By his own admission Rod Moore is a home bar geek, with a deep love for and knowledge of all things cocktail and drink related, and who was the proud owner of a ‘crazy’ set up in his own house. From those small beginnings – it was in 2005 when he purchased his first, very own Tiki mug – in just a few short years Moore has managed to turn his hobby of mixing cocktails and hosting Tiki-themed summer bars in other people’s establishments into a successful business venture of his own.
Frustrated with the lack of availability of specialized items and having to shop in a half dozen places just to get the ingredients he needed for a perfect cocktail mixture, Moore spied a gap in the market and in 2012 opened Modern Bartender: his labour of love and a true mecca for bartending aficionados.
Located on Vancouver’s East Pender near the Chinatown district – just a few blocks from Vancouver Harbour and Canada Place on the waterfront – The Modern Bartender is the first of its kind in the city and another new addition to an area which has exploded into renewed, gentrified life after decades of neglect. The store has a welcoming vibe and warm décor of dark wood with splashes of red brick, fitting in perfectly with the hip restaurants and hotels which have sprung up in the revitalised area recent years: upon entering the store it feels as if you are walking into a stylish, well-appointed and friendly bar.
Designed as a ‘one stop shop’ for both home and professional bartenders, The Modern Bartender’s large front window is emblazoned with ‘The Imbiber’s Playhouse’ and it’s impossible to disagree with the description: the store is bursting with mixes, equipment and bar items and browsing is an unadulterated joy. More than one hundred bitters – with an emphasis on the bespoke ‘Bittered Sling’ brand – are available, along with Moore’s high end selection of bar tools such as jiggers, muddlers and strainers, while shoppers will find carefully curated garnishes and ingredients, syrups and mixes, plus flasks, bottles, cups and vintage glassware.
On the more specialised front, The Modern Bartender stocks lounge shirts, fridges, hats and even cigars, plus wonderfully ornate absinthe fountains and accompanying spoons to ‘call upon the Green Fairy’. Oak barrels – for ageing your own spirits and cocktails – are available in one, two and five-litre options, while to wow a friend or family member with a gift there are bamboo cutting boards, Lewis bags for crushing ice (once an essential bartending item) and Japanese ‘M-Taka’ Bitter bottles.
With a Tiki bar-themed section at the back of the store, along with regular community nights where you can learn the ‘craft of the cocktail’ or learn about bitters, The Modern Bartender offers everything bar the booze itself. Ever the entrepreneur, plans are in place to expand into bartending courses and provide home service to cater for private parties, and Moore has since gone on to open the ultra-hip Shameful Tiki Room on Vancouver’s Main Street, with another branch due to open in Toronto.
The Modern Bartender
28 E Pender St. Vancouver, BC V6A 3V6
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 10:00am – 6:00pm Sunday: 12:00pm – 6:00pm