Bidding farewell to Sweet Soul Burlesque.

In a few weeks, we bid goodbye to the girls of Sweet soul Burlesque. Over the past 5 years, Sweet sip Thursdays at the Keefer has been a mainstay of the Vancouver nightlife scene, Packing our tiny room from wall to wall, sometimes floor to ceiling, to get a view of one of the smallest stages in the city. It has been a long and fruitful partnership. We can confidently say, that we could not have built the identity of the Keefer bar, without the fearless confidence and lust for the creative edge that Sweet Soul posesses. Though this isn’t a permanent goodbye, merely a shift in direction for both the ladies of sweet soul, and the Keefer bar. We’re sure that our stage will be graced with the talent of SSB in collaborative events in the future. Continue reading below for all the details of the next months festivities.

From all of us here at the Keefer, We love you guys!

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Some words from Crystal Precious :

Six years ago, a inconspicuous, Heritage listed building transformed from a forgotten store-room into a euphonious Chinatown cocktail emporium. Since then the Keefer Bar and its staff have provided a haven for Vancouverites and visitors alike, serving urban sophisticates a little modern medication. Our partnership with them in 2010 has since garnered world-wide recognition, providing us with a weekly stage from which Sweet Soul’s signature neo-brand of striptease has deepened and flourished. Hosted by Crystal Precious, the little stage in front of the big picture window has also had its share of well-known international burlesque guests press their bosoms to the glass for passers-by, as well as those taxi cabs who “happen” to show up unbidden every Thursday. Some of these notable names came from England, LA, Australia and include industry royalty such as Burlesque Handbook writer Jo “Boobs” Weldon, and, next week, on Feb 4th, the incomparable ‘Dirty Martini’.

Like all good entertainment, eventually the curtains whisper a hush as they close, the stage becomes quiet, and the red light dims its come-hither glow. It is such that we at Sweet Soul plan to bid a similar adieu to our weekly show. We’ve enjoyed a wonderful run, and we are excited to move forward into 2016 and beyond with our latest projects within the SSB collective. This include a chance to focus on our next steps, among them new films, touring, recording, and the ever-growing Vancouver Burlesque Centre. Never one to say goodnight without a saucy wink of the eye, we offer a few more tête-à-têtes from the stage before we bid farewell. Our final shows will be as following:SSB Group BANNER 4

Thursday, Feb 4 with Dirty Martini (NYC)
Thursday, Feb 18
Thursday, March 3
Thursday, March 24th – ***LAST SHOW*** Our Grand Finale

ALL SHOWS $10. Sets at 10pm & 11pm
except LAST SHOW on March 24th — Sets at 9pm, 10pm & 11pm.

Reservations may be made by phoning the Keefer at 604-688-1961.
(Please note that we the performers are unable to reserve seats; please phone the Keefer directly).

This partnership was a wonderful and rewarding step in the history of our troupe, and the perfect evolution from Dollhouse (2006 – 2010). We are forever grateful to all those who have come to see us thrive here over the years and all our sponsors who have made the night possible, including Jack Daniels, Southern Comfort, Cointreau, East Vanity Parlour, Pin-Up Perfection Photography, Black Opal, Fubufoto, Mark Brennan Photography, Lace Embrace Atelier, Dani, Cam, Keenan, Gez, Navin, and course all of the Keefer family, that have played their part in making this room one of the best in the world.

We’ll be back every once and awhile with one-off shows, so stay tuned for that as well as updates on our next big projects!

Huge love,
The Sweet Soul grrlz

Crystal Precious
Mistress of Ceremonies

5 Year Anniversary

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It feels like yesterday that The Keefer Bar opened its doors for the first time. In amongst all the hype of Vancouver’s Winter Olympics, we started slinging cocktails in Chinatown and began the journey of advancing the cocktail culture in our city the best way we know how.

