Shebeen, the hidden gem in Gastown
Having left Water Street Cafe after diner, Friday evening was still young. However, it was quiet in Gastown as most people chose to stay home. I wanted RC to check out my favourite cocktail spots, the bar at L’Abattoir. However, the only 4 seats at the bar due to the safe distancing requirement were all taken. RC suggested Shebeen, a whiskey bar tucked behind The Irish Heather. I was intrigued.
Shebeen Whisk(e)y House is indeed quite hidden. You need to go through The Irish Heather and a private courtyard and find it behind the Irish pub. The place could have fitted in 50-60 guests normally but it was arranged for a much smaller capacity for the safe distancing. The bar claims to have BC’s largest selection of Single Malt, Bourbon, Rye, Scotch, and Irish whisk(e)y. With almost 200 different labels, this sure sounds like a haven for whiskey lovers like RC. If one craves for food, the bar conveniently offers the same food menu with The Irish Heather
Reopened with health and safety measures
The place has a feel of a speakeasy, decorated with a lot of interesting artifacts and objects that reflect the genre. It was recently reopened after the health and safety measures were implemented for the post-pandemic lockdown. A QR code was given for accessing the online menu via smartphones to avoid reusing the actual menu. The bartender and the server were wearing a face mask but it didn’t hide the friendliness.
I do like whiskey. I did some studies on the varieties of whiskey not too long ago and wrote a post in Chinese on WeChat. But I would trust a whiskey enthusiast like RC than myself to decide what to get. So he ordered me The Ireland’s Call ($25) flight, which seems to be a great intro of Irish Whiskey at its best, including Jameson ‘Black Barrel’, Glendalough Double Barrel’, Writer’s Tears Whiskey, and Red Breast Whiskey 12yr. The Scotch lover himself took on the 45 Years of Dalmore ($45), which showcases Dalmore 12 yr, Dalmore 15 yr, Dalmore 18 yr, and Dalmore Cigar Malt. RC also ordered a shot of his favourite Nikka from the Barrel ($13).
I have become very fond of Japanese whiskey in the last couple of years. This is such a great lesson for me to trace back to the root and study how the flavors have developed and evolved over the years in different regions. I would definitely try to learn more about whiskey and try to drink whisk(e)y neat as much as I can. The staff was being very helpful assisting me truly enjoy the whole experience.
This is only the first taste of Shebeen’s immaculate collection of whisk(e)y labels. As I look forward to the next visit here with RC, I highly recommend this true gem of Gastown to all whisk(e)y lovers.