The Modern Bartender
By YP Contributor

The Imbiber's Playhouse

The Modern Bartender's claim to fame is simple: when it comes to high quality barware, it's literally the only game in town. Whether you're a cocktail aficionado or an industry professional, it has quickly become the go-to place to pick up high-end essentials – from ice cube trays (including the coveted King Cube), to mixing spoons, to mixology books, to flavoured syrups and more than 100 varieties of bitters (cocktail flavouring that no self-respecting drinking establishment would be without).

In addition to having the largest selection of bitters anywhere in the province, The Modern Bartender is also the BC distributor for The Apothecary Bitters Co., a local company making small-batch cocktail flavouring that can't be found anywhere else.

“Vancouver just has this complete lack of places where you can go and buy all the essentials for imbibing drinks and cocktail culture,” explains owner Rod Moore. “What happens if you're a new bartender, and you want to get the essentials together? There was literally nowhere to go. There were a couple places you could get a few things, but the rest you had to do online.”

We get a lot of bartenders from around town. But there are also a lot of people who have home bars or are just passionate about cocktail culture. - Rod Moore, owner
The Modern Bartender - Cocktail glassware, Bitters, Mixology Books

Catering to Cocktail Enthusiast and Pro Bartender

Opened in September 2012, The Modern Bartender uses its intimate Chinatown location for much more than simply retail space. In addition to carrying high-end essentials, they also host mixology-related events, holding seminars on everything from mixing drinks, to proper use of bitters, to the history of the speakeasy.

And, of course, thanks to special event licenses granted for the occasion, each session includes the consumption of cocktails related to the subject at hand. And, according to Rod, it appears to be catching on, attracting a diverse crowd from all over the city.

“We get a lot of bartenders from around town,” he notes. “But there are also a lot of people who have home bars or are just passionate about cocktail culture. It's a real mix.”

The Modern Bartender - Cocktail glassware, Bitters, Mixology Books

Shakers, Mixers, Syrups and More

Previously the owner of a series of sporting-goods stores, Rod himself has leapt into cocktail culture head-first; in addition to opening The Modern Bartender, he is also the owner of The Shameful Tiki Room on Main Street, a hip, up-and-coming nightspot providing patrons with high-quality rum drinks in a kitschy, faux-Polynesian atmosphere.

And, if all goes well, this might be only the beginning. Plans for the future seem almost endless, including talk of more seminars, art showings (Rod plans to exhibit a 7-foot Tiki carving of his own creation in the space), and even, a potential expansion to other provinces.

“That's the only thing about a new venture: you've got nobody else to look at, and go 'Okay, this is working',” Rod laughs. “But it's been pretty neat so far. Nowhere near as expensive to start as a Tiki restaurant. I look at it and think: 'Geez, Calgary doesn't have anything like that. Maybe I should go out there, too.'

The Modern Bartender - Cocktail glassware, Bitters, Mixology Books
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