Cool spots for a craft cocktail in Victoria

Whether it’s a classic martini or an artisanal craft cocktail you’re after, Victoria’s rapidly growing mixology scene has you covered. Check out these local bars for an extraordinary libation or two.

Veneto Tapa Lounge

1450 Douglas St, Victoria, BC V8W 2G1

Home to the city’s most talented mixologists, Veneto is packed with cocktail connoisseurs on a nightly basis, which means grabbing a highly-coveted seat at the bar can be a challenge. Forget the menu and tell the bartender you want to spin the wheel. Just name your spirit of choice and describe your desired flavour profile and you’ll get a surprise libation in return.

Pescatore's Fish House

614 Humboldt St, Victoria, BC V8W 1A4

Fresh seafood and craft cocktails go hand in hand at this inner harbour restaurant and lounge. Wash down oysters with a cold Swedish Mule made with Absolut vodka, ginger beer, lime and bitters, or pair your spicy scallops with a clear classic martini. Spend an afternoon people watching from the street-front patio, or slip into a booth and listen to live music all night long.

The Mint

Libations at this Mediterranean-inspired lounge are fun, flavourful and very well priced. Enjoy a specialty mojito (try the elderflower or the cardamom options) from the comfort of sleek leather couches. If mojitos aren’t your drink of choice, try a Ginfully Delicious prepared with gin distilled locally by Victoria Spirits.

Argyle Attic

777 Courtney St, Victoria, BC V8W 3E6

Come in from the cold and sink into a fireside armchair at this rustic cabin-inspired bar – just don’t let the taxidermy scare you away. Argyle Attic may be home to a few stuffed animals, but this local spot also boasts the best whiskey list in town. Drink it neat or in a creative craft cocktail; the Trans-Canada Sour (made with Wiser’s small batch, Moondog bitters, maple syrup, lemon juice, egg white and cinnamon) comes highly recommended.

Little Jumbo Restaurant & Bar

102-506 Fort St, Victoria, BC V8W 1E6

An ode to the pioneers of mixology, this speakeasy-inspired bar is the ultimate hideout. Run by industry leaders who are passionate about artisanal cocktails, the drink list is ever changing and always surprising. Can’t decide? Pick your poison and an expert mixologist will concoct a drink you won’t soon forget. The daily happy hour (from 4:00 to 5:30 pm) offers classic drinks at a steal.

Clive's Classic Lounge

740 Burdett Ave, Victoria, BC V8W 1B2

Open since 2008, Clive’s is considered the founding father of mixology in Victoria, and it’s where many of the city’s greatest bartenders honed their craft. Drink your way around the world with their global cocktail menu; Thailand, Portugal, Haiti and Denmark are just a few of the international locales you can visit at this award-winning bar.

The Veranda

721 Government St, Victoria, BC V8W 1W5

Located inside the iconic Fairmont Empress Hotel, this colonial style lounge draws its aesthetic inspiration from Queen Victoria’s role as the Empress of India. Drink like royalty when you order the Empress 1908, the Bengal Lounge’s signature cocktail made with vodka infused tea. Alternatively, let your inner Gatsby loose with a classic bourbon mint julep.

Lure Restaurant & Bar

100 Harbour Road, Victoria, BC V9A 0G1

This wide-open waterfront bar overlooks the spectacular inner harbour, a view that’s best enjoyed with friends since several of Lure’s signature cocktails are available by the pitcher. Nightly drink specials make indulging a little easier on the wallet: enjoy cheap cosmos on Wednesday or discounted sparkling cocktails on Friday.

Ferris' Upstairs Seafood & Oyster Bar

Upr 536 Yates St, Victoria, BC V8W 1K8

Exposed brick walls adorned with eclectic local artwork make this upstairs nook a one-of-a-kind space. Traditionalists will love the modern takes on classic cocktails such as the Lavender Sidecar, while more adventurous drinkers might prefer a Spicy Oaxacan Sour. Out-of-towners should order the seafood Caesar – the olives are replaced with a fresh-shucked oyster and marinated mussel for a truly West Coast experience.

Catalano Restaurant & Cicchetti Bar

619 Courtney St, Victoria, BC V8W 1B7

Located in the beautiful Magnolia Hotel, this Venetian cicchetti bar is locally renowned for their spectacular cocktails. The drink list will look familiar at Catalano, where classic drinks are given a contemporary twist; the Bellini is to-die-for, and the espresso-infused martini makes for a great late-night pick-me-up.

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