When most of us sit down at the bar, we usually have two things in mind: a drink and a brief but much needed escape from the stresses of daily life. More often than not, we are so focused on this mission that we overlook our surroundings. But if we studied the shelves of liquor we’d likely find the most curious of items: an old trinket, a hand-drawn octopus, scribbled upon note of foreign currency, a random, dusty can of spam. BARTIFACTS looks to trace the origins of these artifacts, one bar at a time.
Part of the charm of Mamie Taylor’s is its eclectic collection of weirdness adorning every wall, nook and cranny. From scarf-wearing coyotes and mid-flight mallards to antique photos of random scions and antelope racks, the look at the Chinatown restaurant is more dogs breakfast than high design. And yet it all works, especially behind the bar, where there is much to look at. Here’s a smattering of what you’ll find: a unicorn that was once upon a time “liberated” from The Diamond in Gastown, a stuffed weasel standing over a “Shut The Fuck Up” button while wearing a Team Mexico wristband as a necklace (from a Surrey garage sale), an armadillo (exact provenance unknown), an alligator head brought back from Louisiana by Kissa Tanto’s Krista Campagna, a set of rabbit and horse-head cups that “just showed up one day”, and countless other things besides. My favourite? An antique heirloom cocktail shaker apparently from co-owner Simon Kaulback’s grandparent’s hotel in Ireland.
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