Cozy pubs for a low-key night out in Vancouver

If Vancouver’s bar scene is too social or slick for your night-out requirements, these cozy nooks offer a relaxing alternative, and they’re the closest you can come to a true European pub experience on this side of the Atlantic. Check out these laid-back locals for a solo pint or a low-key get-together with friends. [Photo credit: iStock.com/ gpointstudio]

The Fringe Cafe

1
3124 Broadway W, Vancouver, BC V6K 2H3

Kitsilano’s answer to Cheers, The Fringe Café has served regulars and one-time visitors since 1990. Manager Tom Graham has overseen the narrow, fairy-light-lit pub for more than 10 years. Perhaps it’s the “lived-in” feeling, or the paraphernalia and trinkets strewn on the walls and above the bar, which makes the Fringe Café so welcoming. Customers can choose from more than 30 scotches, a wide selection of local and international beers, or one of the $5 drink specials. Regardless of where you live, I recommend thinking of Fringe Café as your go-to local.

The Narrow Lounge

2
1898 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5T 3B7

One of Vancouver’s worst kept secrets, The Narrow Lounge is accessible via a side door off Main Street and down a set of graffiti-scrawled stairs. Here underground, an intimate space with room for no more than 30 people greet the brave and in-the-know. Leather booths, dark lighting, an LP player, and antique paintings of Old Vancouver create a snug atmosphere. The drinks list is extensive, from cocktails to wine to beer, while a limited menu of hot and cold food will prevent you from having to leave this perfect burrow for hours (I recommend the nachos). A winter essential.

Pat's Pub & Brewhouse

3
403 Hastings St E, Vancouver, BC V6A 1P6

One of Vancouver’s worst kept secrets, The Narrow Lounge is accessible via a side door off Main Street and down a set of graffiti-scrawled stairs. Here underground, an intimate space with room for no more than 30 people greet the brave and in-the-know. Leather booths, dark lighting, an LP player, and antique paintings of Old Vancouver create a snug atmosphere. The drinks list is extensive, from cocktails to wine to beer, while a limited menu of hot and cold food will prevent you from having to leave this perfect burrow for hours (I recommend the nachos). A winter essential.

The Ouisi Bistro

4
3014 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3J8

Also a restaurant that serves the finest New Orleans food this side of the 49th parallel, Ouisi Bistro nevertheless qualifies in all major pub categories – from the candlelit ambiance, to friendly staff who are attentive without rushing you, to the perfect bar to prop your elbows upon while you sip a locally brewed pint. Enjoy snacks such as alligator bites or cornbread under the watchful gaze of painted jazz legends, or sit in a dark corner soaking in the live jazz every Sunday evening.

With its unparalleled views, nearby ocean and reflective glass skyscrapers, Vancouver really shines in summertime. When not on the beaches, much of the city sips a mojito or glass of the Okanagan’s finest on a patio. Here are some of the best summer staples and undiscovered spots for catching up on Vitamin D.
Wheel around the alleys of East Van and it won’t be long before you stumble upon one of the city’s craft breweries: on par with yoga studios for their popularity. During Vancouver Craft Beer Week, you can sample more than 300+ different brews (and ciders) from around the world. Check out some of the Vancity breweries that’ll be pulling pints at the festival at the PNE from May 26 to June 4. [Photo via Doan's Craft Brewing]
What better way to stay cool on a summer day than with a refreshing, crisp and refined cocktail from Great Britain? These Vancouver bars and restaurants offer the finest Pimm’s Cups in the city. Pinkies up ladies and gents! [Image courtesy of Cactus Club Cafe]
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