The Distillery Bar + Kitchen
By YP Contributor

An Ode to Italy by way of New York City

Aptly named for its on-site distillery that specializes in premium vodka and gin, The Distillery Bar + Kitchen began seducing its neighbours’ taste buds from the moment they opened the doors in the spring of 2013. The Yaletown hotspot is situated in a historic building in a prime location on Mainland Street. Boasting sophisticated decor and fabulous Italian-American cuisine, The Distillery Bar + Kitchen stands out from the crowd.

“We really wanted to create an atmosphere that celebrated everything that was great about New York’s Prohibition era, and our strong Italian roots,” says general manager Gino Herring. “Every weekend we have a DJ who plays classic tunes from Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis to Benny Goodman with a modern twist to keep the room buzzing.”

In hopes of evoking that bygone Great Gatsby era, a research trip to NYC's best speakeasy-style bars was a must for team behind The Distillery Bar + Kitchen. “We went to New York because we wanted to recreate a throwback to the classic Prohibition bar,” Gino explains. The Yaletown dining room does indeed harken back to a 1920s Brooklyn saloon with its rich woods, original brick walls, multiple mirrors and oversized chandeliers.

We really wanted to create an atmosphere that celebrated everything that was great about New York’s Prohibition era, and our strong Italian roots. - Gino Herring, general manager
The Distillery Bar + Kitchen general manager Gino Herring.
Gino Herring, general manager at The Distillery Bar + Kitchen. Photo courtesy of The Distillery Bar + Kitchen

Pasta and Prohibition-Era Cocktails

The Distillery Bar + Kitchen offers a sizeable menu packed with Italian standouts; highlights include the traditional spaghetti and meatballs (made with beef and veal), penne alla Yaletown Distilling Company vodka with prosciutto and peas, rustic flatbreads, and both the veal Parmigiana and Saltimbocca. The restaurant cheekily offers a “Legalize Marinara” Thursday special with $12.00 pastas celebrating the red sauce, and guests with dietary restrictions will also find a selection of vegetarian dishes as well as gluten-free pasta. The Distillery Bar + Kitchen also hosts a famous $10.00 Distillery Breakfast; the boozy brunch is offered Friday through Sunday, and has been embraced by locals for its incredible value.

The culinary team is passionate about what goes into each and every dish.“It’s about using the purest, best ingredients without adding too much…true Italian style, simple and unpretentious food,” says chef de cuisine Antonio Martin, who spent time as a child in Italy, fuelling his passion for pasta. Antonio and his staff buy local and organic as much as possible, in addition to ethically raised meats and fowl. “We have built great relationships with our local farmers,” adds Antonio. “We buy our beef from Pemberton Meadows Natural Beef and our pork is humanly raised in the Fraser Valley at Johnston’s Pork.”

Guests can wash down their sumptuous pasta plates with a classic handcrafted cocktail that speaks to the room and harkens back to a different era, or a glass of vino. The extensive cocktail list includes signature creations like - the Hanky Panky, Godfather, an enduring gin and tonic, or the French 75 – which are priced well given the specialty spirits and mixtures involved. “All of the syrups in our cocktails are made in house so that we can ensure distinctive flavours and consistent quality,” Gino notes.

In addition to its lengthy list of classic and barrel-aged cocktails, The Distillery Bar + Kitchen has a well curated selection of Italian wines, an approachable wine list of New World wines, and a range of local craft beers.

The Distillery Bar + Kitchen's menu features a variety of Italian pasta dishes.
Photo courtesy of The Distillery Bar + Kitchen

Al Fresco Feel

The sprawling restaurant seats 280 guests in various different dining areas, including a 30-person communal table that encourages diners to get to know their neighbours. The interior dining room is lit by the glow of vintage chandeliers, while the heated outdoor patio is beloved for its scenic al fresco feel and great people watching opportunities.

Whether it’s the handcrafted cocktails, the daily Happy Hour and late night specials or the beautifully prepared traditional pasta dishes, The Distillery Bar + Kitchen has a little something for everyone, making it the spot for couples and friends to gather for a memorable night out in Yaletown.

The Distillery Bar + Kitchen has a moody interior dining room lit by chandeliers .
Photo courtesy of The Distillery Bar + Kitchen
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