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No. 2: The Keefer Bar

Nestled in the heart of Vancouver’s Chinatown, the Keefer Bar offers herb-infused cocktails inspired by traditional Chinese medicine that are good enough to cure even the worst Monday blues. 

The Keefer Bar, which opened in 2009, welcomes guests with a sign above the bar that reads “Medical Centre”, and the cocktails do not fall short of that. The apothecary-themed menu, which is labelled as a list of “Remedies and Cures,” offers herb-infused drinks inspired by traditional Chinese medicine, created to soothe ailments and balance one’s mood.

The Keefer’s food and drink creations take inspiration from local markets and herbalists in the area, to put forth a menu of elevated Asian-inspired dishes. An outdoor patio with a blazing fire pit provides the perfect spot for a nightcap, or a taste of one of their dishes such as savoury peking duck sliders, gluten free veggie fritters or delicious Chinese churros. 

The bar’s moody atmosphere, illuminated by glowing rectangles of red and gold LED lights, which dot the bar and ceiling, attract both the average local and the curious globetrotter. Kaitlyn Stewart, Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year says “It’s a Vancouver staple for any cocktail lover. From the apothecary decor to the interesting tinctures in the cocktails , The Keefer is always pushing boundaries”. 

While the menu holds true to classics like Aperol Spritz and Pineapple Daquiries, the more adventurous may choose to gamble with the “seasonal prescriptions” and “alumni cocktails” for offer. The Keefer’s signature drink is the Opium Sour — a tangy combination of wild turkey bourbon (yes, turkey), with grapefruit, lemon, tamarind and poppyseed. 

The Keefer considers themselves to be a place in which one can come to escape the rush of the everyday world and unwind in a unique atmosphere where cocktails, food and music are in harmony. From inspired small plates to award-winning libations, come find out for yourself why this bar is a stand out. 

The Keefer Bar is No. 2 on our inaugural Canada’s Best Bars list

The Keefer Bar

135 Keefer Street Vancouver 

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