The Keefer Bar

In Vancouver, a city overflowing with Pacific Rim glittering wealth, this Chinatown-adjacent jewel-box of a bar has quietly persisted for more than a decade. Today, it's on the fringe of an ever-shrinking historic Chinatown that the bar's original concept (using Chinese apothecary-style inspiration to create libations with a wink to remedies and cures) nodded to and honoured. The idea could feel appropriated if dreamed up in the current cultural moment, and were Keefer's credibility and true stakes in the community not already so well entrenched.

A drink like the Tokyo Drift still stirs together ingredients like Toki, amber vermouth, kumquat gomme and tobacco-inspired bitters with a knowing, fast-and-furious nod to smart, mindful cultural fusion – served with a charred sesame-wafer garnish as pungent as a trail of burnt rubber. A pandemic-era pivot, the lively Keefer Yard, is a covered adjacent outdoor space with lively games and atmosphere and a less-precious drinks philosophy (think: a Bobby Burns or an Oaxacan Old Fashioned). Keefer Bar also introduced a Code of Conduct with zero-tolerance not only for flouting pandemic-era health and safety conditions, but one that affirms the respectful, civilised atmosphere ("we do not tolerate creeps or predatory behaviour") created by powerhouse managing partner Amber Bruce.