While curating my roster of best bars in Vancouver, I’ve come to recognize that this article on Vancouver Planner is undeniably the most thoroughly investigated.
Need convincing? I can provide bank statements (and maybe even some memory lapses) as evidence.
Whether you’re into award-winning cocktail bars to singles bars to dive bars, I’ve got all your preferences covered.
However, if you have inquiries, remarks, or even critiques about Vancouver bars or anything else related to my beloved city, feel free to share them in the comments section below.
The Best Bars in Vancouver
The Keefer Bar
Located in historic Chinatown, Keefer Bar offers an extensive list of award-winning cocktails inspired by ancient remedies served in the neighbourhood’s surrounding apothecaries.
Never mind Vancouver bars – this was recently ranked the second-best bar in Canada, and it’s can’t-miss stuff for cocktail hounds of all ages.
I always go for the Aperol spritz or old-fashioned, but why not go for one of their unique ‘seasonal prescriptions’? The herb-infused remedies found on their apothecary-themed menu will cure whatever is ailing you – hangovers included.
If Keefer were included, they could probably be one of the best restaurants in Vancouver for their Asian-inspired small plates using the freshest ingredients from the local markets. Think Peking duck sliders and crispy Shanghai pork belly.
Factor in an affordable happy hour, and you quickly learn why this Chinatown haunt is one of the most highly regarded bars in North America.
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, then 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 typically 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 in for drinks, so why not you?
The Narrow Lounge
Canadians were lucky to never have to endure an alcohol ban but this prohibition-style bar located under a mattress store on trendy Main Street gives a look of what it might have looked like.
This Vancouver bars offers retro cocktails which 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 Alibi Room
After a long day seeing Vancouver’s top sites, sometimes all you’re looking for is a chill spot to grab a couple of pints and some great food.
Located in a hundred-year-old heritage building on the edge of trendy Gastown, the much-vaunted Alibi Room is a self-professed modern tavern offering one of the best craft beer selections in British Columbia.
That’s right – there are over 50 taps of local and imported craft beer.
The Alibi Room also features a unique 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 found on their fresh sheet.
It’s all locally sourced, organic, ocean-wise, or free-range.
Big on beer? Check out the best brewery tours in Vancouver.
Heading out for drinks in Gastown? Check out our article on The Best Bars in Gastown.
Back and Forth Bar
Out of all of Vancouver’s top neighbourhoods Gastown’s ongoing gentrification makes it quite unique, and one unintended consequence is that it makes a cheap pint hard to find.
Back and Forth Bar is one of the few neighbourhood hold outs that still offers cheap drinks.
Most of their draught pints are $7.75, and you can get them for $6.00 at happy hour. This is the ultimate warm-up spot for a Saturday night out as the happy hour goes from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
It’s also one of the only Vancouver bars where you can challenge your friends to a game of ping pong – the six tables here are always a great place to socialize.
The best bar for students on a budget.
The Irish Heather
When travelling, it’s easy to end up at a ‘plastic paddy ‘ pub that just might pour you the worst pint of Guinness ever.
But as someone who has travelled Ireland I can say the Irish Heather is nothing for the sort, in fact it’s even Irish owned and operated.
Go here for a proper pint of Guinness and a fantastic selection of local and international craft beers.
You’ll also find a massive whiskey list with hundreds of varieties from Ireland, India, Spain, America, and every region of Scotland.
What do I do? I grab a dram of Scotch with a selection from their unique charcuterie list with two meats, two cheeses, and condiments for just $20.
You also have a selection of Irish and British classics, including homemade corned beef, bangers and mash, and fish and chips.
This is the best Vancouver bar on my list for an older crowd.
The Tiki Bar
Get a small piece of island life in this quirky East Vancouver room decorated with palm trees, exotic artwork, Polynesian carvings, and, of course, boozy rum-based cocktails in extravagant glasses!
As the first Polynesian themed bar in the Pacific Northwest, the Tiki Bar has been providing Vancouverites with a slice of sunny paradise since the 1950’s.
OK, it sounds a bit corny. But you won’t be laughing once you try one of their signature hand-crafted cocktails like the pisco/tequila inspired beach game and mint and lemongrass infused sweet thang swizzle.
Drinking in company? Did your straws into one of their vintage rum-based punch bowls? Get your cameras out because they even light them on fire!
Tiki Bar also counts a Polynesian-inspired food menu with tuna poke, Maui ribs, and Polynesian fried rice as well as one of the best happy hours in the city.
Guilt and Company
Think live music is a dying art? Well, not if this Gastown haunt has anything to say about it!
Guilt and Co. offer nightly sets with an eclectic mix of jazz, swing, soul, reggae, and Latin from the region’s best local performers.
You’ll find an extensive list of inventive cocktails, craft beers, and international wines for that extra step on the dance floor.
If that wasn’t enough, they also run a limited yet tasty shareable food menu with fine meats and artisan cheese platters.
Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar
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) on at neighbourhood pub prices.
Do hit up their bartenders with a flavour profile – they’ve got some of the best mixologists in the city.
Arguably the most recognized pub in British Columbia, Vancouver’s best answer to the Temple Bar has been slanging pints of Guinness and shots of Jameson at reasonable prices since 1972.
This Vancouver bar turns into a weekend nightclub with house band Killarney playing a mix of Irish classics like “Danny Boy” alongside top 40 and rock favourites.
Vancouver is criticized for being cold and cliquey, but the Blarney Stone is an exception to the rule. This is one of the best bars for groups in Vancouver looking to meet people.
Your feet will stick to the floor, and you’ll piss in a trough, but this is the place to let your hair down in Vancouver.
In a century-old brick building overlooking Maple Tree Square, The Diamond is an unpretentious cocktail lounge that somehow manages to churn out top-quality stuff regardless of its price point.
It recently came in at 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 of their unique creations like tiger breath (hibiscus, cachaça, lime, pineapple, and jalapeño honey), you’re in good, tipsy hands.
Add in a creative, Mediterranean-inspired supper menu (48-hour short rib and a serrano ham quince bread, please!) and you won’t be leaving any time soon.
When we talk of cool bars in Vancouver, it may not get any cooler than this throwback to the 1920s speakeasy and its unparalleled decadence and glamour.
Take one step through the unremarkable entrance marked by a small green light, and you’re off to a scene from The Great Gatsby.
The opulent chandeliers, sophisticated decor, and luxurious seating are truly unique for bars in Vancouver – but there’s plenty of substance to go with the style.
This cocktail bar’s signature, the Hotel Georgia, harkens back to one of Vancouver’s best hotels and its glamorous past. The drink of Brokers gin, lemon, orgeat, orange blossom water, egg white, and nutmeg has been served at this location since 1951.
They even have an absinthe fountain! Let your dripping booze gently caress a sugar cube before filling your glass while a rotating cast of live bands play a variety of period-appropriate jazz and big band favourites.
If you wanna dress up and go for it, then this is your Vancouver bar.
Vancouver’s oldest bar needs no introduction. Coveted awards like Vice Magazine’s “#1 Place to Get Wasted for Cheap” and the Georgia Strait’s “Best Place in Vancouver for Cheap Beers” ensure that its reputation proceeds itself.
This Gastown institution has been providing cheap drinks and a rowdy student atmosphere since receiving its liquor license way back in 1897.
If you’re willing to drink specials, you’ll never pay more than $5 for a drink.
Every day, you’ll find one beer, one shot, and one highball on special that starts at $5. Trust me when I say this is really rare. It’s also a reason this is the best bar in Vancouver to meet singles – who are, yes, more than ready to mingle.
Even better, it’s all connected to one of Vancouver’s best hostels.
Bayside Lounge in Vancouver is a popular retro cocktail lounge with a unique circular bar and stunning ocean views. They offer delicious craft cocktails and comfort food from the West Coast.
They do have a comprehensive cocktail menu, featuring classic favorites and a diverse range of unique craft cocktails.
Plus, enjoy Happy Hour from 12 – 6 pm on weekdays and 3 – 6 pm on weekends.
They offer a fusion of West Coast creations and classic comfort food at Bayside. Indulge in appetizers, main dishes, desserts, and late-night nibbles.
This is a perfect destination if you are already in the west coast end area.
Electric Bicycle Brewery
Add this to your list as one of the best bars in Vancouver as this was home to a factory that produced electric bicycles. However, a decision was made by a group of individuals to transform it into a brewery.
This was not just any brewery but The Electric Bicycle Brewery, which promises to bring a unique flavor to Vancouver’s craft beer scene.
Don’t like beers? Get a shot within the price range of $6 to $7 for tequila and other alcoholic drinks available.
Plus, with a focus on quality exotic ingredients and an ambiance inspired by music and art, particularly supported by local record shops and artists.
Definitely add this to your things to do in Vancouver if you want to chill and have fun.
Best Bars in Vancouver FAQs
What is the signature drink in Vancouver?
The signature drink in Vancouver is the “Caesar,” a classic cocktail made with vodka, Clamato juice, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Garnished with various toppings, it’s a uniquely Canadian twist on the Bloody Mary.
Best Bars in Vancouver Map
If you need help getting around Vancouver by transport to your favourite bar, then consult our easy Vancouver bar map – you may just be able to fit in 5 or 6 in one night.
As you can see, most of them are just a short Vancouver taxi ride from each other.
Still Looking for the Best Places to Drink in Vancouver?
Those are my top picks for the best bars in Vancouver, as per my perspective. However, I’m open to hearing your differing opinions. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
Additionally, keep in mind that I’m readily available to promptly address any questions you may have about your Vancouver visit. Feel free to reach out – don’t hesitate!
Here’s to you!