Vancouver’s coolest new lounges and cocktail bars of 2024

interior rendering of Prophecy Bar in Vancouver

The art of the cocktail bar is thriving in Vancouver, offering adventures that go beyond a simple night out. These new hotspots are giving intimate settings for unforgettable experiences, innovative cocktails, and delicious snacks for date night, girl’s night or just a solo hang. Whether you’re a local or just passing through, diving into Vancouver’s latest bar scene is a journey worth taking. So, next time you’re wandering the streets of the city, keep your eyes peeled—you never know what hidden gems you might uncover. Come slip behind the unmarked doors and pull back the curtains on the coolest hidden bars you absolutely need to discover now:

Meo Chinatown

Just under Michelin-starred restaurant, Kissa Tanto, Vancouver’s newest Chinatown opening is a retro 70s cocktail bar. The bar is modeled after Japan’s popular ‘Love Motel’, which is a short-stay hotel, operated primarily for.. I’m sure you can guess.  The vibes are sultry and nostalgic with pink everything and dark wood panelling.  The cocktails are unique and twisted, yet unexpectedly interesting with spins on classic mixes like the ‘Espresso Carrotini’ (Beefeater blood orange gin, citrus peel infused cold brew coffee, carrot reduction), the ‘Turkish Sbagliato’ (Campari, Esquimalt rosso vermouth, Bella Bubbza, rose water) and the ‘Grasshopper’ (Sake, Crème de Cacao liqueur, Thai basil, pandan, lime sorbet).  The food is all small plates that are casual and full of diverse and punchy flavours with spanish, latin, asian and trinidadian accents.

Where | 265 E. Pender Street, Vancouver Canada
Website | Instagram

red couch with meo sign
Photo Cred | @meochinatown

 

Ama Bar

Fraserhood’s best little secret is a new bar and restaurant concept that just opened at the end of 2023, called Ama.  The Japanese-inspired cocktail and raw bar is the latest venture from Nammos and Lulu’s and is hidden above Nammos, behind several doors and stairs. Once you’re in, it’s like walking into a different world that will suck you in.  ‘Ama’ comes from Japanese pearl divers, called “ama”, women that would slip into the waters and hold their breath for long lengths of time, in search of pearls or seafood. Those are the vibes, like you’re emulated in time. Then comes the fun part – pairing the atmosphere with tantalizing cocktails and a delicious and fresh seafood raw bar.

Where | 3980 Fraser Street, Vancouver Canada
Instagram

interior of Ama Bar in Vancouver
Photo Cred | @ama.rawbar

 

The Flamingo Room

“Bienvenido a Miami”, is what you’ll be singing inside your head as you’re transported there when you step into the Flamingo Room, where the entertainment is as vibrant as the cocktails.  The bar next to Havana has reopened with music, comedy, drinks and snacks for a fun little watering hole vibe.  The cocktails are complex and tasty and will have you feeling like you’ve found your place in the world. Some of the cocktails even come in punch bowl size (for sharing with friends), so that’s always a good time. The snacks situation is stacked, with all the South Florida x Cuba delights like plantain chips, cubano medianoches and ceviches.

Where | 1214 Commercial Drive, Vancouver Canada
Website | Instagram

the miami-inspired interior booths of The Flamingo Room in Vancouver
Photo Cred | @flamingoroomvan

 

Bravo

Another new gem for the Fraserhood area, Bar Bravo is a cute, seafood-forward cocktail and wine bar.  Bar Bravo is the perfect date-night spot that says “I’m refined and cultured, but not a snob.” As I’m writing this, I’m thinking about what to say about Bar Bravo’s food is making me drool onto my laptop, so you know it’s going to be good.  The menu is very Vancouver, in the sense that it’s seasonal, local delicacies, mixed with international accents and it all kind of melts in your mouth, like oysters with jalapeño and cucumber aguachile, lobster spaghetti and striped bass with tamarind broth and fermented cabbage.  Paired with craft cocktails and local wines and you’ve got yourself a fine evening.

Where | 4194 Fraser Street, Vancouver Canada
Website | Instagram

a cocktail and oysters sitting on a table at Bravo Bar in Vancouver
Photo Cred | @bravovancouver

 

Salt Chinatown

Salt Tasting Room lives on in Chinatown. The beloved Gastown charcuterie and wine bar has relocated to where all the other restaurants are popping up and relocating.. somewhere affordable.  After a few year hiatus, it’s now called ‘Salt Chinatown’, but still known for their fancy, yet approachable, customizable charcuterie platters where you get to pick from local and international meats, cheeses and condiments and small plate bites.  The wines follow in the same fashion with interesting picks from Canada and Europe.  Opening at 5pm Wednesday – Sunday, it’s the perfect place for a quick snack after work, pre-dinner or just to hang out anc catch up.

Where | 227 E. Pender Street, Vancouver Canada
Website | Instagram

line up of wine bottles at Salt in Vancouver
Photo Cred | @salt.chinatown

 

Bar Haifa

In the current climate of the Middle East, it’s good to know there’s still some peace between Palestinians and Israelis and it happens to come in the form of hummus and falafel.  Bar Haifa is Vancouver’s sister to Toronto’s The Haifa Room and is run by friends from both backgrounds. The middle eastern eatery serves up small plates of their family recipes from Kibbeh Lamb Tartare to Smelts and my personal fav, Zhug (a spicy green sauce which you need to put on everything).  The drinks is where is gets real fun as they’re like nothing you ever tasted. Must tries: Rosewater Paloma, Tum Kulins (smoked lemon vodka + sumac syrup + preserved lemon juice) and Pepperon’tini (vodka + pepperoncini brine + pink peppercorn dry vermouth).

