teachers
Jonathan Anthony - Corporate Disorganizer, Teekay Corporation
Seann Dory - Co-Director/Co-Founder, Sole Food Street Farms
David Pay - Artistic Director, Music on Main
Jimmy Stewart - Chef, Blacktail Florist
by Robyn Yager | Wearing a hat requires confidence. To many of us, the addition of a topper to our everyday attire can feel entirely foreign, but when done right they can add a little extra personality to every outfit.
I recently had the pleasure of talking with Rachelle Cashato, head of Hastings Hattery (no pun intended), one of the newest arrivals to the western edge of Gastown and a descendant of The Granville Island Hat Shop, a retail store that doubles as a studio where hat enthusiasts can customize, alter, repair, and personalize their existing hats. Here’s what she had to say about how hats fit in your personal style and what we can expect when on the hunt for the perfect one at Hastings Hattery.
How do hats fit into personal style? Hats are really the defining accessory in personal style. Most of the people I have worked with over the years have a relationship with their hat. It becomes an old friend, a companion. It gives on the ability to express themselves in a way that no other fashion accessory does. I think our personal style is developed as we experience life and typically your hat is along for the ride.
For someone looking to start wearing hats, what kind of tips would you recommend to them to find the perfect one to suit their style? The basics are to find something that compliments one’s features. Making sure that you are wearing something you reall love and feel confident in will only accentuate your existing style. The nice thing about our new space is that we offer full restoration and custom work, so even if someone has a hat that they haven’t committed to wearing, we can often help find a way to adjust it and make it really work for them, so sometimes its not even about buying new, just working what you already have.
Hats can be a really tricky accessory – it can either pull a look together or totally throw it off. Why would you say hats are so dramatic in this sense? Drama is relative; 80 years ago you couldn’t walk down the street and see someone NOT wearing a hat. It’s all about confidence. Wear what you want and you will feel as comfortable as you do in your pj’s.
Do you have any favourite hat brands that you think do it really well? Any Canadian brands? Aside from all the amazing hats we make in our own studio here, I love Akubra – their Sydney is my go to hat; you can it in so many ways, and Cha Cha’s House of Ill Repute from New York. We have a lot of Canadian talent: Magill and Canadian Hat in Montreal, and Lilliput in Toronto.
Are there any particular styles of hat that you see as a trend right now? What do you think will be a trend in the next few seasons? Toppers, traditional and non-traditional – either super classy or very eccentric allowing for a lot of for personalization. I also have a lot of people bringing in hats they received from parents or grandparents that have sentimental value. We restore old hats to be worn so they can be enjoyed. We are also going back to personalized embossing on interior hat bands. We have a machine from the late 1800′s that we have had refurbished, embossing in gold leaf. It lets you put your own stamp on your hat, literally.
- Photo of Rachelle Cashato by Anita Alberto.
The GOODS from Hawksworth
Vancouver, BC | Hawksworth Restaurant is currently seeking a part time lounge server for our very busy cocktail bar. The successful candidate will have a very strong working knowledge of cocktails and food, and the ability to serve in a fast-paced environment. Please send your resume with cover letter to kh [at] hawksworthrestaurant.com. While all applications are appreciated, only successful candidates will be contacted for interview. Read more
M.S. | The Dome of the Sun Tower | 3:30pm | Vancouver, BC | SHARE YOUR VIEW
We’ve long wanted to take a look inside the dome of the Sun Tower on the corner of Pender and Beatty. Earlier today, a story that we’ve been pursuing finally gave us that chance. This shot is taken through the dome’s east oculus…
We love posting the photographs that reveal the views from our reader’s windows. Whether it’s a back alley in the fall or a sandy beach in high summer, we’re always stoked to see what you see from home, work or while on the road. What does your view look like right now? Take a snap of it and send it in. Check out the gallery of reader submissions below… Read more