Beginning with the shell of the heritage listed and historically significant Vancouver Gas Company building, very much in disrepair, The Keefer Entertainment team transformed the 135 Keefer St. location into a landmark boutique hotel and lounge that draws inspiration from the culture of the surrounding area into its unique design.  Although the hotel aspect of the property is no longer, The Keefer Bar remains and continues to push the envelope of what is possible in modern cocktail culture.  With our Bartenders leading the charge as some of the country’s finest and most creative minds, the drinks program at The Keefer Bar has continued to evolve over the years.  The signature Keefer cocktails twist age-old cocktail formulas with Chinese apothecary ingredients creating familiar but uniquely modern drinks, reinforcing the importance of classic drink formulas in cocktails enjoyed every night in Chinatown.

On Tuesday, Feburary 10th, 2015, we celebrate 5 years of doing what we do best.  We’ve been continually working on our hospitality, drinks and entertainment programs, all in an effort to bring a unique nightlife experience to Vancouver that had never been seen before.

We would love to invite you down to celebrate our 5yr Anniversary, where we will draw from the very best of our talented performers and musicians to bring you a Keefer Variety show for the history books.  Combining elements from all of our showcase evenings, Burlesque, live music, strip-hop, dub-vibes and of course delicious cocktails.

The evening will also be a fundraiser for one of our longest standing resident musicians, Alex Maher, who unfortunately was involved in an accident just after Christmas that resulted in him breaking his foot.  As a professional musician who’s style of performance definitely requires him to be quick on his feet, we are doing our part to help Alex though this tough time by donating proceeds from the evening to a fund to assist him until he can return to the stage.   Local sponsors will be donating items for raffle and we will be taking donations at the door.  For anyone who has been down on a Tuesday night, Alex is one of the cities most talented musicians and contributes to one of our favourite nights at the Keefer!

We will be showcasing some of our most loved signature cocktails, have plenty of drink specials and you can be sure plenty of shots and high fives will be flying across the bar.

Hope you can join us!

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Yum Cha Saturdays

Over the past 4 years the Keefer Bartenders have been arriving to work on sunny Saturday afternoons, propping open our folding front windows like a workshop and racing the clock to 5pm. Juicing, slicing, shaking and boiling our mis-en-place into top form to be able to support the bar team through the busy night ahead. What started with curious passers by poking their heads in to find out when service begins, bolstered by the growing public interest in the evolution of the area, turned into the almost never ending requests for afternoon cocktails and snacks in the sunshine.

So, summer 2014 we have succumbed to the pressure and are extremely excited to present The Keefer Bar’s Saturday Yum Cha! Beginning this weekend and for the remainder of the summer, The Keefer Bar will be opening its doors at 11:30am on Saturdays (when most of the city’s bartenders are still in bed) and presenting a style of brunch and cocktails not yet seen in downtown Vancouver.

Featuring breakfast sandwiches with onions, mushroom, carrot and leeks on steamed buns, daily Chinatown fruit and salad offerings, Peking duck green onion pancakes plus a host of other dim sum steam basket possibilities.

Of course it wouldn’t be a Keefer Yum Cha without a new selection of cocktails. We will be bringing fresh daily tea cocktails, ginger mimosas, as well as a choice of healthy, TCM influenced breakfast smoothies, not to mention all the Keefer seasonal and alumni cocktails on offer all the way through until the small hours of Sunday morning!

We’re looking forward to seeing you much earlier than usual this summer and being able to share the warmth of our patio with you while the sun is shining so jump on your bike or take a walk over to come and say “Ni Hao!” and Yum Cha with us this Saturday, June 7th.

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Spring! Barate Kid Invitational and World Cocktail day!

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Long warm days are upon us once again and we have so much in the pipeline for this spring and summer at the Keefer Bar its hard to contain our excitement! Our spring signature rollout has produced a few new Keefer classics that will no doubt continue to be flowing well into the summer.  The Sazerac Sour is featured in this weeks Vancouver Eater “18 Best Spring cocktails in Vancouver” and has proved itself to be a crowd favourite, Buffalo Trace Bourbon, lemon and a house Peychauds syrup that is finished with an aromatic dousing of new arrival, St Georges Absinthe. Others not to miss are the Spiced Gimeretto (Gin, Tequila, lime, sugar, horseradish, black pepper bitters) Kombucha Collins (Beefeater Gin, lemon, long life syrup, 05 Tea Kombucha) and the Thai Pisco Sour (Pisco, lemon, Thai coconut tea).  All original Keefer cocktails and all flying across the bar till summer is in!

