IN THE SUMMER OF 2020, The Keefer Bar’s rebellious younger sibling busted through Vancouver’s relatively relaxed pandemic restrictions, making its diminutive debut in a vacant lot, sandwiched between brick walls covered in graffiti murals. There were live musicians, boozy freezies and a nine-hole putting green. Fried chicken arrived from a restaurant across the street directly to the Yard’s physically distanced benches. And the makeshift bar — underneath pop-up tents with a Porta-Sink and camping coolers — pumped out batched margaritas and Rémy Martin iced tea in plastic sippy cups.
Though wildly successful, The Keefer Yard only operated under clear skies. If the forecast called for rain, the Mount Gay barrels, stools and POS systems were rolled back into the main bar, with its plexiglass dividers and limited capacity. And when Covid collided with winter, a choice had to be made — close down or go all in.
The Yard rallied. A massive tent, which costs as much to rent as the indoor bar, was hoisted overtop. Wooden decking, rounded booths and fire tables warmed the well-ventilated space. Recent additions include stone pavers, strobe lights, wallmounted televisions, a Japanese-candy vending machine and a sweet set of swing seats next to a fully equipped bar that now uses proper glassware and slings classic cocktails on the fly.
While technically a patio, The Keefer Yard has grown into a bar unto itself, drawing large groups, a slightly younger crowd and awesome laid-back vibes.
Arguably one of the best pivots for a bar in the pandemic.
Photos by Guy Rolando