Vancouver’s known for a lot of things like nature, yoga and more recently – cocktails. The nightlife sucks, we all know, but the lounge scene has become one of the best parts of the city and when it rains all winter, what else, really, is there to do? So if you’re looking for a cozy nook to throw back some cool and unique cocktails, this is your place. Check out our list for the best cocktail bars for winter in Vancouver:
The Vancouver Stock Exchange turned old-timey cocktail bar. The moody, character interior is all the cozy vibes you need, while sipping on a classic Gin Martini.
Fav cocktail – Exchange Sour
Where | 811 W. Pender Street
Ancora Waterfront Dining + Patio
Water view dining at its best with views of False Creek. The cocktail game at Ancora has always been about fusing flavours and pushing the envelope with creative experiments, in the most delicious way – like an amuse bouche of molecular cocktails.
Fav cocktail – Magia Negra
Where | 1600 Howe Street
Serving bright and beautiful (and delicious) cocktails in glasses molded into birds and odd shapes, is what put this Fairmont Pacific Rim restaurant and lounge on the map. However, the award-winning cocktail team has done more than that by creating the most unique cocktails using different flavours and textures, like a personal fav – clarified milk.
Fav cocktail – One Inch Punch
Where | 1038 Canada Place
H Tasting Lounge
A glamorous Hollywood-esque lounge with cocktails to match. All of the drinks are carefully curated and balanced from the ingredients, down to the shape of the ice and there’s a style for every taste. During the winter season, you can either cozy up by the fireplace or in the outdoor snow globes with views of the water and mountains.
Fav cocktail – Bear in Oaxaca
Where | 1601 Bayshore Drive
The building may be old, but the heart is young. Gotham may be an icon in the city, but it’s not your typical, stuffy steakhouse. The lounge is lively, the cocktails are boozy and they’ve been known to throw a really fun party (when that was a thing).
Where | 615 Seymour Street
Possibly the most photogenic bar in Vancouver, Yaletown’s newest cocktail spot has quickly become a hot spot. It’s moody and brooding atmosphere and spectacular wine bar make the perfect date night spot full of crafted drinks, including a rotating menu of barrel-aged cocktails.
Fav cocktail – Breakfast in Bed
Where | 1026 Mainland Street
The Yaletown Distillery
It doesn’t get any cozier than couches, a fireplace and some boozy Italian-American handcrafted cocktails. Inspired by the greats like Sinatra and Loren, the drinks are heavy on the classics, but their specialty is anything with vodka or gin, as they make it themselves.
Fav cocktail – The More Fabulous Baker
Where | 1131 Mainland Street
While most steakhouses feel a little like a cigar room where the men would ‘retire’ to, Elisa is far more modernized in the gender equality sense. With a feminine name and delicate cocktails, it’s become one of Yaletown’s ritzy hot spot for special occasions, or just to celebrate Thursday night.
Where | 1109 Hamilton Street
UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar
Hotel lobby bars aren’t always as stylish and innovative as this one. Attached to the Moda Hotel, Uva is Italian-chic and is known for their award-winning bar program. Moody candle-lighting and a lively atmosphere are what’s up, along with live music on Thursday nights.
Fav cocktail – Chai ‘N’ Rye
Where | 900 Seymour Street
Brix & Mortar
You’ve probably heard of or seen the gorgeous courtyard with the chandelier at Brix & Mortar and think of it as a summer time place, but with exposed brick, dark wood and mood-lighting, it’s actually a very cozy space to snuggle up in the winter.
Fav cocktail – Purple Pisco Eater
Where | 1138 Homer Street
The Greek Gastown
It’s always a good vibe at this popular go-to when in or Gastown. They also have locations in Yaletown and the north shore, but this new one is our fav. From the Versace wallpaper to the spacious lofty feels and of course the mediterranean-esque refreshing cocktails .
Fav cocktail – Karpouzi
Where | 1043 Mainland Street
Don’t get turned off by the location (it’s across from Gastown’s grunge area Pigeon Park), because it’s the type of place you can grab a seat at the bar and know you’re in for adventure. A French-Asian fusion restaurant and bar, the cocktails have unique flavours for those looking for something more creative like watermelon-infused tequila with sake and orange blossom or peas, gin and sake.
Fav cocktail – Penicillin
Where | 350 Carrall Street
Guilt & Co.
Gastown’s not-so-secret underground lair is one of the best in the city for local live music, entertainment and (you know it) cocktails! Heavy on the local, drinks are supportive of the community, using Vancouver’s best distilled and each cocktail named after a song. It’s a great place for girls night, guys night, date night, any night really for fun and games and feeling like you’ve been transported to another place.
Fav cocktail – Electric Relaxation (A Tribe Called Quest anyone?)
