The Best Cocktail Bars in Vancouver

Are you on the lookout for the most poppin’ Cocktail Bars in Vancouver?

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On this page, you’ll find the official shortlist of the best Cocktail Bars in Vancouver. (More in-depth further below)

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Vancouver was at the vanguard of the cocktail revolution more than any other Canadian city, and many of the city’s establishments have been pushing the mixology edge for decades. When it comes to alcohol control, though, Vancouver is far from the Wild West. The legacy of British Columbia’s brief flirtation with Prohibition in the early twentieth century was a set of severe liquor license requirements that, although far from what they previously demanded, are hardly European.

The Keefer Bar

The Keefer Bar is an easygoing bar with a patio & mini-golf spotlighting classic & creative cocktails, plus Asian plates. The Keefer Bar is an Apothecary themed cocktail bar located in the heart of Chinatown, Vancouver. The bar has been noticed as #25 in North America’s Best Bars, offering over 25 unique cocktails in a dark, moody atmosphere to enrich guests’ experience. Keefer Bar, located in historic Chinatown, serves an extensive list of award-winning cocktails inspired by ancient remedies served in the neighborhood’s surrounding apothecaries. Never mind Vancouver bars; this was recently ranked the second-best bar in Canada, and it’s a must-visit for cocktail enthusiasts of all ages. I always order an Aperol spritz or an old-fashioned one, but why not try one of their unique seasonal prescriptions’? 

The herb-infused remedies on their apothecary-themed menu will cure whatever ails you, including hangovers. If Keefer was included, they could easily be one of the best restaurants in Vancouver for their Asian-inspired small plates made with fresh ingredients from local markets. Consider the Peking duck sliders and the crispy Shanghai pork belly. With an affordable happy hour, it’s easy to see why this Chinatown hangout is one of the most highly regarded bars in North America. The Keefer Bar, along with Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie, was one of the first outposts to revitalize this once-dreary Chinatown street. The dark space comes alive in the late evening, when hipsters crowd the bar, migrate to the back (just past a sign that says “Rubber Goods: Sick Room Supplies”), or choose a spot on the outside patio. 

There are two types of people who end up at the Keefer: those who enjoy the tense atmosphere, live music, and medicinally themed cocktails, and those who enjoy the edgy ambiance, live music, and medicinally themed cocktails—but have already put their names on the waitlist at Bao Bei, a few doors down. The Keefer takes on an apothecary theme, riffing on the area’s historic Chinese pharmacies (many of which are still in operation). The “List of Remedies and Cures” drink menu includes strawberry and rhubarb tea, glehnia root, and tinctures made from cardamon, magnolia bark, and red ginseng. The Keefer is equally serious about food, and some of the small plates would put Bao Bei to shame. The BLT Bao (pork belly with oven-cured tomato and Napa slaw) and the pulled pork and Peking duck tacos are winners. The place is bustling on weekends, but the staff is never stressed.

The Morrisey

Friday night at the Morrisey, Vancouver

The Morrisey has chandeliers & old-world decor adorn this bar, serving craft beers & pub food that hosts rock bands. It is an institution that has stood the test of time in downtown Vancouver. Old world charm packed with character. Experienced top bartenders and traditional pub fare. If you’ve tired out looking for downtown Vancouver bars along the Granville Strip only to get half-pints, weak whiskies, and watered-down cocktails, here’s the remedy. This self-anointed rock n roll hideaway is one of the few remaining spots in the entertainment district with fantastic specials (Industry Night on Monday is huge) and an unpretentious vibe. The music at the Morrisey is typical of the post-punk, gothic, and alternative variety, and there’s a dark, eclectic decor to match. 

Modern pub food and some of the best wings in Vancouver round it out. Rock legends Imagine Dragons, Pixies, and even Dave Grohl have stopped for drinks, so why not you? Do yourself a favor. The next time you find yourself on Granville Street—and the night is young, and you’ve got a serious thirst to quench—don’t settle. Stride determinedly past the grimy dive bars, the familiar five-dollar-a-meal haunts, and the music-blaring lounges that make even the essential task of communicating with the bartender an ordeal and move just beyond Davie Street. Here, you’ll find the Morrissey pub, an Irish-style oasis that could easily have belonged on a cabin edition of MTV Cribs. Warm up to the dark-stained wood bar and contemplate the shining taps of craft and imported beer. 

