Remembering a Charming Fraserhood Restaurant That Was Doomed From the Start

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!

It is a cruel facet of the human experience that sometimes young, well-loved restaurants close. It just doesn’t seem fair. But such is life, and such was the fate of Crowbar. Launched at 646 Kingsway by ex-L’Abattoir staffers Jeremy Pigeon and William Johnson on the first day of summer in 2016, the woody 30 seater was for three years a reliable, unfussy place to get an interesting bite (like burgers aged so long they tasted of strong cheese) and a well-made cocktail. Though it endured some ownership and employment standards drama, outwardly it was the very model of a neighbourhood restaurant with reliable deliciousness, confident service and a vibrant atmosphere. Alas, it quietly closed/sold in the Spring of 2019 under the Sword of Damocles yoke of a landlord wielding a signed lease with a ‘demolition clause’, which is to say Crowbar had only ever existed at the whim and fancy of an outside force that could doom it at any moment. At the time of writing (Winter, 2020), the space is home to Zocalo Modern Cantina, an off-shoot of nearby popular Mexican eatery, Sal y Limon.

The following images were taken on the day before Crowbar’s launch in June, 2016…


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There are 3 comments

  1. Employment standards drama? I think what you were trying to say is employment standards violations. I know you guys are close to a lot of industry insiders, but stop running interfearance for bad operators.

  2. Employment standards drama? I think what you were trying to say is employment standards violations. I know you guys are close to a lot of industry insiders, but stop running interference for bad operators.

  3. Thanks for the comment, Chris, even if it has an accusatory tone. The truth is I don’t know for certain what went down at Crowbar. To an outsider (I’m hardly an insider in this regard), when a restaurant gets bad press that transcends the quality of the dining experience, calling it ‘drama’ isn’t untoward. It’s not a bad word. Nor is the spirit of its usage in this context the least bit exculpatory. Hope all is well in Alberta.

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