Inside Bar Chickadee, Opening Soon in Chinatown

Chinatown’s beloved Juke Fried Chicken at 182 Keefer St. is being split in half to make room for a new cocktail spot called Bar Chickadee.

Since it launched nearly four years ago in 2016, people have hit Juke up for its superb fried chicken first and foremost. For some reason or another, the bar side of the space just never really took off as well as it should have. Co-owners Justin Tisdall and Bryan Satterford hired the very talented and award-winning Sabrine Dhaliwal (ex-Uva, West) as bar manager this past winter, but just a few months into her tenure this damn virus came along and the restaurant had to retreat back into its takeout and delivery box. During the marathon wait for reopening, the concept of Bar Chickadee was sprung.

It will happen in phases. The first – launching this Friday, June 12 – will feel a little like a pop-up. It will see Juke’s square footage split by a temporary dividing wall, with the Bar Chickadee side emblazoned with a Bowie-inspired lightning bolt. The takeout area by the kitchen and register will function as it always has, dishing out take-out to an appreciative throng, but the main seating area with its two booths, central high-top seating and bar (about 25 seats in total) will now run as a “reduced contact” cocktail joint. Want some fried chicken with your super specialized drink order? Go ahead and punch it in yourself using the bar’s app.

The second phase will be more permanent, and will likely be informed and shaped by what worked with the first phase. Bar Chickadee has its own entrance (now with a cute neon sign above the threshold), so within a couple a services it will likely feel as if this is the way it should have been all along. I can’t wait to give it a try.

You’ll find further details in this press release, which is scheduled to come out today:

An exciting new pop-up that reintroduces cocktail fans to fun nights out and an array of reduced-contact, ‘choose-your-own-cocktail’ experiences takes flight when the team at Juke Fried Chicken (182 Keefer Street) transforms their dining room into ‘Chickadee’ beginning Friday, June 12.

Incorporating the new reality of going out in the age of COVID-19, Chickadee allows small parties of guests to customize and order from an array of handcrafted signature and classic cocktails using an online platform and downloadable app. Guests can choose their preferred spirit family and brand from more than 50 different labels or opt for ‘dealer’s choice’ drinks that can be tailored to suit their preferred style (neat, rocks, short, stirred, etc.) and flavour profile (citrus, bitter, sour, smoky, etc.).

A number of health and safety measures have been put in place in accordance with BC’s Phase Two reopening protocols, including the installation of movable partitions between guests and staff, constant sanitizing of common-touch areas, bar tools and terminals and use of personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves and face shields at all times.

Chickadee represents the latest project for partners and industry veterans Justin Tisdall and Chef Bryan Satterford — who launched Juke in 2016 as well as West End plant-based comfort food hotspot Beetbox in 2019 — and Juke Bar Manager Sabrine Dhaliwal, who brings her award-winning cocktail acumen to the forefront with this new concept.

Dhaliwal — who joined the team at Juke last fall after stints at some of Vancouver’s best bars including West, UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar and Pourhouse — puts her own signature stamp on the Chickadee drink menu via such unique shaken-up and stirred-down contemporary cocktail creations as:

Shaken-Up Cocktails

Greyscale
Beefeater gin, black lime, black sesame, lime juice, egg white

Golden Sunset
Flor de Caña 5yr rum, turmeric coconut cream, pineapple juice,
lime juice

Stirred-Down Cocktails

Before the Storm
Amaro Averna, Amontillado sherry, Beefeater gin, Malagasy Chocolate bitters

Globetrotter
Wild Turkey bourbon, green Chartreuse, charred pineapple, galangal, lime bitters, Ardbeg rinse

Fans of Juke Fried Chicken’s signature menu of chicken and ribs, snacks and sides need not fear the new direction for Juke’s dining room — its crowd-pleasing southern-fried fare will still be available for delivery, takeout and Chickadee patrons to partake in from its popular takeout counter located in the adjacent space.

“We’ve been working on this concept for a while, and the recent reimagining of dining rooms throughout the industry gave us the perfect opportunity to fine-tune and launch Chickadee,” says Tisdall. “We’re excited to give people a taste of a new handcrafted, customized cocktail experience with their health, safety and social distancing concerns front of mind at all times.”

RESERVATIONS | Chickadee reservations can be made via barchickadee.com or jukefriedchicken.com, with limited walk-ins also available. Guests can also use the online platform to inform staff of specific allergy information or celebration requests when pre-ordering.

This is what it looked like yesterday as they were getting reading for a test-run friends and family service…

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