Wait or sink into a plush, velvet armchair in front of the working gas fireplace before knocking back a Biskvit Mule or another one of the pub’s inventive house cocktails. Biskvit Mule is a refreshing twist on the classic Moscow that uses vanilla vodka, fresh mint, and grapefruit bitters. And if your group grows, rejoice; you officially have an excuse to take up a long dining table, where you can continue your night under a dazzling set of chandeliers. Since 1999 A Rock’  N’ Roll Hideaway, The Morrissey has played host to many stars of the old and new guard of rock. Kings of Leon, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Raveonettes, and the Killers have all said hello. Vancouver’s faces of rock perform live and occasionally tear the roof off. Honest food. Honest service. So, The Morrissey is one of the best bars you will find in Vancouver. We highly recommend this bar!

The Narrow Lounge

a chandelier-lit bar at the narrow lounge in vancouver bc

The Narrow Lounge is a hip, dimly lit lounge pairing cocktails with elevated bar eats like flatbreads, tacos & sandwiches. Canadians were lucky never to endure an alcohol ban, but this prohibition-style bar under a mattress store on trendy Main Street looks at what it might have looked like. The retro cocktails pour a classiness that wrestles with the Narrow Lounge’s dive bar disposition – highlighted by its lonely red ‘open’ light barely visible from the shady bus stop outside. This is a dark and cozy place to have a stiff drink that won’t run you a fortune, though in Vancouver, in summer, the outdoor patio flourishes in the sun with yummy summertime drinks and delicious Mexican fast food. The intimate setting is ideal for sharing a plate of nachos or a stiff drink with your neighbor. 

The best bartenders in town serve inventive house cocktails, wine, and affordable Mexican-inspired fast food. Dancing on the bar is standard procedure as the lights dim and the scotch flows. Dare to be as wild as you dare. Their drinks menu features timeless classic cocktails like the Negroni and Aperol Spritz, mingling with inspired house originals. They have covered you for a beer with old reliables, local favorites, and seasonal rotating taps. And of course, wine wine wine! Guaranteed there’s something for everyone! Their restaurant is dark and mysterious, but their patio is bright and crazy! Hang at one of East Vancouver’s kept secrets. Their covered patio is open on warm summer days, and they serve beer, highballs, and other tasty summertime drinks. It has its bar and was recently expanded to accommodate more guests. 

Their food is so delicious that it has its moniker: Taco Bing Bong! This isn’t your grandmother’s cooking; it’s cheesy, crunchy, and super cheap Mexican-inspired fast food with an East Van twist! Their menu includes massive combos that are great for sharing or solo feasts, plus small bites for snacks. Look for the door with the red light above. Head inside and make your way down the dimly lit, long hallway and grab a stool at the bar. As the name suggests, the space is narrow and not huge, so that it can fill up pretty quickly. There’s nothing fancy about The Narrow Lounge, and that’s what makes this hole-in-the-wall bar so great. This place does the trick when you are in the mood for a cold beer, a casual bite, and some solid tunes while you catch up with friends.

The Alibi Room

Beer at the Alibi Room, Vancouver

The Alibi Room is a heritage building with 50 taps of local & imported craft beers, plus a menu of locally sourced food. After a long day of seeing Vancouver’s top attractions, sometimes all you want is a chill spot to grab a couple of pints and some delicious food. The much-lauded Alibi Room, located in a century-old heritage building on the outskirts of trendy Gastown, is a self-proclaimed modern tavern with one of the best craft beer selections in British Columbia. The Alibi Room also features an impressive wine list with local boutique and organic wines. Pair your drink with a shared plate, such as the meze or charcuterie platter, or one of the numerous comforting entrees on their fresh sheet. It’s all locally sourced, organic, ocean-wise, or free range. 

