The Keefer Bar - Lounges - 135 Keefer Street, Chinatown, Vancouver, BC, Canada

The Keefer Bar   - Lounges - 135 Keefer Street, Chinatown, Vancouver, BC, Canada
8/30/2016

For a non drinker like me who just wanted to have a cool place to lounge at, this place was just about perfect.  It was only 2 blocks from where our airbnb was located and it came highly recommended from the locals.    Their list of non alcoholic cocktails was decent and for $5, I ordered the "Orange, ginger, lemon & bitters."We sat in their spacious outdoor patio which also turned out to be perfect because the weather was cool enough to wear a tank top and shorts.  Service was attentive and when my drink came, I'm happy to report that it tasted like a sort of tart fizzy soda with a distinct ginger zing.  The one man band was entertaining-- doing acoustic covers and a few originals.  And I have to mention that Owen Wilson (yes the Wedding Crashers actor) sat within arms length from us the entire time.  No, I didn't get a selfie.  I respected his privacy and snuck in a few glances here and there.  Definitely check this place out if you're in Vancouver.  Non pretentious, hip vibe and cool peeps all around.

7/26/2016

Love this place!They have a really diverse and interesting list of cocktails, most of which I have never seen before anywhere else.  I've only had one or two that I didn't like, and I think that was down to personal taste rather than any real issue with the drink itself.  The atmosphere is amazing everything from the decor, to the staff and drinks themselves are visually interesting.  You can tell that the staff are proud of working there and that they really care about the quality.

7/24/2016

Tbh, I expected more. They all free poured their cocktails, which is a huge indiscretion. Everyone has their style, but free pouring equals a lack of consistent measurements. I was also curious about what sized shaking tin our bartender used- he said he didn't know and laughed. Didn't try the food, the cocktails were okay. Between my boyfriend and I- we got three each (different styles each time), so I tried six, but they all tasted very alike (except for one strong in one, which was good.)Wasn't bad, but wasn't stand out.

7/14/2016

This bar is off the hook!! This is one of the perfect cocktail bars to go to late night. This bar is not bougie or uptight at all! This is rather a dive-type look with a dark atmosphere and high end cocktails for the low! I highly suggest coming on Wednesday nights for their $5 Rosemary gimlets! I promise these won't disappoint. I want to give a special s/o to my boy Navin for taking good care of me. He is one of my favorite bartenders out here in Van City! I suggest coming late around 11 pm for a great vibe and medium-high noise level. I'll definitely be coming back again! Cheers!

