It really stung when Juice Bar (mecca for natural wine drinkers and – let’s just say it – one of the coolest hangouts in the city) went on hiatus toward the end of last week.
But there is good news… Lindsay Otto, a long-time server at Juice Bar, decided to keep the natural wine flame glowing by teaming up with Hunnybee Bruncheonette and Birds & The Beets owners Matthew Senecal-Junkeer and Sean Cunningham to take over the evening operation at 54 Alexander Street. The new venture is called Bar Tartare.
In what must be a record-setting four-day turnaround, Otto and her team gave the Alexander Street space a mini four-day makeover that included a fresh coat of paint (a soothing hue of wine-meets-eggplant), a load of plants, a quick shuffling of the seating plan, branding and new signage on the door. I dropped by yesterday, and while things look familiar, they feel different and ready to go. Doors open tonight (Wednesday, October 4).
Bar Tartare won’t deviate too far from what Vancouverites loved about Juice Bar (expect familiar faces, natural wine, and rotating chefs). As Otto explains: “The ethos of natural and low-intervention wine is not going anywhere. We genuinely care about how many people have even touched the bottle before we open it. Big bottling and mass production just aren’t what we are about. We want to know and be able to communicate information about the individual farmers and winemakers who produce the wine we pour. That is always going to be key for us.” Where you might notice a slight difference will be in the style of service: “I love the relationships that I get to form with people. Getting to know guests and their palettes is part of the pleasure of working in hospitality,” says Otto. “So we will spend a little more time providing table service.”
Tartare’s food program is built on partnerships with skilled chefs, each bringing their distinctive cooking style and menu. A consistent feature across these menus will be tartare. With a smile, Otto elaborates on the relationship between her venture’s name and signature dish, “For me, tartare epitomizes the ideal wine bar dish. It’s rich in texture, packed with flavour, perfect for sharing, and complements wine beautifully.” There will be a variety of tartare, including fish, meat, and veg options.
To kick things off, Chef Alvaro Montes De Oca (Ubuntu Canteen) will be cooking snacks inspired by his Mexican heritage from Oct. 4-8 and then 17- 21 (count on tamales; Hopcott Farms beef tartare tostada; beets & burrata; and charcoal grilled mushrooms & mole).
Next up (Oct. 11 – 14 and Oct. 25 – 28), Luke Johnson & Devon Latte (formerly of The Acorn) will serve their popular seafood menu. You’ll also see Thank You Pizza pull up with their inventive and always tasty pizza game every second Tuesday. Come November, Bar Tartare has secured appearances from Chams Sbouai (exact menu details are still under wraps, but I’ve heard some very intriguing whispers) and much missed and consistently exceptional Chef Dave Gunawan (previously Ubuntu Canteen) from November 8th to 11th. Mark your calendars, kids; there is good stuff happening.
Bar Tartare | Tuesday-Sunday 5pm – late starting Wednesday, October 4, 2023 | DETAILS