Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Feb. 8, 2023

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Wine bar VX74 brings jazzy mix of food, drinks, art, events to downtown Vancouver

Owner's previous establishment was VX Vinos at Felida Village

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Artist Rodrigo Zevallos, who goes by his artist name Vol.X, has opened VX74 Vinos on East Evergreen Boulevard in downtown Vancouver.
Artist Rodrigo Zevallos, who goes by his artist name Vol.X, has opened VX74 Vinos on East Evergreen Boulevard in downtown Vancouver. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Food, drink and art all stem from the same creative vein for VX74’s owner, Rodrigo Zevallos.

Zevallos previously owned VX Vinos at Felida Village but has moved his eclectic vision to downtown Vancouver in the space formerly occupied by Koi Pond Cellars at 212 E. Evergreen Blvd.

Zevallos prefers to be known by his artist name, Vol.X. VX74 combines this pseudonym with his birth year: 1974.

VX Vinos wine bar and art space drew a loyal crowd, but the absence of a kitchen blocked Zevallos from being able to fully express his ambitions. The new space in downtown Vancouver will serve his favorite dishes, including paella, aguachiles (shrimp tossed with chiles and lime juice) and tortas.

Zevallos was hoping to open a few weeks ago but is waiting for final approval from the Clark County Department of Public Health.

The owner’s paintings at VX74 have the street art energy of Jean-Michel Basquiat combined with the organized chaos of Robert Rauschenberg. Zevallos said art healed his soul during a difficult divorce. A friend, who knew he was struggling, brought supplies to him. Unsure what to do, he threw a glass of wine onto the canvas, where it sat for several days. This moment was a breakthrough that led to a series of paintings that adorn the walls of his business.

More examples can be found on his Instagram account. “My art took me to great and beautiful places that I’d never imagined,” said Zevallos.

The menu at VX74 represents an improvisation and mixing of things that appeal to Zevallos. These dishes tell the story of his life. He was born in Spain but has lived in Mexico, Argentina and San Antonio, Texas. Dishes veer from Mexican classics like aguachiles, enchiladas de mole, tortas and tacos to Spanish delicacies such as ceviche and paella, with other items like pork gyoza and caesar salad. The brunch menu features tortas with chilaquiles.

Specialty cocktails including Sweet Child of Mine, a Guns N’ Roses-inspired basil lemon drop with crushed basil and limoncello, as well as shots of house-made infused vodka with flavors like watermelon Serrano chile or spicy tamarind fill the drink menu. Margaritas include spicy strawberry, mango and mescal varieties. Flights of tequila, margaritas, mescal and whiskey are also available for those indecisive about their spirits.

Events spread out from midweek to the weekend, starting with paint night on Wednesday and jazz night on Thursday. The weekend strikes with Friday night salsa featuring Maksimum Linchuk and Saturday night with Chilean DJ YEYO. Brunch and jazz on Sunday wind down the weekend on a mellow note.

The business’s seemingly chaotic mixture of eclectic bites, kicky drinks and late-night celebration has an organizing principle, Zevallos’ four rules: Stop explaining to people; every day is Friday; es show es show; and I’m a priority, not an option.

He has a special fondness for rule No. 2: Every day is Friday.

VX74 will be closed on Mondays. Hours for the rest of the week will be something like 11 a.m. to midnight Tuesdays through Thursdays, and 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Fridays. On Saturdays and Sundays, brunch runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., then VX74 reopens from 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Information about an opening date, hours of operation and upcoming events can soon be found on Instagram.

“This is the place to come and hang out,” said Zevallos. “I want it to be like a family, and I want to bring good vibes to the downtown.”