We are excited to announce the return of arguably one of the most exciting bartending competitions on the circuit right now. The Barate Kid Invitational returns to the Keefer bar on Monday the 19th of May at 5pm. The lineup that has been assembled for this years title is nothing short of astonishing. Old guards and some of the founders of Vancouvers cocktail scene take on the fresh blood of the industry in what is set to be a highlight of the competition calendar for 2014. The way this event works is very simple; 2 Bartenders at a time, both are presented with the same classic drinks to make (1st round – 3 drinks, 2nd – 4, 3rd – 5 and final round competitors must make 7 cocktails, all under time restraints). Bartenders are judged the winner or loser of 3 categories; style, speed and quality of drinks.  Winner of each round progresses. This is a face paced, high pressure competition with $1000 of cold hard cash on the line for the winner!  The competitors are as follows;
Josh Pape – Wildebeest/The Diamond (2012 winner)
Dani Tatarin – The Keefer Bar (2013 Runner up)
Evelyn Chick – Blue Water Cafe
Steve Da Cruz – The Parker
Gez McAlpine – The Keefer Bar (2012 runner up)
Grant Sceney – Fairmont Pacific Rim
Nick Devine – Cascade Room
Shaun Layton – La’bbatoir
Thor Paulson – Wildebeest
Ben Champlain – (2013 winner)
Cooper Tardivel – Hawksworth
Jay Brown – Calabash
Robyn Gray – Hotel Georgia
Jacob Sweetapple – Absolut Vodka
H – Nutoro
JS Dupuis – Homer St Cafe

Our Judges for the afternoons proceedings will be Vancouver cocktail guru David Wolowidnyk, Corby’s National Account Manager and all round Gentleman, Mr Casey Mackay, We are Very excited to announce that our 3rd and Final judge is none other than International cocktail industry legend and the owner of Canon Whiskey and Bitters emporium in Seattle – Mr Jamie Boudreau. Tough Judges for tough competition!

The best part is that all the cocktails made at this event will be auctioned off with all proceeds going to the Aprons For Gloves Boxing tournament fundraiser for the East Side boxing gym, who do great work with underprivileged youth in the downtown east side area, so come on down Monday evening and support Vancouver’s bar tending talent and the Aprons For Gloves cause.

Tuesday the 13th of May is World Cocktail Day! The anniversary of the first written definition of the word cocktail in the The Balance and Columbian Repository, May 13th 1806, and now the day we fill our boots with all things boozy and bittered and celebrate this most important part of our culture. This year the Canadian Professional Bartenders Association (CPBA) will be hosting the only party of its kind in town. With support from Maker Mark, brown, stirred, and bitter libations will flow until the small hours of Wednesday morning with plenty of drink specials and ways to celebrate the cocktail that you wouldn’t have ever imagined. Official ceremonies (drinking) begins at 7pm with our very own Alex Maher performing from 9:30pm-late.

Cheers!
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New Years Eve 2014 – Down the rabbit hole!

Our new years celebration proved to be our biggest and best yet! Thankyou to all that joined us for a magical evening down the rabbit hole in Chinatown.

Here are some of our favorite pics from the eve! thanks to the Keefers newest team member – Arthur Wynne for the snaps!

Year End Fun & Charity!

Wow this year has flown by! We are coming in to December next week and have big plans for the year end…

Every year we give back to the community through our charity events. To end this year we decided to collaborate with our wonderful friends Sweet Soul Burlesque and try to raise $10,000 for the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre by producing a 2014 Charity Calendar. We received generous support from the community to produce this and the results are a glamour filled page-turner to keep you blushing through 2014. Details for purchasing below.