Their specialties include 50 taps of local & imported craft beer, free-run, ocean-friendly, naturally raised, and boutique wine & creative cocktails. The Alibi Room strives to be a “Modern Tavern”. Since the summer of 2006, owners Raya Audet and Nigel Springthorpe have quietly transformed the Alibi Room into a destination for local craft beer on tap. They’ve evolved into an authentic Free House, serving guest beers from the lower mainland, the province, and beyond. Head chef Greg Armstrong has added a subtle sophistication to their approachable menu. The menu reflects a strong desire to offer familiar, comforting dishes made with high-quality ingredients. All their meat, fish & poultry are sourced locally, ocean-friendly, naturally raised, and free-run. They believe that beer is as versatile as wine regarding food pairing. 

They carefully curate their beer list & refresh it a couple of times per week, ensuring they have a selection of the latest & greatest from the best local beer. Occasionally they pour a selection from U.S. microbreweries. They have put together one of the most diverse selections in the province & encourage you to come to try the best beer B.C. has to offer. However, they are not total beer snobs. Their wine list features local boutique & organically grown wines. They also have an exciting house cocktail menu. The building is a heritage site built more than a century ago. It is located along the railyard, not far from Vancouver’s trade and shipping ports. All of these elements work together to create a one-of-a-kind and inspiring experience. The Alibi has established itself as a gathering place for neighbors and the community to enjoy great food, beer, and culture.

Back and Forth Bar

the outside of vancouver ping pong bar back and forth

The Back and Forth bar has cocktails, craft draft beer & snacks offered in a hip, upbeat space with Ping-Pong tables & games. The Back And Forth Bar features six ping pong tables for recreational and competitive players, board games (Cards of Humanity, Jenga, Checkers, What the Meme), a Nintendo Classic TV, beer and wine on tap, a small selection of spirits, snacks, and friendly staff who want to make you feel at home in comfortable surroundings. Gastown’s ongoing gentrification distinguishes it among Vancouver’s top neighborhoods, and one unintended consequence is that a cheap pint is challenging to find. This bar is one of the last remaining neighborhood hangouts that serves cheap drinks. Most of their draught pints are $5.75, but you can get them for $4.00 during happy hour. 

This is the ideal warm-up spot for a Saturday night out, as happy hour runs from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm. It’s also one of the few Vancouver bars where you can play ping pong with your friends – the six tables here are always a great place to socialize. The best budget bar for students. As far as we know, this is Vancouver’s only ping pong bar. There are bars with a ping pong table or two, but as the name suggests, this is a bar where the back-and-forth game of ping pong takes center stage in a fun and playful gaming and socializing environment. This is ping pong in a bar; there’s a little more space around the table than your average east Van basement, but expect an errant shot into someone’s drink on occasion. 

There will almost certainly be applause and laughter. You should look forward to lighting up the place soon with some big-game table tennis. The Back And Forth Bar has six ping pong tables for serious and recreational players. The tables all appear to mix the Tiger Ping Pong “Whistler” model, with at least one Stiga table. Both brands produce great tables with a lively bounce. After a long walk around Jeffrey Boone Gallery, come to this bar and have a rest here. Enjoy the excellent pizza that is served at Back and Forth Bar. You may order tasty flija. Visit this place for delicious draft beer, wine, or craft beer. This spot is well known for its excellent service and friendly staff always ready to help you. Here you will pay average prices.

The Shameful Tiki Room

The Shameful Tiki Room in Vancouver is a lively haunt with a tropical vibe offering Polynesian-inspired food, exotic cocktails & live music. Playful, tacky, and beautiful, the Tiki Room is a local haunt offering Polynesian eats like tuna poke, prawn cocktails, and pork tacos, as well as a wide variety of rum-based tropical drinks. One of the best aspects of this spot is the live entertainment. From music to comedy to burlesque, there’s guaranteed a different act every night of the week. The Shameful Tiki Room is dedicated to providing a tiki experience unlike any other in Vancouver. Dim lighting, no visible windows, music that doesn’t drown out conversation, share plates for groups, and expertly crafted vintage exotic cocktails like the Zombie, Jet Pilot, and Mai Tai. 

