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Prophecy Cocktail Bar

Vancouver has a new upscale cocktail bar that is projected to be the next award winning bar.

This was a project that started 2 years ago, as the underground speakeasy of Georgia Hotel laid empty and unclaimed. The owners were looking to place a high end cocktail lounge in Vancouver’s landscape, and this just fit.

They drew inspiration from across the world, paying homage to the hotel and its history, while adding in the flavours of today. The space has been redone to cultivate a dark a moody theme, highlighting their innovative menu with innovative design.

From the chandeliers to the mill work; and the digital artwork that is the first of its kind.

Prophecy centres around a cocktail program curated by Jeff Savage, award winning bartender and now Beverage Director. His goal was to have his drink menu tell a story, and it admittedly does look like a book. He promises world class drinks and an experience worthy of our world class city.

Noticing that Vancouver also lacks a live music scene, show runners also plan on bringing in live music and entertainment to help further the prestige of this brand. One such live jazz band came on at 8:30pm tonight, revealing themselves from sliding doors.

We started the evening in their private lounge at the back. A cloistered off space with some sexy details worthy of bottle service. A warm glow radiates from the furnishings and the slotted panel back wall. Of the latter, subtle features of a nose and mouth are visible from the right angles. All within eye shot of their wine and champagne cellar, meant to tempt.

It was here that we popped a few bottles and christen the night and this new elevated bar with a cheers.

When the mingling subsided and the speeches were done, we were escorted back to the main lounge, where we took our seat in groups, for a sit down service. The drinks are the highlight here, but they also have some tasty small plates to pair with them.

Once again the drink menu is a novel bound in fragrant leather. Each cocktail not only includes listed ingredients, but is also accompanied by a sketch of how it would be presented (for those who are like us, and order based on the visual). Each also comes with a story, the origins and inspiration of how that cocktail came to be, but I will save that detail for you to discover for yourself, when you come in to visit.

If the menu and all its options are a little overwhelming, you can lean on their drink legend. A map of flavours and where each of the cocktails land within the profiles of “refreshing, herbaceous, lush, or spirituous”. So you can easily choose your own adventure.

Naturally following are the most photogenic cocktails. The “Souvenir” is served in a giant nesting doll and nothing about this is available for you to take home and keep. Hay and beeswax-washed Alberta Premium Canadian Whisky, Lagavulin 8 Scotch, pasilla mixe, and smoke. This is a strong and bold cocktail that is right up my alley. Smokey on the onset and it ends on a sweet note.

The “El Peregrino” is served in the cheek of a hollowed out ceramic skull. A mix of Paranubes Oaxacan Rum, Derrumbes Durango Mezcal, banana, cinnamon, allspice, and lime. As its vessel suggests, this is the type of cocktail you find at a tiki bar. Heavy on the rum with plenty of syrup and sugar to mask that fact. It leaves the palate with a cinnamon spice.

“Northern Lights” is the smoke show served in a LED lit cloche. The imagery of strobing colours and fog reminds you of the northern lights. Tanqueray No. 10 Gin, labrador tea, grapefruit oils, elderflower, lemon, and B2. This drank like a heavy handed mimosa with strong herbaceous notes that smack you in the face.

The “Kelpie” is an homage to Jeff Savage’s earliest days at the Fairmont Pacific Rim. Where he dawned the mantle of Botanist’s bar manager. There, he had a sharing cocktail with a similar design. And although both utilized custom pieces where the artist pours hot glass over found and claimed drift wood, to create a one of a kind drink and stand; they are more distant relatives than siblings. Whereas the former was salty and refreshing like the sea and cucumber this was more yeasty and nutty. Brennivin Aquavit, nori infused fino sherry, bitter bianco, almond, celery, lime, and spirulina. This one was hard to place overall, I found myself continuing to go back for sips, trying to wrap my head around it. It had flavours that grows and evolves. On one go it was more juice, another I found syrupy and sour, and yet another still: acidic with the aftertaste of almonds.

The “Wabi Sabi Martini” was simple and clean with redistilled matcha gin, hinoki, and aromatized wine. This one came recommended by Jeff himself, as the one to order for easy and happy drinking, and a good time. It was thin on the lips with very little mouthful. I found there was not enough matcha to cut into and flavour the other spirits.