$5 Rosemary Gimlet $5 Rosemary Gimlet 7/21/2016

I officially hate this place. Im done.I used to be a fan. Rlly. I like the drinks- theyre imaginative and unique. So many cool tinctures and shit. The atmosphere used to be ecclectic and relaxed. The food was never a big deal- they have a small kitchen without fryers, i think; however, I dont remember it being weird and pretentious. I expect to pay more for homemade cocktail recipes with made-from-scratch syrups etc. concocted with exotic and interesting ingredients. But i had a bad night there that is the last of a few similiar experiences, so i can only assume its the norm, now:My mom doesnt get a lot of fun, but she won adele tickets. Long story short, it was a special night for her and her friend, and they travelled from hours away to experience "the big city."I was stoked to hang out with her, since shes from out of town, and wanted to take her to a "cool" bar by the arena- give her the ol' vancouver hipster experience. I thought the keefer would be perfect. We sat down and rec'd our menus- and, a half full tumbler of room temperature water. At first, i thought she had made a mortal mistake, and gave us "used" waters from another table by accident. Upon further investigation, i discovered that it was half full because it had been steeped with flowers or some shit. But ok. It was kinda nice. Whatever, but can i just have more of it? If it costs too much, thats ok, normal water is fine, if you cant afford to give a full flower water.So we order drinks. Caesars for the ladies im with. Nope. "Oh, we dont DO caesars here. You can have a [mango stupid sthg] or a bloody mary."..."we dont DO caesars here".... What?So we order mojitos. I would like tequila. Im not a huge liquor drinker, so i couldnt remember the name of the kind i wanted. This being a bar that specializes in cocktails and liquor, i thought if i described the bottle, and included the name started with a "c" she might know, or at least, be able to list the kinds they had. She just said, "ill make it with el jimadore." Gross. Ok whatever, its a freakin mojito. We finally look at the menu to order food, and goddammit, theres a PAGE of tequilas RIGHT THERE. I mean, maybe i could have looked for it while ordering, but ffs, she could have even just mentioned that what they had was listed there. The kind i wanted was the second one on the list, or sthg.So we are lookin at the menu, waiting for our mojitos. The food looks tasty, but is so weird and pretentious. Asian, but not. At least they have lots of veg options, so we figure we will get tacos, fritters, and spring rolls. I know what youre thinking- sounds normal. Yeah, we were thinking that too, except for the "fancy" ingredients (duck everything?).Im a veg, so we ask our (new) waiter, whats up with the tacos- cheese, lettuce tomatoes etc? "No cheese! Our food is all asian inspired, because we are in chinatown." He should have added a snotty "DUH!" So we are like ok, tell me the pizza has cheese. Yes. But its only 5" in diameter. For $10. Oh well. Tacos, spring rolls, and fritters, pls. About 35 mins in, our drinks are half gone and we are nursing them, trying to flag someone down for more. Guy brings our $7 fritters out. You guys, these are not fritters. Ramsey would lose his shit. They were soggy mini veg cookies. And we got just 6 of em. $1+ for a 1.5" soggy cookie? COME-ON. The dip was delicious though. The dip alone redeems the chef.Our drinks and fritters are gone, and we had been there 45 minutes already. One drink, one appy, 45+ minutes. Ridiculous. There was a couple sitting next to us who alao had to be at the concert, and they sat there for 15 mins before anyone even got their drink order. When the guy did, though, we flagged him down.Are we getting our food? "we have a small kitchen with one cook, hes a bit busy so it takes a while."Not: "so sorry, we will find out why its taken 45 minutes to get spring rolls and tacos." Or "our apologies, got a bit busy, but we will rush it." Or even "you ladies need to get goin to the concert! One minute!"Just: "blah blah dont forget to thank us for existing- youll take wtvs you get, bitch."Another drink? "I dunno, how long is it going to take?!""Just a few moments, ill get them right away." Ok. Tacos, and spring rolls show up. The tacos are literally 4" shells with a scoop of pork or whatever. 2/$10. Go to tacofino or la taqueria if you wanna pay $$ for tacos. These are overstated and sucky, albeit tasty. Ill leave it at that. Spring rolls are normal. But theyre small, like the little one-inchers you get at Costco in the frozen isle. Literally one bite of spring roll is worth $2.55 there, and its not even as tasty as the Costco ones. Still no 2nd drinks, so we cancelled them.$70. For three meh drinks, and literally about 8 bites of meh food each. Just order the fritter dip to go, and buy some cheap tequila. Youll save enough to buy literally hundreds of spring rolls at Costco.

4/5/2016

When people think Chinese cuisine, they usually think of a not-too-fancy restaurant with family-style stir fries, noodles etc. They don't think cocktail bar and that's what I like about this place! Keefer Bar is serving up unique Chinese-inspired craft cocktails with cute details such as fortune cookie crusted cocktail glasses and ingredients like red ginseng tincture, immunity tincture and black tea syrup! Everything here is very unique and I like that they have tasting notes next to them.It's a narrow bar but I like it because you can see all the action at the bar and there's a big back room for groups too.This is the perfect spot for a date or quick drinks before or after dinner! I'll be back!

4/6/2016

Love coming here on Wednesday nights for their $5 Rosemary gimlet specials. 2 oz for only $5- what a steal! And it tastes amazing too. Food here is also quite good and flavours are on point for a fusion restaurant. Been here quite a few times for their happy hour which is 2 for 1 appetizers. I even brought my dad here last year for dinner and he thought the Asian flavours were pretty good for a fusion place. Cocktails are awesome and they are quite well known for it. They have a great little patio outside, albeit really small. On sunny days make sure you come early to snag a seat. I always enjoyed those cooler days sitting outside by the outdoor fireplace. You really can't go wrong here. Fantastic for years.