Tapas cloth from Tonga and Fiji, one-of-a-kind Tiki carvings from unique Californian carvers, puffer fish lamps from around the world, and even a recaptured piece of artwork from Vancouver’s historic Waldorf hotel. The Shameful Tiki Room is an authentic 1960s-style tiki lounge. From the period swizzle sticks and drinks—the Blue Hawaiian, for example, pays homage to the 1957 original from Harry Yee, the dean of Hawaiian tiki-era bartenders—to the hula dancers and blacked-out windows, they’re serious about tiki here. Even if the sun shines outside, it’s always midnight in Polynesia here in the Shameful Tiki Room. Some people have come because they’ve never been to an authentic tiki bar. Others, on the other hand, are serious about tropical cocktails. 

Although there are a few lone stragglers, the majority of the attendees are couples or foursomes. Tiki drinks are strong in both quality and alcohol content. Of course, the rum-based Zombie and the Trader Vic’s Tiki Puka Puka are on the menu, as are originals like Day of the Dead. But what’s the real show-stopper? The Volcano Bowl is a four-person concoction complete with a blue flame shooting out from the center (and thunderclaps announcing the arrival of the sacred libation at your table). The food is a little disappointing, but the Pupu platter (ribs, pulled pork sliders, mango and coconut rice, and dumplings) is thematically appropriate. The party atmosphere is contagious, and the staff does an excellent job of maintaining it. If you’ve never been to a tiki bar, you should go. Go if you’ve never been to a tiki bar. So, The Shameful Tiki Room is one of the best bars in Vancouver for you.

Guilt and Company

Live music at Guilt and Company, Vancouver

Guilt and Company is a dark, intimate space for cocktails, nibbles & a stage for live performances. Guilt & Company is Gastown’s premiere live music venue, showcasing nightly performances by the best and brightest entertainers from Vancouver, Canada, and Beyond! Guilt & Company is located on Alexander Street, directly across from Maple Tree Square in Gastown. Look for the sandwich-board signage, descend the stairs into a dark, underground bar, take a seat at one of the tables, and prepare to indulge in angelic or devilish behavior to the accompaniment of live music. The impact of skyrocketing commercial rents on Vancouver’s entertainment scene has been felt; the number of spaces large enough to regularly host live bands is dwindling. Guilt, on the other hand, is a consistent refuge for live-music fans. 

Bands are occasionally local, with genre (and clientele) varying from night to night, and a typical week could include anything from a David Sanborn tribute to soul, swing, funk, and blues. Guilt has an excellent “pay what you can” policy instead of imposing a cover charge. There are about a dozen house drinks, each of which is named after a different song or band; the Femme Fatale, for example, contains Bulleit rye, yellow chartreuse, house-made Velvet falernum (a tropical drink ingredient), cardamon, lime zest, and an absinthe spritz. The food selection is limited to charcuterie, antipasti, and cheese boards. We got the impression that the cheerful, cordial employees are delighted to be working somewhere with live music. They’re excited to talk about everything, from the drinks to the performers. 

There aren’t many places that offer good live music in a cavernous room that’s casual and cool. Do you believe that live music is a dying art? Not if this Gastown haunt has anything to do with it! Guilt and Co. feature nightly sets from the region’s best local performers, including an eclectic mix of jazz, swing, soul, reggae, and Latin. There’s an extensive list of inventive cocktails, craft beers, and international wines. As if that wasn’t enough, they also offer a limited but tasty shareable food menu featuring fine meats and artisan cheese platters. There are numerous great bars and live music venues in Vancouver. Guilt & Co., on the other hand, is one of our favorites. The venue is in a great location, has excellent bands, and rarely has a cover charge. Most nights, admission is simply by donation (with proceeds usually benefiting the band).

Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar

coffee-inspired cocktail at uva wine bar vancouver

Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar is a bright breakfast & lunch spot that transforms into a swanky lounge with handcrafted cocktails by night. UVA is a modern-style Italian wine bar and cocktail lounge attached to Moda, a boutique hotel. The small size makes it ideal for catching up with a friend or two, a date night, or sitting at the bar alone. Uva not only has a great selection of wine and cocktails, but the food is also delicious. Dinner consists of antipasti, cured meats, pasta, and other small and larger plates. Happy hour is available daily from 2 pm to 5 pm if you’re looking for an after-work drink. Check their website for additional specials and live music. Uva is located on Seymour Street, near the intersection with Smithe Street, in the heart of downtown Vancouver. 

