Tuned up heritage bar and dining lounge adds up to historic district’s latest lively lure

L’Abattoir’s bar has a real buzz—and great tastes too, Tim Pawsey photo

Walk into Gastown’s newest star, L’Abattoir (217 Carrall St., 604-568-1701) and the first person you’ll likely meet is Shaun Layton, who runs everything bar-wise here.  Shaun is one of the best. We know that, having watched him and tasted his efforts when judging at last year’s Giffard International Cocktail Challenge, in Angers, France.

(Just for the record, this year’s contest was dominated by Vancouver’s entries, when Keefer Bar’s Danielle Tatarin and Market’s Justin Tisdale grabbed first and second places respectively.)

L’Abattoir head bartender Shaun Layton: style and substance – Tim Pawsey photo

A nod to our recent Spanish trip, we opted for his ‘Fino sour’, a twist on the classic Whisky sour that artfully balances Fino (dry) sherry with Cognac and lemon. It was perfect.

With a bundle of exposed red brick contrasted by stainless steel bar stools and a smoked glass facade, the space—once home to the Irish Heather, now across the street—is a real treat,

The bar, with its refurbished original floor, offers more hints than glimpses of the kitchen behind a three quarter wall, while most of the tables are upstairs in the mezzanine, and some in an atrium, in the rear. Paul Grunberg (ex. Bao Bei, Market, and Chambar) runs the show (which is already pretty polished), while chef Lee Cooper (also ex. Market and several notable gigs) heads up the capable kitchen team.

L’Abattoir’s rear atrium: a quiet escape overlooking Gaolers’ Mews, Tim Pawsey photo

The name L’Abattoir, intended to refer to part of the neighbourhood’s slaughterhouse history—hence ‘Blood Alley’—also seems to nicely complement Sean Heather’s Judas Goat just down the way.

With Boneta’s just announced move right into the next door, just rebuilt Gaolers Mews adjacent complex known as The Garage, expect this little cluster of good eating and drinking to very quickly become Gastown’s dining vortex—and a pretty serious gauntlet to Yaletown.

Read our Vancouver Courier review of L’Abattoir here

L’Abattoir crab custard brioche, Tim Pawsey photo