8/28/2015

A message buried deep in the voluminous cocktail menu says everything some people will need to know about The Keefer Bar:  "CAUTION...  Almost all Keefer Bar Cocktails are doubles... some are triples... Ask your Bartenders".I was already well into my second Wenxu ($12 Canadian; Finlandia Vodka, Grapefruit, Lemon, Ginger, Red Ginseng Tincture, Soda), seeing double while trying to read the cocktail menu, before spying this cautionary note.  I had not asked my bartender.  The Chinatown-based, dimly lit Keefer Bar will reel you in and entice you with tinctures, spirits, Chinese apothecary ingredients, and things that might've been present in a seedy, back-alley medical office in days of yore.  A sign above the bar reads "Medical Center" and opening the cocktail menu brings you to a page labelled "list of Remedies and Cures".  Heal me Dr. Keefer.   From a glass of water flavored with a cinnamon tincture to an Ireland inspired "Taste the Rainbow" whiskey flight ($25 Canadian; Jameson Reserve, Greenspot, Bushmill 16) to the eyedroppers employed by the pharmacist/bartenders, the Keefer Bar is a find. Not a hidden find, but the "I'm so glad I found this place" type of find.   With dinner reservations elsewhere I had no opportunity to sample their inspired small plates menu nor was I able to partake in their Sunday thru Friday 5 - 7 p.m. Happy Hour (2 for 1 food, cocktail specials, and $5 beer and whiskey specials).  If you're coming early, any day but Saturday will expose you to those deals and they're good ones.  In the early evening, Keefer Bar was sparsely inhabited and I observed from my stool at the bar as the bartenders went about their business, juicing, slicing, shaking and boiling.  I engaged one long enough to learn the most popular Keefer Bar Cocktail, the Rosemary Gimlet, but failed to inquire of its strength.  I'll leave that up to you.For perfectly executed, inventive cocktails which taste fabulous get thyself to a specialist:  The doctors at Keefer Bar will heal what ails you.

"Ireland Taste the Rainbow" whiskey flight, $25 Canadian. Nice, generous pours. "Ireland Taste the Rainbow" whiskey flight, $25 Canadian. Nice, generous pours. Wenxu cocktail was so tasty it merited a second. Bartender estimated a single Wenxu to be about 1.5 shots. Wenxu cocktail was so tasty it merited a second. Bartender estimated a single Wenxu to be about 1.5 shots. If that's not a reason to head to The Keefer Bar then I don't know what is. (Photo taken from the voluminous drink menu). If that's not a reason to head to The Keefer Bar then I don't know what is. (Photo taken from the voluminous drink menu). 6/20/2016

This is perfect for chilling with friends. The service is excellent. Have variety of interesting drinks.

11/23/2015

Always a good time. Always a cool crowd. Always top notch bartenders. If there's one bar in town I'd go for my last drink, it's this one.Some might think its narrow hallway design is too small. I say good. Stay away. The close quarters to your neighbours is what makes this place.Usually I sit at the bar to watch the magic happen. It's like watching a chef or a pharmacist actually make the medicine back in the old days.Although sometimes reserved for groups, the back room is a good time too. Mingling just happens. One of the few places in Vancouver where people are friendly, not just nice.The mirrors on the way to the washrooms are a built in sobriety test. I failed. I thought I ran into someone else. It was myself. Mirrors 1. Me 0.

2/2/2016

FIVE STARS for their cocktails. Boozy to the max. Yum.I don't think I've ever had their food before (but it seems like over-priced Asian-fusion anyway...)

8/26/2016

This bar is by far Vancouver's most unique bar. A must see for visitors and for neighbors alike. World champion mixologist can be found here to craft the finest cocktails.

6/6/2016

This place has unique cocktail concoctions. Cool vibe too. Also had real xrays in the restrooms. Ordered the   unpredicted season and zen and love, which are both good. Place does get super loud as the night goes on. My friend had a bloody ming, which is a twist on bloody mary with guava juice replacing the tomato juice, which was really good as well. Overall, cool vibe and decent service. Our waitress also gave out great recommendations to other cocktail bars in the area.

