The restaurateur is no stranger to fighting the good fight against Vancouver’s “No Fun City” rep with her collection of always-playful bars and restaurants.
The Merrymaker: Rachel Zottenberg
Restaurateur, Rachel and David Inc., Vancouver
Whether she’s hiding a swinging-’70s speakeasy behind a faux accountant’s office, serving up picklebacks in a bar modelled after a retro basement or trading in a proper sign for a cool-kids-know red light, Rachel Zottenberg is no stranger to fighting the good fight against Vancouver’s “No Fun City” rep with her collection of always-playful bars and restaurants. Alongside her business partner, David Duprey, Zottenberg has steadily opened a string of charmingly eclectic spaces over the past decade that strike the perfect balance of thoughtfulness and chill.
There’s the Emerald Supper Club and Cocktail Lounge in Chinatown, of course, with its old-Vegas glamour and killer cocktails, and Mount Pleasant’s Uncle Abe’s, always buzzing thanks to its cozy sofas, rosé slushies and attached donair shop. But this year, with the resurrection of the Rumpus Room (the original was closed due to real estate development in 2016) and the opening of Vancouver’s cheekiest secret bar, Key Party, Zottenberg is truly at the top of her game.
And though we’re celebrating her work in the restaurant scene, she could easily be championed for her support of the arts, too: her company provides hundreds of studio spaces to artists, has just opened gallery-slash-events-venue Betamax Studios and sells everything from runes to animal skulls at the delightfully kooky This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven boutique. Turns out, Vancouverites are living in Fun City after all… and Zottenberg is the mayor.
WL: What’s your favourite unusual food and drink pairing?
RZ: Pickles, hot sauce and whiskey.
WL: Guilty pleasure snack?
RZ: This isn’t really guilty, but I love tomato soup and rye bread with sweet onion. I only really feel guilty when someone is there to witness how much raw onion I can eat and then has to hang out with me and my sexy breath.