Five Years Ago Today, This Short-Lived Wine Bar Was Getting Ready for Opening Day

For this week’s edition of #ThrowbackThursday we go back exactly five years to the day for our first look inside an exciting new restaurant project called Latab (Chinook for “the table”).

As noted in Vancouver’s Restaurant Graveyard, the tiny wine bar from chef Kris Barnholden and wine pro Eryn Dorman “never got the attention it deserved despite plenty of praise from critics and industry types for its adherence to locavore principles and purposeful focus on natural, biodynamic and limited production wines.” To me, Latab was something of a symbol, the kind of operation that had the potential to advance a city’s restaurant scene. Owned and operated by FOH/BOH lifers, it collaborated with different chefs, hosted winemakers and farmers, and plated lengthy tasting menus for less than $5o per person. As we know, the 25-seater – “a real focal point of West Coast creativity and a source of inspiration to up-and-coming Vancouver cooks who appreciated the ingredient-driven, farm-to-table approach of the tiny kitchen” – never gained a wider following and closed in February, 2017.

Granted, Latab’s location wasn’t great, tucked away as it was behind the Wall Centre, but the pessimistic side of me sometimes wonders if a better address would have even mattered given Vancouver’s demonstrated predilection for the boring social kitchen restobar model of same same. But I digress. What I’d like this #TBT to get across is this: in order to sustain an interesting culinary scene – during this crummy pandemic and after – it would be great if we could support the little guys if and when we can. The chain restaurants will be fine.

These images are Latab’s final stage of construction in September, 2015…

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