Famous as one of Commercial Drive’s longest-running restaurants, Fets Whisky Kitchen has announced that it will be closing at the end of this year. Vancouverites have until December 23 to stop in and celebrate the business that started out as a funky ’80s eatery on the west side of Commercial, and then went a little more upscale with one of the city’s finest whisky collections after a move across the street and up the block.
In a post on the Fets Whisky Kitchen website, co-owners Eric and Allura Fergie said that, after a ride that spanned five decades, it’s time to go out on a high note.
“This past Monday we called our staff together and presented them with our letter of resignation, our last dinner service at Fets Whisky Kitchen will be on Friday December 23 of this year,” the post states. “This last dinner service will mark over 36 years of continuous operation, well except for that little Covid thingy a couple years back. Our lease is up early next year, and we have decided not to renew. We feel it’s best to resign while we are on top of our game and will proudly work with our staff to make everyone’s final visits as memorable as their first. We are planning to host many whisky dinners prior to closing.”
The first incarnation of the business was known as Fettucini’s Café at 1179 Commercial Drive, and dated back to 1986. In 1996 Fergie and his partner Allura moved to 1230 Commercial, changing its name to Fets Bar & Grill.
A 2013 rebranding led to both a name change—Fets Whisky Kitchen—and a new focus, namely whiskies from around the globe, with many of them hard to find in Vancouver.
In 2018 Fets made headlines when B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch official raided the restaurant. Over 240 bottles of specialty single-cask whisky were seized, the charge being that they had been purchased through private liquor stores rather than through the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch—technically a violation of, let’s face it, our archaic provincial laws.
Government-run liquor stores didn’t carry or sell the specialty products to bars and restaurants, but the LDB does make them available for purchase by private liquor stores.
Over $40,000 in whisky was seized in what media outlets described as an Eliot Ness and his Untouchables act of heavy-handedness. The restaurant was also fined $3,000. The legal battle to get the whisky back stretched to this year.
But back to this week’s announcement, the Fergies describe the journey as mostly incredible on the Drive.
“It’s been a heck of a ride!,” says the post. “We have had the pleasure of working with many amazing people over the past 36 years. We have forged many great relationships over the years, and we will miss seeing everyone on a regular basis. Too many memories have been made here to count but we have cherished our time operating one of Vancouver’s longest continuously family owned and operated restaurants. We sincerely thank everyone for supporting our business over the past 36 years!”
That was followed with: “Hmm, what to do with one of the world’s largest whisky selections?”
You know the answer to that. Your table is waiting.