The 10 Best Bars in Vancouver, Canada

Settle down for a beverage or three at one of Vancouver’s excellent watering holes
Settle down for a beverage or three at one of Vancouver’s excellent watering holes | © Brent Hofacker / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Alexandra Trout
21 September 2020

Vancouver’s bar scene includes everything from high-end and glamorous spots to unique gathering places for the arts community to micro-distilleries. Here are the 10 best bars in this vibrant Canadian city.

The Keefer Bar

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Cocktails, $$$
Map View
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Courtesy of The Keefer Bar
The Keefer Bar’s location in Chinatown gives it access to an array of exotic herbs and spices, the bar certainly puts them to good use in its range of bitters, syrups and teas. With glowing red accents, apothecary jars and test tubes as lighting and decoration, the bar offers a tantalizing, seasonal selection of “Remedies and Cures.” The Keefer Bar is a must-visit for those wanting artisan cocktails bursting with seductive flavors. Its aptly named Opium Sour (bourbon, grapefruit, lemon, tamarind and poppyseed) is a highlight.

Guilt and Co.

Cocktail Bar, Cocktails, $$$
Map View

Guilt and Co., set in a dark, intimate basement, is the perfect scene for those looking for a bar and a live-music venue. It has a friendly, alternative vibe, so head down with old friends or make new ones and listen to local musicians. Try its Valerie cocktail for a combination just as sultry as its cabaret nights. Be sure to check the bar’s online calendar for a list of upcoming live acts.

The Diamond

Cocktail Bar, Cocktails, $$$
Map View

The Diamond is one of Vancouver’s top-rated cocktail bars, with an appropriately glittering chandelier in the center of the room and industrial, red-brick walls. In this Gastown district spot, drinks come in crystal glasses, and despite the elegance, it has a friendly, casual, neighborhood atmosphere. Starting a night out with its Buck Buck mule (gin, fino sherry, lime, cucumber and ginger beer) is highly recommended.

The Cascade Room

Bar, Cocktail Bar, American, $$$
Map View
Courtesy of The Cascade Room 
In Vancouver’s popular Mount Pleasant area, the Cascade Room is a local favorite with a fantastic cocktail selection. The menu features old-school classics, staples of the American Deep South and an impressive wine and beer selection. This welcoming bar also has an eclectic food menu, with everything from chicken wings and poutine to tikka masala.

Six Acres

Bar, Pub, Restaurant, Pub Grub, $$$
Map View
Among the city’s favorite gastropubs, Six Acres features a list of local brews, an impressive menu and laid-back regulars. It has a mezzanine section overlooking the interior and patio dining for warm summer days, all situated in Vancouver’s oldest brick building, the Alhambra. Order some of its delicious poutine or veggie sliders. Afterward, sample a couple of its exclusively Canadian draft beers, all next to the statue of Gastown’s notorious founder and bar owner, Gassy Jack.

Alibi Room

Bar, Restaurant, Pub Grub, $$$
Map View
A self-described “modern tavern,” Alibi Room offers a relaxed, traditional bar atmosphere, serving exclusive brews at its Gastown location since 2006. The continually rotating taps are a real draw for beer lovers or those looking to learn more about micro-brews and craft beer. Try one of its sampler beer flights while sitting at one of the communal tables. Here, you can bond with a few new local friends over one of the most distinctive beer selections in the city.

The Narrow Lounge

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Cocktails, $$$
Map View
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 people in the know about this hidden hotspot. As its name implies, the bar is a small space, darkened by its basement location. However, summers at the Narrow Lounge bring a colorful, tropical tiki patio best enjoyed with a cosmopolitan.

Long Table Distillery

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Cocktails
Map View
Courtesy of Long Table Distillery
A micro-distillery offering tours, Long Table Distillery has a cocktail bar too, creating concoctions with its range of sophisticated liquors; it even hosts food trucks each week. See what its crew can do with the distillery’s handcrafted range of gins, vodkas and seasonal spirits. Fans of Long Table Distillery can also rent out the tasting room for private events.

Lift

Bar, Restaurant, American, $$$
Map View
Offering stunning views of the harbor, Lift 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, it provides an impressive setting for cocktails and brunch, lunch, dinner or dessert, with fresh seafood dominating the food menu. This venue is perfect for those looking for a romantic spot inspired by British Columbia’s beautiful outdoors.

The Fringe Cafe

Bar, Wine
Map View

The Fringe Cafe is the oldest bar on West Broadway, and its bohemian, European spirit is exuded in its open-mic music and poetry nights. Adorned with flyers and posters advertising local art events, this bar-cafe caters to individuals looking for Vancouver’s creative scene and like-minded locals. Sit back with a Canadian beer while enjoying the relaxed, unpretentious art-community vibe that Fringe has consistently offered since its foundation in 1990.

These recommendations were updated on September 21, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.