“Big Iron” with Angels Envy Bourbon, black tea, strawberry, ginger, lemon acid, aromatic bitters, and carbonation. Rich and warming like southern tea.

“Snow Falling on Cedars” with Ketel One Vodka, Douglas Fir Gin, hoja santa, Gyokuro, lime, and egg white. This was herbaceous and earthy like from a garden, but given a sweetness with the foam.

Not yet available when I visited, although is already listed on the menu is the “Washoku”. A5 Waygu fat washed Hibiki Harmony Japanese Whisky, Lagavulin 8 Scotch, maillard reaction distillate, kohuko black sugar, aromatic bitters, and A5 Waygu skewers. A premium product at a premium $102 price. This I will have to splurge on, during my return visit.

They also have an extensive non-alcoholic cocktail list with both elevated juices and teas as well as cocktails mixed with spirits without the ABV. Like the “Basho” with Seedlip garden, gyokuro, hoja santa, and lime.

And the “Pandan Cream Soda” with Seedlip garden, gyokuro, hoja santa, and lime. I considered ordering this, as a fan of the southeast Asian leaf, but opted for a buzz instead. Whereas with this, you get the kick of a liquor, but with none of its affects.

And for those looking to kick things up a notch and quickly, they also have a handful of top shelf shots. The “Ponyboy” would be the easiest of them all, as I couldn’t even feel any of the spirit on my tongue, but I would feel it in my cheeks much later. Tio Pepe Fino Sherry, Christian Drouin Calvados, and nutmeg.

This is a round we had specially mixed and served by Jeff himself, as I attempted to tempt him into taking one with us.

Another fun shot to consider is the Community Cheers. This is monthly rotating short serve which gives 100% of your $5 donation to their monthly charitable initiative. Similarly every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 11:11pm they will do a cheers for the community.

As for what is yet to come, there are talks of larger format serves for the table, as well as drink pairings to have you coming back and seeing what is new.

As for food, we had the following family share style, starting with the Antipasti Platter. This was a board laid with a selection of 3 cured meats from oyama, 3 cheeses, house mustard, pickled vegetables, and sourdough. A classic grazing offering to nibble on.

Wagyu Beef Dumplings filled with seared beef dressed in a nam jim sauce, and topped with scallions. They were fairly salty as is and really didn’t need a sauce or soy dip for flavour.

The Garlic Prawns were dressed in shishito peppers, crispy garlic, scallions, and cilantro. They were a little bit of everything: spicy, crunchy, bright and bold in a sweet and chilli furthered by the occasional stinging pepper.

The Salmon Aburi was not the most authentic, but a welcomed sight. Each thick cut of salmon was torched with kewpie mayo and topped with scallions and served with pickled ginger. Here, this modern Vancouver staple eats more like a dish with softened fish over tender rice.

The A5 Wagyu Katsu Sando is an indulgence worth splurging on. Thick slices of perfectly prepared quality beef on a butter brioche with katsu sauce and kewpie mayo. The whole sandwich will set you back $100. We shared it 4 ways at $25 each and there were no regrets. This is probably the most decadent sandwich I will never eat. Crispy bread, tender beef, and heavy on the mayo for some extra creamy ooze. I found myself licking my fingers clean of this one. I hate that I had to share.

Gnocchi with brown butter, corn puree, grana padano, and balsamic. Heavy in garlic, which I loved. It had a richness alongside the gummy chew that you savour in mouth, plus the addition of nuts for texture.

The Funghi Flatbread was less exciting especially with more crust that toppings. Assorted mushrooms, caramelized onions goat cheese, garlic cream, and arugula. A classic, easy to share plate.

Summer Panzanella with burrata, stone fruit, sourdough, tomatoes basil, olive oil, and pesto. A simple and refined offering or sweet tomato, fragrant herbs, and quality cheese.

Overall, I would like to see the food rise to the occasion, to be more on par with the cocktails: offering something unique and different all on to themselves. Here, the drinks stood alone as one concept, and the food a separate entity. They aren’t married, nor do they flow or pair well with one another. Although given their shared kitchen space with the hotel, there is only so much the bar/lounge can do.

Regardless, you will definitely see me frequenting here for the drinks and the vibes.

Prophecy Bar
801 W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V6C 1P7
(604) 336-3383
prophecybar.com

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