Bartender of the Year 2012

A lot of bartenders say they’re passionate about making drinks, but how many would don an electric-pink wig and dispense shots of Baja Rosa in the esteemed halls of West Edmonton Mall’s Juice Dance Lounge? For 18-year-old Danielle Tatarin, growing up in the cocktail hinterland of Northern Alberta, the hard truth was that guys were bartenders, girls were servers. Tatarin was unbowed by such draconian rules; she worked any job that let her get behind the bar. After relocating to Vancouver, she slung beer and sugary highballs on Robson and when she needed a challenge she started her own cocktail-focused business. But it wasn’t until Cameron Bogue (now the drink master for Earls) brought her on at db Bistro that all those years of grinding it out in the minors paid off. By the time db folded the secret was out: Tatarin was the real deal and the exact sort of person Cam Watt needed to create a bar on the edge of Chinatown at his Keefer Hotel. The room would have to be special enough to divert the thirsty from their usual path, and Tatarin set about creating a space that’s part apothecary, part laboratory; that channels the spirit of its surroundings while being nothing like anything the city had seen before. The Keefer Bar is now hopping every night of the week, the crowning achievement of an overnight sensation 15 years in the making.

The Keefer Bar
135 Keefer St.