Baru Latino Vancouver bar
In search of the best neighbourhood drinking holes along Vancouver's West Broadway corridor, Andrew and Wayne discover Baru Latino's top shelf cocktails
This is one of those places we discovered by happy accident. The doors of the loser cruiser (or "bus" in the Queen's English) swung open and there it was, pretty much smack in front of us, like a shining beacon of alcoholic awesomeness.
2535 Alma St. (at Broadway)
Baru’s been open for just over a year, and although it’s technically a restaurant (a designation shared by tons of Vancouver pubs and bars, but more on that at a later date), this Latin/South American-inspired establishment’s got a great little bar area at the front, where you can plonk your ass down and get stuck into some of the best cocktails we’ve had in a long time.
Baru partners David and Rene (formerly the food and beverage manager at Subeez) are big into doing things right—drinks made from scratch with fresh ingredients and top quality hooch—two guys after our own livers.
West Broadway drinking holes
They’ve got a few local beers on tap if you want to ease into things: Whistler Black Tusk Ale & Weiss Beer and Red Truck Lager all just over a fiver—but you’re doing yourself a giant-ass disservice if you pass up on a mixed drink.
All the cocktails are $9, but besides being given the care and attention a Michelin-rated chef would give to his grub, they’re also all doubles—and that’s a lot of bang for your booze bucks.
Baru’s one of the few places in town we’ve had an authentic caipirinha (Brazil’s national drink): lemon and lime juice, cane sugar and the prerequisite Cachaca rum, not some white swill from a gun. If you’ve never had one, think whiskey sour crossed with a margarita. Just dynamite—taste and booze-wise.
Baru Latino on Vancouver's West Broadway (Image: Flickr / Miss Peach)
The featured special the night we were at Baru was a blackberry/raspberry mojito. Normally we’re not fond of variations on classic drinks, but Dios mio this was amazing. Besides the rum, it probably had more fresh fruit in it than we eat in a week. Who says you can’t get your quota of antioxidants via a highball glass?
But the cocktail cavalcade continues with margaritas and daiquiris (and you know they’re not going to be drawn out of a slushy machine), pisco sours, original mojitos, Bombay fizz, a "Baru Caesar" and other inspired mixes like:
- Champanito – champagne, lemon/lime juice, simple syrup
- Buena Vista – limon rum, mint, lemon/lime juice, simple syrup
- Guava Mojo – vodka, guava juice, cassis
Drinks aside, Baru's got a chilled out, sophisticated vibe but without any pretentious attitude, and the super-friendly David and Rene are usually there working the room (and mixing drinks) to make sure everyone’s good. We highly recommend you get down there and belly up to the bar.
But be smart. Take the bus like we did, 'cuz dem drinks are some powerful good stuff.