Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House celebrates 35 years just off Vancouver's Robson Street

This milestone calls for a cocktail, and the restaurant is launching a new Happy Hour menu to celebrate

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      1985 was the year of Live Aid, The Color Purple, the introduction of CDs, and, closer to home, the opening of Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House (777 Thurlow Street).

      Seraphim "Joe" Fortes, 1910.
      J. White Studio/Vancouver Vancouver Public Library Special Collections.

      For anyone born in the decade of Madonna’s “Crazy for You” and Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing” and/or who might not be aware of the restaurant’s namesake, Seraphim “Joe” Fortes was a beloved Vancouverite believed to have been born in Port-of Spain, Trinidad. A shipman, he had a cottage near Stanley Park and worked as a bartender and porter before becoming the city’s first official lifeguard in 1900. He's credited for saving at least 29 people from drowning.

      The two-level restaurant, with its horseshoe oyster bar and rooftop patio, will be celebrating its 35th anniversary all year long.

      On Monday (March 2), it's launching a new Happy Hour menu, which features fan favourites such as mini shrimp and lobster rolls and freshly shucked oysters. Then there's the Happy Hour version of the iconic Joe’s Seafood Tower on Ice. Priced at $36.95 per tier, it includes Ocean Wise seafood like local oysters, marinated mussels and clams, prawns, albacore tuna crudo, scallop ceviche, and ahi tuna poke. 

      The Joe Fortes Happy Hour menu will be available in the bar/lounge from 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays and from 4 to 6 p.m. on weekends, as well as nightly from 9 p.m. onward. 

      Cocktails are another way to mark the anniversary. Try the new Sticks and Stones, created by Mark “Elvis” Paulhus and Gord Bury.

      Happy birthday, Joe Fortes.

      Joe Fortes’ Sticks and Stones

      1 ½ oz apricot-infused brandy
      ½ oz Sons of Vancouver Amaretto
      ½ oz honey syrup
      1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
      ½ oz egg whites (or aquafaba for a vegan foaming option)

      To make the apricot-infused brandy, pack a large mason jar (or something similar) with dried apricots. Fill with a brandy of your choice. Let it macerate for a week or more. Strain out apricots and it’s ready to go.

      To make the honey syrup, stir one cup of honey into ½ cup to ¾ cup of boiling water. Let cool.

      Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain and shake again without ice to makes it nice and frothy. Pour into Nick & Nora glass or cocktail coupe.