With the dreary fall weather rearing its head, you can still hold on to summer with the help of Keefer Yard, bringing the outside in.
Where the original Keefer Bar is dark and serious, with its apothecary and medicinal theme; Keefer Yard is playful and fun with plenty of colour. Set under a tented tarp, over cement block walls covered in graffiti, it feels like you are outdoors. The scene is made whole with paper lanterns and disco balls, and bench style seating made more comfortable with throw pillows. Large fans and fire pits help to regulate the temperature.
But the feature that centres the room is their mini golf range. 9 holes set within a wooden frame, which includes a sand pit and bridge, on top of the sharp turns to putt around. You pay to play with all proceeds benefiting a local charity of their choice, this rotates frequently. Equipped with clubs, balls, score cards, and mini pencils, the 9 rounds are played exactly as you would in any other arena. But be warned you will have an audience in the form of all the guests/customers seated around the perimeter of the artificial green.
When not playing you can partake in their extensive drink collection. A list of cocktails featuring iced slushes, tropical juices, and summer vibes. On one occasion my guest had the Honey Don’t Dew Me Like Dat, a fun cocktail with a fun name. Maker’s Mark Bourbon, tarragon infused Aperol, lemon, and honeydew. I went for the Banana Hammock once I read pandan in its list of ingredients. Bruichladdich Classic Laddie scotch, lime, banana falernum, pandan, and milk. Both were one the sweeter side. As refreshing and light as you’d expect it to be for a bar focused on summer forever. Considering they have opened more recently, I am curious to see if the setting adapts for the cold weather, or maybe even change up its theme all together.
During my second visit we had the Prickly Mai Thai with Mount Gay Eclipse Rum, Cointreau, lime, blood orange, Szechuan peppercorn, and orgeat. This one was strong, with the first sip being alarming. Whereas the Thirst Trap more playful, featuring Cazadores blanco tequila, Cointreau, watermelon, lime, lime leaf, and vanilla. You definitely want to add slush for $4, to help give the drink a more believable summer experience.
As for food, I have had some of Keefer Bar’s small plates before without much excitement, so wasn’t enthusiastic about getting any of it today. However was glad that we did because it was noticeably a lot tastier today.
Like all Peking Duck Crepes, one is never enough. Roasted duck, served with fresh cucumber, cilantro, hoisin, and crepes. It tasted like standard fare, but more salty.
They have all the classic dim sum dumpling staples like shrimp ha gow, pork xiao long bao, pork and shrimp siu mai, and shiitake and tofu vegetarian jiaozi. We went for the classic shrimp dumpling, which tasted exactly as you expected it to. No issues here.
The Simao Brisket Bao was ginger beef brisket, house pickled vegetable, green onion, and cilantro. The meat was chewy, stew quality beef and it showed. I would have liked to see more brown sauce and pickles to breathe enough life and flavour into the bun sandwich.
Luckily we serendipitously ordered a small bowl of their Hunan Pickles, aka pickled vegetables in the traditional Hunan style that we could pair with the above for a more balanced main.
In short rain or sun they are a good time and a unique one. So get out of the cold into warmer spirits with Keefer Yard.
135 Keefer St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1X3, Canada