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; a bottle or two that seem strangely out of place or out of time; a scribbled upon note of foreign currency; a random, dusty can of spam; and so on. BARTIFACTS looks to trace the origins of these artifacts, one bar at a time. See something you want to know the story of? Let us know in the comments and we’ll try to track it down.
As is the case with most establishments serving booze, the top shelf of the bar at Ancora Waterfront Dining & Patio is reserved for the good stuff. Bottles of well-aged scotch, limited edition rum and imported whiskies line the upper tier with distinction. Thus we wouldn’t blame bar patrons for missing the sword that hangs before them. I certainly missed it. I’ve been to high end Japanese-Peruvian hybrid on False Creek a number of times and never noticed the literally lethal weapon suspended above the bar, and I’m told it’s been there almost as long as the restaurant has been open.
Naturally, once you’ve seen it you can’t unsee it, and it raises about a million questions. Luckily, Ancora GM and Wine Director Andrea Vescovi was on hand to answer the who, what, when, where and why of this curious artifact. The sword actually belongs to him. He found it in an antique shop in Victoria a few years ago. He says it dates back to the Franco-Prussian war, a wee fight between the French Empire and the Northern German Confederation in 1870. The antique itself falls into the category of Chassepot Bayonet and the blade is designed to be mounted on a musket.
So why did Vescovi feel this unique piece of history deserved a spot of prominence behind the bar? Simple. What else are the bartenders supposed to use to sabre a bottle of Champagne? You might think I’m joking but I assure you I’m not. In fact, when I asked the bartender how often the blade gets used, he casually answered “Whenever somebody asks us to.” So in case you needed some plans this weekend, a rare piece of history and a bottle of bubbles await.
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