A Look Inside The Imminent Cantina 189

The crew at Cantina 189 have everything in place. Doors to the intimate cocktail focused bar at 324 Hastings Street are set to open later this week.

We slipped in to take a peek at the room, just hours before their doors opened to friends and family this past Saturday night. Have a look at the photo gallery below, and then make some room on your schedule to head in and check it out for yourself starting Thursday, March 10th.

Hours will be Wednesday and Thursday from 5 pm to midnight and Friday and Saturday 5pm to 2am. Yes, 2am (what you just heard was a collective “finally,” from scores of restaurant industry workers with few choices but to go straight home after closing up shop).

We’re looking forward to making it a regular stop on our circuit.

For some backstory, here’s an excerpt from what we published about the place in late January:

“The small room will feature two window booths, as well as a centrally located bar and four wall-mounted tables. The latter will run along the west wall and fold out to provide a small plate-and drink-sized perch. There will also be one 4-6 person table at the rear of the room. Lighting, from candles and a series of globe-shaped overhead lights (hand-painted with cocktail nomenclature such as Fizz, Flip, Sour and Sling), will be appropriately dim – allowing the room to be easily navigable, but also subdued. Think ‘sexy glow’.

The food menu will be small – expect snacks like chicharrón, conserves, chips, olives, meats and cheese. The cornerstone will be the drinks. To make sure the cocktails hit the mark, Davies and Ramirez enlisted the help of beverage consultant (previously Bar Raval in Toronto) bar manager, Juliana Wolkowski. In addition to an impressive track record of producing imaginative and balanced cocktail menus, Wolkowski also worked on the Chupito beverage program, during which she introduce a low waste system that will be carried over to Cantina 189.

It was very much a sawdust and work crew situation when I was on site, and menu details had yet to be finalized, but I did glance at a preliminary list, hinting at what is to come. In addition to a respectable amount of tequila, mezcal and gin, I noted ingredients like spent citrus, beeswax, tamarind, chamomile, sea buckthorn and a nostalgic splash of Five Alive. As co-owner Tara Davies explains: “We’re hoping to take a fun, innovative approach to recognized classics with a special shout-out to 70s born cocktails. We will also have bottled ‘freezer pours’ to incorporate some of the best sellers from Chupito…[as well as] local beers and low intervention wines.”.

Doors open Wednesday, March 9th with an open-to-the-public special event that will include guest bartender Juliana Wolkowski as part of Vancouver Cocktail Week. Regular service begins Thursday. Hours will be Wednesday/Thursday 5pm-midnight and Friday/Saturday 5pm to 2am. See you there!

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