Where | 1 Alexander Street
From a small, bustling but charming brick wall space to a large, bustling but charming brick wall space, Chambar has been the ‘it’ place for food-lovers, beer-lovers, wine-lovers and cocktail-lovers since Day 1. With a cozy, classy and inviting atmosphere, the Belgian-Moroccan restaurant nails quality from the food to the drinks to the friendly faces that makes you want to keep coming back for more.
Fav cocktail – Rolling Tides
Where | 568 Beatty Street
Yes this list is the best of the best, so of course The Diamond is the best, but it’s one of Vancouver’s known best. It’s the first-date capital of the city and has that swanky but old NYC feel, with crafted drinks by passionate bartenders.
Fav cocktail – It Happened In Athens
Where | 6 Powell Street
Take a trip into the past to like, 110 years ago. Pourhouse’s vibe matches the 1920 building in Gastown, when the drinks were extra boozy and the bartenders were artists. Sit at the bar and get them to make a custom creation based on your mood and likes and you won’t be disappointed.
Fav cocktail – The Devil’s Garden
Where | 162 Water Street
A personal fav of the girls of Populist for the cool and moody atmosphere and obviously the margaritas. It’s always a great place whether your looking to celebrate a birthday, have a romantic dinner or end the night hanging at the bar, talking to the fun staff.
Fav cocktail – Classic Margarita
Where | 261 Powell Street
Shameful Tiki Room
An escape without ever leaving East Van. When you walk into Shameful Tiki Room, you’re literally transported to a tropical destination with no windows to see reality. The decor is from all over the world, the music is fun and the bar is stocked with all the classic tiki drinks like Zombies, Mai Tais, Blue Hawaiis and punch bowls.
Fav cocktail – Volcano Bowl
Where | 4362 Main Street
A secret hidden bar that will make you want to go to the accountant’s often. The speakeasy makes you walk through a tiny Zottenberg & Sons Accounting office to get to the good part – the retro 70’s basement bar. It’s definitely one of the most unique bars in the city and you can drink cocktails that your grandparents used to party with.
Fav cocktail – Grasshopper
Where | 2305 Main Street
Fun in the summer, but even more fun in the winter when you need some colour and energy. Tocador is a cuban cocktail bar with all the vibes and tastes of Havana (but with better food). The wallpaper is bright and fun and the drinks are unique and come in very fun glassware.
Fav cocktail – Mucha Lucha!
Where | 2610 Main Street
Another Cuban made the list (because Cuba’s fun obvs), but with a different feel. Havana brings that Old Havana vibe, but again with better food. They’re known mostly for their pitchers on the patio, people watching on Commercial Drive, but it’s inside where you get the cuban culture and the perfect atmosphere to instantly make you feel warm.
Fav cocktail – The Governor Sour
Where | 1212 Commercial Drive
This is not your average Mexican restaurant, but it is authentic – just a high end authentic, but without the high end attitude. The beautiful colourful tile and the smoky scents from the queso and mezcal, will make you immediately feel you’re in Tulum. They also have an amazing brunch on the weekends.
Fav cocktail – Hotel Escondido
Where | 1622 Commercial Drive
Chickadee Room in Juke
A brand new pop-up inside Juke Fried Chicken , Chickadee Room plays on the 80s nightlife with lots of neon (is there anything more fun?). We also love the drinks all have names based on 80s songs like Electric Avenue, All Night Long and Livin’ On A Prayer and now you can hear them in your head.
Fav cocktail – Backyard Shenanigans
Where | 182 Keefer Street
Inspired by a 60s Tokyo jazz bar, Kissa Tanto has been raking in the accolades for their food and drinks for good reason. It’s a fusion between 2 of the best cultures known for flavours – Japanese and Italian, so you know it’s going to be different, but delicious. The room is dim and cozy and the attention to every detail doesn’t go unnoticed. Definitely make reservations before going, to make sure you get in.
Fav cocktail – Shore Leave Martini
Where | 263 E. Pender Street
The Keefer Bar
The Keefer Bar has been one of Vancouver’s top cocktail bars since it opened, with an extremely impressive alcohol selection filling the back bar and booklet with some of the most innovative and unique drinks, with inspirations from all over the world. The bar is long, thin and candle-lit, making it the perfect first date spot to impress.
Fav cocktail – Peekaboo
Where | 135 Keefer Street
A stiff cocktail and a nice glass of pinot is what Bao Bei stands for and we can get behind that. A funky, but intimate Chinese restaurant that has amazing share plates and even cooler cocktails with unique mashups like tangerine margaritas and red date old fashions.
Fav cocktail – Moon Rabbit
Where | 163 Keefer Street
The Emerald Supper Club
Going out to dinner and dancing was the thing back in the day and The Emerald Supper Club brings that same fun back with an old-school Vegas vibe, entertainment and classic cocktails, bubbles and wines.
Fav cocktail – Lavender 75
Where | 555 Gore Avenue