To end the year with a bang we are hosting another magical New Years Eve Party! We have sipped from the bottle filled with fantastical elixir and stumbled Down the Rabbit Hole to take inspiration from Alice in Wonderland. Enter into a transformed whimsical fantasy themed Keefer Bar where the music, performers and drinks will dazzle you as you ring in the New Year with us! You will receive a cocktail on arrival, Champagne at Midnight, Performances by Sweet Soul Burlesque and musical styling from two charming DJ’s Dubconscious & Peter Allgood. Step into the adventure and celebrate with us this NYE!

Tickets are now available online and in person at The Keefer Bar
$30 in advance – $45 with a Charity Calendar
http://www.ticketzone.com/event/Down-the-Rabbit-Hole-NYE-2014/209004

2014 Charity Pin Up Calendar
Only $15 for 15 months of SASS!
100% of PROCEEDS to the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre

Direct purchase link: http://tinyurl.com/sweetsipcalendar2014
Tickets to our New Years Eve Party with Calendar: http://www.ticketzone.com/wafform.aspx?_act=fullsearchv3&v3=yes&s=Down+the+Rabbit+Hole

IN STORE:
All Puff Locations (Main, West 4th, Granville St, Commercial)
East Vanity Parlour
Lace Embrace Atelier
Scout Boutique
The Rio Theatre
Vancouver Burlesque Centre
& The Keefer Bar!

Many thanks again to Brown-Forman Canada, Sweet Soul Burlesque, Pin-up Perfection Photography, East Vanity Studios, Lace Embrace & all our generous sponsors!

Enter the door to Wonderland this New Years Eve. Be enchanted by the space, bedazzled by the cocktails, let the Champagne bubbles tickle your tongue. Sip from the bottle of decadence. Step into the adventure unknown.

SweetSip Charity Calendar

One last thing, if you haven’t already booked your Holiday Party we still have space available; call us at 604.688.1961 or email info@thekeeferbar.com to book!

Happy Holiday’s & Hope to see you for cocktails!

XOXO
The Keefer Bar Team

Keefer Boat Party is happening again!

This Sunday the HMS Keefer will sail again! after a hugely successful party last year as part of a fundraising effort for Aprons For Gloves, The Keefer Bar has teamed up with some of its favorite resident performers to bring you a summer time boat cruise that will no soon be forgotten. Talent from the likes of DJ Dubconscious, DJ Micro Douglas, Cheeky Disco DJ’s, Sweet Soul Burlesque and many more will be rocking it across two level of  the beautiful “Magic Charm”.  Tickets are $50 and available from the Keefer Bar all this week, They will also be available from Keenan Hood on the night of the Aprons For Gloves Restaurant rumble, so track that guy down!  This is a great Cause and all proceeds will go to the East Side boxing gym, you can find out more about what they are doing here.

The ship will sail at 3:30 pm from Coal Harbour and will be followed by a suitably incredible after party at the Keefer Bar.  Any questions or queiries email Info@thekeeferbar.com,  keenanhood@thekeeferbar.com or the facebook event page.

Summer!

Finally! The skies are clear and the sun is shining on Vancouver, summer is here and it couldn’t come soon enough.  With a suitably spectacular Canada day in our rear vision and nothing but excitement for long days and beach sunsets for the next few months, we have been tinkering with drinks that will appropriately compliment  the warm sunshine you’ve been dreaming of… And boy to we have some doozies! Think of it like the soundtrack to the summer… For your mouth!
We have a host of new and exciting ingredients gracing the pages of the Keefer menu for the first time this season, a range of traditional Chinese tonics, lemon verbena, traditional Mexican molé bitters and dill weed, just to name a few.

To kick things off, Gez and Keenan teamed up over a Saturday afternoon prep sessions to bring you a sequel to last years hugely popular ‘Judo Kick’ cocktail (Cachaca, lime, ginger, wasabi, shiso leaf), The ‘Judo Chop’ is a master that has earned his stripes, weighing in the heavyweight Herradura Reposado tequila, yellow Chartreuse, Chrysanthemum, citrus and a finishing move of fresh jalapeño. Right up the alley of any lover of spice!

