Wine Culture Magazine

Somm of the Year Peter Van De Reep is pouring natural wines alongside savoury snacks at the new Gobo. Supplied photo

Vancouver is famously a wine-loving city, but look around and you’ll see something missing.

Montreal, Paris, Barcelona—other cities have dozens of cosy little boîtes that serve exciting wines by the glass and snacks to go with, a style of socializing that you’d think fits perfectly with a West Coast lifestyle. But where are Vancouver’s wine bars?

The problem is—as it so often is in B.C.—with licensing, but also with a somewhat literal understanding of names. Under the province’s dozen different types of liquor licences, bars have liquor-primary licences and restaurants have food-primary ones and, apparently, never the twain shall meet. Call your wine-and-food-serving establishment a “bar,” and you can expect a visit from the inspectors, quick-smart.

All of which is a long way of getting around to Bar Gobo, or as it’s officially known, – Gobo.

It’s the funky (and tiny) new not-a-wine bar from Andrea Carlson, chef-proprietor of Burdock & Co. and Harvest Community Foods. Located on Union Street in the old Parker spot, it quietly opened in August as a place to enjoy a well-edited selection of dynamic natural wines, terrific dishes to go with (the crisp and buttery anchovy “toast” will satisfy all your deepest umami cravings), and the knowledgeable hospitality of Peter Van De Reep, B.C.’s Sommelier of the Year.

Go. Just don’t call it a wine bar.

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