Vancouver’s bar scene ranges from high-end and glamorous, to alternative gathering spots for the alternative and the arts community, to micro-distilleries. Here are the 10 best bars in Vancouver, Canada.
The Keefer Bar‘s location in Chinatown gives it access to an array of locally sold, exotic herbs and spices, and they put these to excellent use in their own range of bitters, syrups and teas. Using glowing red accents, apothecary jars and test tubes as lighting and decoration, their menu offers a tantalizing selection of ‘Remedies and Cures’. These change according to what is available seasonally. The Keefer Bar is an absolute must for those wanting artisan cocktails bursting with seductive flavors. Their aptly named Opium Sour, including Bourbon, grapefruit and poppy seed, is a highlight.
Set in a dark, intimate basement, Guilt & Co is the perfect scene for those looking for a bar and live music venue. It has a friendly, alternative vibe. So, head down with old friends or with the intention of making new ones and listen to local musicians. Whiskey lovers should try their Holy Smoke cocktail, featuring Bulleit Bourbon, Laphroaig whiskey and black tea, for a combination just as sultry as their cabaret nights. Be sure to check their calendar website for a list of upcoming live acts.
The Diamond is one of Vancouver’s top-rated cocktail bars. The interior is watched over by an appropriately glittering chandelier in the center of the room, enclosed by industrial red-brick walls. Drinks are served in crystal glasses. Despite the elegance, the bar comes complete with a friendly, casual, neighborhood atmosphere. Located in the Gastown district, this place has drinks ranging from the ‘delicate’ to the ‘notorious’ to cocktail classics. Starting a night out with their Buck Buck Mule, made with London dry gin and Fino sherry, is highly recommended.
One of the city’s favorite gastro pubs, Six Acres features a list of local brews, an impressive menu and tons of laid-back regulars. It has a mezzanine section overlooking the restaurant inside and patio dining for warm summer days, all situated in Vancouver’s oldest brick building, the Alhambra. Order some of their delicious traditional poutine or veggie sliders. Then, sample a couple of their exclusively Canadian draft beers, all next to the statue of Gastown’s notorious founder and bar owner, Gassy Jack.
Self-described ‘modern tavern’, Alibi Room offers a relaxed, traditional bar atmosphere. It has been serving exclusive brews at their Gastown location since 2006. The constantly rotating taps are a real draw for beer-lovers, or those looking to learn more about micro-brews and craft beer. Try one of their sampler beer flights while sat at one of the Alibi Room’s communal tables. Bonding with a few new local friends over one of the most distinctive beer selections in the city.
The Narrow Lounge, Vancouver | Photo Courtesy The Cascade Room
The trick to finding this secret cocktail spot is to watch out for a little red light while wandering down Vancouver’s Main Street. Enter through a graffiti-covered passageway into an eclectic, dark lounge bursting with patrons and people ‘in-the-know’ about this hidden hot-spot. As the name implies, the bar is quite a small space. It’s darkened by its basement location, however, summers at the Narrow Lounge bring a colorful, tropical tiki patio best enjoyed with a cosmopolitan.
The Cascade Room, Vancouver | Photo Courtesy The Long Table Distillery
Situated in Vancouver’s popular Mt Pleasant area, The Cascade Room is a local favorite with a fantastic cocktail selection. The menu ranges from ‘Old School Classics’ to staples of the American Deep South to their impressive wine and beer selection. Join them for wings on a Wednesday, a full roast Sunday dinner, or just a casual after-work drink in a welcoming, warm bar. They’ll also serve up a cocktail suited for every taste and occasion.
Though primarily functioning as a micro-distillery tour, Long Table Distillery also offers a cocktail bar where drinks are served with their own range of sophisticated liquors. Join them for a tour or eat food from their weekly-changing food trucks. See what they can do with their handcrafted range of gins, vodkas and seasonal spirits at their tasting lounge on Wednesday, Saturday cocktail hours or gin and tonic Fridays. Fans of Long Table Distillery also can hire out their tasting room for private events.
Offering stunning views of Vancouver Harbor, LIFT Bar is one of Vancouver’s sleekest and most relaxing spots for a glass of wine. With an elegant glass interior and a rooftop deck with phenomenal views of the city, mountains and docks, LIFT provides an impressive setting for their menu. As well as cocktails, this is a great spot for an impressive dinner, lunch, brunch or dessert. There is plenty of fresh seafood dominating the menu. This is a venue that fits perfectly with those looking for a romantic spot inspired by British Columbia’s beautiful outdoors.
The oldest bar on West Broadway, The Fringe Cafe‘s bohemian, European spirit is exuded in their open mic music and poetry nights. Decorated with flyers and posters advertising for local arts events, this bar and cafe caters to individuals looking for Vancouver’s creative scene and for like-minded locals. Sit back with a Canadian beer and feel at home in this laid-back space. Enjoy the relaxed, unpretentious art community vibe that Fringe has consistently offered since its foundation in 1990.