Where | 410 W. Georgia Street, Vancouver Canada
Website | Instagram

middle eastern dished on a table
Photo Cred | @barhaifa

 

Bar Tartare

We love a natural wine bar, because we don’t love sulphates.  Who’s with us? Bar Tartare opened in The Birds + The Beets’ Juice Bar side, which opens after the eatery closes at 5pm to carry on the evening on a journey of new, unique and ever-changing natural wines from all over.  As for the food? Rotating chefs.  Each few days or weeks, a new chef with a different style and offering makes up their own menu, so you’ll always have something new to try. Each menu offers different pairings with the rotating wine list to add to the experience.

Where | 54 Alexander Street, Vancouver Canada
Website | Instagram

wine and a dish on a metal table at Bar Tartare
Photo Cred | @_bartartare

 

Dear Gus Snack Bar

Mount Pleasant’s newest addition is a nod to the European neighbourhood locales and we’re here for it. The 18-seater with a bar is that cute place you walk by on that street in Madrid and decided to pop in for a glass of wine, because wine not, and have some snacks to gain energy to keep going. But this time, you don’t have to go to Europe and walk everywhere, you can just go back to the comforts of your own home.  If you hit up Dear Gus Snack Bar between 4pm-5pm, you can take advantage of their aperitivo menu with wines by the glass $9, half carafe $25, amaro or vermouth spritz $10, $10 off of all bottles and peroni, and snacks.  From 5pm on (Tuesday – Saturday), they serve up European style small plates that change with the seasons like Pil Pil Prawns with smoked chili oil and garlic crunch, Cheese and Charcuterie platters, Mussels with nduja, saffron tomato broth and bread, and Pork Belly with sherry glaze, quince puree and pickled swiss chard.  The wines are also European to pair with the snacks and rotate so you’ll always have a reason to stop in and see what’s new.

Where | 2040 Quebec Street, Vancouver Canada
Website | Instagram

minimalist interior of Dear Gus Snack Bar in Vancouver
Photo Cred | @deargussnackbar

 

The Watson

The team behind Bartholomew Bar in Yaletown have brought their imaginative cocktail concept bar to Main Street in Mount Pleasant.  The Watson took over the Kind Cafe haunt and transformed this space into the new it-place. The refresh? Mainly cosmetic, but oh-so-stylish— British-esque with high ceilings, floods of natural light, and bold decor like massive artworks and snazzy light fixtures that make the place pop. The Watson nods to Dr. Watson from Sherlock Holmes and the laneway behind them – Watson Street. The main floor and mezzanine provide all sizes of nooks and crannies for small or large parties to hang.  But it’s the cocktails that take center stage with unique concoctions and clever takes on classic drinks like the “Plain Sight” (clarified: belvedere vodka, frangelico, prosecco, passionfruit, vanilla, basil, passionfruit pearls), “Alexei’s Cure” (red cabbage infused pisco, yellow chartreuse, poli super taurus, bittermelon cordial, umami bitters, tonic water, carrot hay) and the one everyone’s playing with, “A Broad Idea” (suntory toki whisky, nigori sake, house creme de cacaco, arbutus absinthe, lemon, egg white, nikka paint). There are also pairable small plates to share, but even more exciting – they now do weekend brunch.

Where | 3080 Main Street, Vancouver Canada
Website | Instagram

classical elegant interior of The Watson
Photo Cred | @thewatson_van

 

Arcana Spirit Lounge

Arcana Spirit Lounge is a new speakeasy in Gastown and behind a Pet Psychic business front, is a whole other world. An spiritual one.  The new bar vibes are from the occult, blending the supernatural with a 1930s French salon.  Think tarot, seances, ouija boards, fortune tellers and of course cocktails.  You would think with a themed bar that the food and cocktails wouldn’t be great, but that’s where you’d be wrong in this case.  Arcana Spirit Lounge swooped up Head Bartender, Chad Rivard, from The Diamond and the drinks are legit. Each one is named after a Major Arcana Tarot Card, like “Death” (rye whisky, Cynar, Fernet, black cherry syrup, lemon, pineapple) served in a skull glass, “Psychich Hotline” (mezcal, St. Remy Signature Brandy, Ancho Reyes chili liqueur, Woods Nocino green walnut liqueur, cinnamon syrup), which includes a phone number for your own personal psychic reading, and an Absinthe ceremony.  Is it cheesy? Probably a bit. But is it fun and interesting? Definitely.

Where | 238 Abbott Street, Vancouver Canada
Website | Instagram

a negroni cocktail with branded witchcraft symbol on a table with candles
Photo Cred | Arcana Spirit Lounge

 

Prophecy

So new, it’s not even open yet, but this hotel bar will be the most anticipated bar and lounge opening of 2024.  The shuttered Prohibition in the basement of the Rosewood Georgia Hotel is reopening, with some of your favourite hospitality faces leading the ship – Justin Mensah-Coker, Mike Rose, Teddy Wilkie, Matteo Caniglia.  The guys are the nightlife legends behind Banter Room, The Living Room at Hotel Belmont and The Parlour.  The new space, which opens sometime in May, promises to redefine the city’s already dynamic cocktail culture with its unique fusion of vintage charm and cutting-edge mixology in a space brimming with captivating history. The jazz-bar theme has been transformed into a blend of classic elegance and contemporary (typical of the Ste. Marie Studios) that’s unpretentious, yet still makes you feel like the social elite.  Stay tuned for more info and opening dates.

Where | 801 W. Georgia Street, Vancouver Canada
Website | Instagram

interior rendering of Prophecy Bar in Vancouver
Photo Cred | Ste Marie Studios

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