By day this very stylish Vancouver bar is an Italian cafe serving craft coffee, baked goods, and to-die-for paninis that are priced like Subway – even if they’ve got the taste of a Trastevere bakery. At night though, Uva gets dressed up as one of Vancouver’s top wine bars, serving fine charcuterie and cheese platters as well as seasonal cocktails in their swanky, cosmopolitan lounge. I love grabbing a flight of Italian wines or hitting them up for their aperitivo hour from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm – there are three cocktails and five wines (try the fruity, polished Sasyr from Tuscany) at neighborhood pub prices. Do hit their bartenders with a flavor profile – they’ve got some of the best mixologists in the city. They have enticing cocktails, refined wines, and eclectic imported beers. Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar is downtown Vancouver’s enclave for wine and spirit connoisseurs seeking a sanctuary that pleases both the eye and the palate. 

Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar vibe yet relaxed atmosphere features the finest charcuterie, artisan cheeses, hard-to-find wine selections, and handcrafted cocktails. Uva Cafe & Bar Uva is an authentic European-inspired caffé bar by day, serving traditional Italian flavors with a modern twist. A simple yet flavorful menu of well-crafted coffees, daily fresh juices, baked goods, and small plates is served. Begin your day right because life is what happens between coffee and wine. UVA has gained the attention of Vancouverites and industry professionals as one of the city’s top wine and cocktail bars since opening its doors in the heart of downtown Vancouver’s cultural and entertainment district.

The Diamond

Cocktails at the Emerald, Vancouver

The Diamond is a bustling craft cocktail lounge with old-world charm overlooking Maple Tree Square. In a century-old brick building overlooking Maple Tree Square, The Diamond is an unpretentious cocktail lounge that manages to churn out top-quality stuff regardless of its price point. It recently reached number 17 on the list of Canada’s best bars. Their booze list is conveniently separated into cocktail categories reflecting your intentions and mood: boozy, refreshing, delicate, and overlooked. Whether it’s a classic sazerac or old-fashioned, or any unique creations like tiger breath (hibiscus, cachaça, lime, pineapple, and jalapeño honey), you’re good, tipsy hands. Add a creative, Mediterranean-inspired supper menu (48-hour short rib and a serrano ham quince bread, please!), and you won’t leave anytime soon. 

The Diamond has been one of Gastown’s favorite cocktail lounges since it opened in 2009. The second-floor bar and restaurant are small, dark, and full of character: exposed brick walls, elaborate chandeliers, chairs straight out of a Stickley catalog—all a subtle nod to the Gilded Age, when Vancouver, too, began to come into its own. The Diamond attracts a well-informed crowd of regulars, some of whom are rotating DJs (Sunday through Thursday nights). It is a lot of fun, even if it gets loud. What’s on the menu for drinks? Most drinks are house-made, but in keeping with the turn-of-the-last-century vibe, a few cocktails are straight out of history books, such as the Chrysanthemum and Royal Smile, created in 1916 and 1948, respectively. There are four categories on the list: “Boozy,” “Delicate,” “Refreshing,” and “Overlooked.” 

Recipes from New York, London, and The Diamond itself are included in the latter. What about the menu? Both the braised chicken with porcini mushrooms and the 48-hour short ribs are highly recommended. A variety of flatbread starters (including smoked salmon, chorizo, and cheese) and roasted squash with burrata are also perfect—and very reasonably priced. How’s the service? The bartenders love what they do; their passion and talent are evident when you say, “Make me an Old Fashioned.” What would it be if you could conjure the ideal occasion to pay The Diamond a visit? This is an excellent place for a first date—the atmosphere, the drinks, the romantic, historic Gastown views from your window-side table. You could fall in love. (With the drinks, at least.) So, The Diamond is one of the best bars in Vancouver. If you are in the city, we recommend that you visit this bar at least once.

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There was a time, not so long ago, when you had to order food if you wanted a drink. As a result, many Vancouver lounges may also be wonderful places to eat, and the local distinction between “bar” and “restaurant” can be hazy (pun intended). Check above our selections for the top cocktail bars in Vancouver. Go thirsty and hungry if you want—there are plenty of alternatives in Canada’s third biggest metropolis.

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