Hey fellas! Guess what? The Artful Desperado is premiering a brand new series in collaboration with two talented dear friends: Vancouver photographer Tomasz Wagner and his lovely accomplice Amy Tran. Together we’ll unearth the best kept secrets and treasures of a specific destination. Obviously we’ll start close to home and take it from there.
Our very first post features Revolver Cafe along with their new place next door, Archive. Both spots are a must-go for coffee lovers! Let’s hear from George Giannakos (pictured on top image), one of the men in charge of this family-owned gem in the heart of Gastown.
What occupied your days before Revolver and Archive?
Coffee! More coffee! Ever since my parents opened up a coffee shop called Crema in West Van (December 2006) I have been working in coffee. I worked there right up until we got the keys to the space that is now Revolver. If you want to go further back than that though, I was studying Languages at various colleges/universities for a bit, only to ultimately leave to work full-time at Crema not long after it opened.
What influenced your design decisions for Revolver and Archive?
Revolver’s design decisions were influenced by many places we’ve been to, seen or imagined. We worked with Craig Stanghetta of Ste. Marie Art Design who has done some gorgeous rooms in Vancouver and he did a great job of translating what we were saying and thinking into realization. There is certainly more than one aesthetic you could lop Revolver into, but one of the main themes is the idea of being ‘open/exposed/transparent’. And this is something that is persistent in our open bar and shelving, exposed electrical and plumbing, all the way through to every drink being served in glass.
What challenges have you faced as a business owner in Vancouver?
I can’t say there have been many challenges that I would attribute specifically to Vancouver internally. At least in Gastown and specifically on Cambie St., life is good! That being said, because we work with shops and roasters based out of the U.S. there is always the potential for extra shipping fees and customs/duties hassle. This would be a reality for any business that imports goods from another country though
What are your favourite places in Vancouver?
I have a long list of go-to places but some of the establishments that I keep finding myself back at around town would be the Pourhouse for imbibing, Moderne Burger for immortal burgers and fries, Shiro Sushi for humble Japanese sushi, Paperhound Bookshop for reads, and Paper-Ya on Granville Island to feed my stationary vice.
What is your most memorable travel experience?
After I finished my first year of college I went travelling for 6 weeks — 3.5 of which were spent in Greece, 2.5 which in Iran — and as you can probably imagine it was a pretty great time. I absorbed a lot at the time but would love to go back now for a second round so I can really see what’s going on, like a re-reading a book or re-viewing a film.
Any developments and/or projects you’re excited about right now re: Revolver, Archive, or otherwise?
On the coffee side of things we’ve set up accounts with some really great roasters based out of Europe that have world wide recognition and are quite rare to see on this side of the water — so we’re obviously excited to be able to offer those. We’ve also just started bringing in Field Notes in Archive and are looking to dip our toes a little deeper into ‘cafe lifestyle’ items (think stationary/pens/magazines, stuff like that.)
Thanks so much for chatting with us, George!
Photos: Tomasz Wagner