6/10/2016

Had high expectations for this place but was disappointed... The bar itself has a great ambiance and likeable unpretentious staff - but I can't say the same for the crowd. Place was filled with snooty unfriendly types. Soon as I step inside, some non Asian guy at the bar throws a comment in Chinese at me (I'm not Chinese). I ignore him but he continues to leer from across the room and we ended up in a verbal altercation that ruined my night. The staff handled it ok but there's not enough positives to make me come back :(The three drinks I tried were also let downs - not particularly strong nor balanced in the flavours.. not sure if it was just that night? The Dragonfly is supposed to be amazing but to me and my two buddies it just felt like we were eating an entire piece of raw ginger.

4/14/2016

Place to be for a date kinda place. Nice, dark interior, deco and vibes. Solid food and drink but the stools at the table are super uncomfortable for dining but make it great for mingling. the X Ray deco in the washrooms were unique and I had a satisfying leak before I left

4/18/2015

Cool placeWhen I was looking at this place from the outside, I couldn't tell if I'm at the right place. I had to ask the hostess if I'm at the right place, pretty embarrassing. It's a skinny and long place, so it's actually pretty roomy. The washroom is interesting, gotta check that out! This is a really cool place

The bold fashioned The bold fashioned Dragonfly Dragonfly 10/31/2015

So, my cocktail drinking friend dragged me back to Gastown/Chinatown..I'm a beer drinker, but they had a good selection of bottled beer..for example Singha..Tiger..They also had a decent whiskey selection, so I tried the Jameson Reserve..very tastyIs this place any different from the numerous cocktail bars? To be honest, not really..but they do have a really cool medical theme

7/22/2016 Updated review

After posting a critical review of The Keefer a few months back, they messaged me here to get my contact details to 'follow-up'. I provided my details right away, thinking that they were intending to make good on the poor service and watered down drinks I had experienced. I guess I was too optimistic. After three months - including my sending them a reminder two months ago of their intent to 'follow-up' - I've still hear nothing.Way to make an already unhappy patron even less impressed! Thank goodness better alternatives keep popping up...such as Juniper, right next-door to Keefer.

4/2/2016 Previous review The Keefer has been a favorite of mine for years....but tonight I was sorely disappointed on several… The Keefer has been a favorite of mine for years....but tonight I was sorely disappointed on several levels. The service was slow and nonchalant, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they were short staffed.However, they cocktails were VERY WATERED DOWN. I don't mean "the ice melted a bit while they were waiting at the bar". I mean "there is no way 2 oz of liquor (let alone the 3 oz as advertised for some of their drinks) made it into either of our glasses". We had a new cocktail from the current Winter Seasonal menu (the Canadian...something) and one from the Alumni menu. Both were described as 'Strong'.  Both were as weak as a cheap night-club drink.At $13 and $14 each I expect a decent cocktail, especially at a place that prides itself (or at least used to) on making great drinks.Just two days ago I recommended the Keefer to a bunch of colleagues visiting from out of town. Now I feel like a tool for suggesting a place that will likely fall well short of their expectations (especially after I described my many past wonderful experiences there).I'm holding out hope that the bartender was new (or having an off night), but fear one of my most beloved joints is now just cutting corners. I've always stayed for several rounds of fantastic, unique cocktails. Tonight, though, I couldn't get out of there fast enough to go home an make a 'real' cocktail. Read more 4/25/2015

Great ambience, great food, great drinks and great promos during the happy hour. I tried couple drinks and they are all well made. The food is not so different. The pork bun was good and the duck sliders were amazing! As dessert, the Chinese churros with dulce de leche is a great choice. I prefer the dough from the Mexican churros, but I can't complain about the Chinese one.I went during the happy hour (until 7pm) And I could have 2 food orders for the price of 1 and drinks with half of the regular price. So good!Cool decor, cozy restaurant. Great place for those who love drinks.

Duck sliders - so good!!!! Duck sliders - so good!!!! 5/24/2015

I expected this place to be super snobby but was pleasantly surprised by the casual, comfortable atmosphere.  Of course we didn't go during a busy hour so that may make the difference.  It was a bit pricey but I would say it was worth it.

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