A month after launching Hooker’s Green in Yaletown, the Donnelly Group has opened Killjoy Cocktail Tavern (1120 Hamilton Street) in the same neighbourhood. However, while Hooker’s Green and its sister pub upstairs, The New Oxford, focuses on craft beers and whiskey, Killjoy’s speciality is handcrafted gin cocktails, B.C. wines, and charcuterie.
The bar menu, which includes classic and new gin cocktails ($9 to $14), was developed by Donnelly Group bar and beverage director Trevor Kallies and is led by bar manager Christian Matifat, who previously managed the bar at the Opus Hotel. Highlights on the menu include the Bramble, made with Plymouth gin, Crème de Mure (a blackberry flavoured liquer), lemon juice, and fresh berries; Unusually Yours, which is made with Hendrick’s gin, ginger syrup, St. Germain (an elderflower liqueur), pear juice, refreshing cucumber foam, and rose spritz; and the Smokehouse, a darker concoction of Victoria Oaken gin, Aperol, Mezcal, Tio Peppe sherry, and citrus essence. Then again, if you’re drink of choice has a tendency towards the classics, the bar team can craft a mean Tom Collins or gin and tonic as well.
Killjoy is the first restaurant in Yaletown to use Vancouver Urban Winery’s wine-on-tap program. Similar to having beer on tap, fresh tap wine consists of 19.5 litre barrels of red and white wines stored below the counter, which can be tapped for wines by the glass. Bar manager Matifat said that wine on tap “brings consistency to wines by the glass” as the wine in the barrels never get oxidized through a transfer of nitrogen. Killjoy’s bar offers eight B.C. red and white wines on tap in six ounce, nine ounce, and one litre increments starting $9. Customers can also order a flight of wines ($12) and sample three varieties.
The food menu includes B.C. cheese from the Okanagan, Qualicum Beach, and Salt Spring Island, and charcuteri from Granville Island’s Oyama Sausage Co., and abroad. Diners can choose from several different tasting plates (starting at $16), which are served with housemade condiments and locally baked bread. There are also six tapas-style dishes ($5 to $18), including foie gras pâté and lemon-glazed pork belly, as well as two desserts ($7): a chocolate hazelnut terrine and caramelized pineapple.
The restaurant, which took over BeautyMark’s old location, includes a main flour, where the bar and small open kitchen are located, and a basement hideaway complete with DJ booth and a secondary bar. Original artwork by Vancouver-based artist Craig Stanghetta covers many of the restaurant’s walls, including a deconstructed piano at the entrance and wolf head installations in the basement.
Killjoy Cocktail Tavern is open nightly from 4 p.m.