Bergman Design House, the luxury design studio co-founded by dynamic husband-and-wife duo Albin Berglund and Marie Soliman, will soon unveil its latest Vancouver speakeasy project, Bagheera, opening on 10th January 2023.
Drawing on the cultural crossroads of co-owners Lewis Hart and Brij Rathi, both of whom have extensive roots in India, Bagheera will pay homage to the adventurous spirit of the Indian subcontinent at the turn of the 20th Century.
The opulent sipping spot sits in the heart of the city’s buzzing Chinatown and will serve experimental cocktails, light bites and sharing plates in a train cabin which strives to transport patrons back in time to the flâneur era. There, one is greeted with a sumptuous 60-seat main cocktail lounge in hues of gold, deep red, teal and imperial purple.
The experience begins the moment guests enter the Happy Valley Turf Club betting shop at 518 Main Street. As soon as they utter the magic password and place a wager on ‘King Louie’, they enter a vestibule papered with original postcards from late 1800s/early 1900s India, before voyaging into the speakeasy itself – a true ‘passage to India’.
Subcontinental cuisine by Phong Vo (Laowai) will boast a pakora menu with a variety of meat, seafood, vegetarian, and vegan fillings as well as a selection of sharing plates such as Carrot Daal, Saag Aloo Pave, Goan Tamarind Fish Curry, and Coconut Lamb Koftas.
The star of the show is the 42-foot bar clad in a hand-carved, reclaimed teak frontage with an illuminated bar top and a backsplash of polished tiger blue onyx. A bespoke, 45-foot, hand-painted jungle mural spans the entire north wall across from the bar, leading to the semi-private Drawing Room. Here, one can find real bohemian curios in bronze and brass, which reside in a softly lit “Cabinet of Curiosities” that also houses some of the bar’s harder-to-find whiskeys. Cheeky overpaints by internationally renowned “hacker” artist, Blase, playfully superimpose modern commercialism onto period Gothic canvases.
Marie Soliman explains, “The main space was inspired by the majestic train cars of the era and glitters with over 1,000 antique coins and bangles we sourced from the bazaars of Delhi and Jaipur, with the help of Delhi-based décor brand, Rosie Dahlia. The effect is quite spectacular.”