The ‘Komodo Dragon’ holds the core of the classic summer garden cocktail ‘The Pimms Cup’ close while luring in some much loved Chinatown produce and products. Lychees, yuzu marmalade and a royal jelly and ginkgo biloba tonic – used for centuries in china and proven to assist in cognitive function and memory. A literally unforgettable cocktail.

For the easy drinking, people watching, patio session – we have no shortage of long drinks. the main st lemonade takes Canadian whiskey for a ride with Yun-Zhi mushroom infused maple syrup, lemon and cinnamon. The Royal Unicorn cocktail takes everything great an green, cucumber, lime, cilantro blitzed Gin with pineapple and ginger to make a zesty tipple coined to be a standout summer staple.

As we have learned from our 3-plus years on Keefer st, long summer afternoons tend to turn into long summer nights, so when it’s time to shorten and strengthen your cocktails, we have a new run of re-fashioned classic to kick the evening up a gear.  Introducing the ‘Solstice Negroni’ (Gin, Aperol, Martini Bianco, cherry and vanilla bitters), ‘Tequila Re-fashioned’ (Herradura reposado, agave, pink peppercorn) and the ‘Viva La Vida’ (Mezcal, sweet vermouth, maraschino, molè bitters). All these liquor forward cocktails aim to please the palate of cocktail veterans and newbies alike.

Join us to bring in the summer right! The Chinatown Night market is in full swing with a host of new vendors, entertainment, food trucks, ping pong tournaments and classic Chinese cinema projections onto the side of the Keefer building. Chinatown is abuzz every weekend,
Find out more here.

With lots of weekly drink specials, 2 for 1 appies on weekdays, and brand new summer jazz sessions every second wednesday, we want to see you on Keefer St soon!

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Keefer on tour

Over the last month there have been a few faces missing from The Keefer Bar. As summer approaches, some of our management team have taken the opportunity to escape Vancouver while we still can and expand our knowledge of spirits, cocktails and drinking culture around the world, as well, of course, to enjoy a little vacation and party time.

Keenan and Navin took some time to catch some sun in the Mexican beach town of Puerto Escondido, keeping well hydrated on cervesas and agave spirits before joining up with Dani, herself, having her fair share of time in paradise at a Hawaiian yoga retreat. They, Along with a contingency of Canadian bar professionals, converged on Oaxaca for a comprehensive Mezcal tour, hosted by Los Siete Misterios Mezcal. Over 5 days, the crew learned everything from the agricultural aspects of agave production (How NOT to handle a freshly harvested agave) through to elements of distillation in clay pot stills, a method not commonly seen before Mezcal burst onto the Canadian bartender radar last year. Of course, our team mastered the art Mezcal consumption, incorporating traditional accompaniments to Mezcal like Sal de Gustano (a style of salt made by blending with the larvae living in the agave). The crew ended their trip with a few nights in Mexico City, making cocktails for the rest of the group and sampling the Mezcal creations at some of the best cocktail establishments that Mexico has to offer.

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Gez claimed his prize for the recent Giffard Iron Bartender competition hosted at Legacy Liquor Store and took off for Angers, France, to compete for the Keefer Bar and Canada in the Giffard West cup cocktail competition (of which Dani won in 2010). Accompanied by Scot Curry from Alta Bistro in Whistler and the infamous, Jay Jones (judging the event) the trio had time to explore Paris for a weekend before heading to Angers, the home of Giffard. There they competed against 22 bartenders from 14 countries. Although Canada didn’t bring home the bacon this time, the boys put in exceptional performances! Gez took the time while in Europe to explore some of the most famous liquor producing regions in the world, Cognac and Bordeaux. While in Cognac, team Canada was hosted most graciously by Alexander Gabriel of Pierre Ferrand (PF Cognac, Citadel Gin and Plantation Rum launching in Canada this July) along with a full day touring the spectacular facilities of Hennessy. This week of excellent food, wine and cognac will no doubt serve as a muse for upcoming cocktail creation!

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With a fully rested and freshly inspired team, you can be sure that the custom creations and upcoming summer drinks list will be full of unique surprises and utilizing new techniques learned abroad, all in order to tantalize the palates of Vancouver! See you for a Mezcal or Cognac cocktail soon!

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