High-flying hotel bars in Victoria

There's something about hotel bars that makes it easy to imagine you’re in a distant land, even if you’ve only traveled a few blocks. Victoria has plenty of these establishments – from the elegant Bengal Lounge to the honky-tonk Big Bad John’s, there’s a hotel bar for every taste.

Club 9one9

919 Douglas St, Victoria, BC V8W 2C2

Big Bad John’s in the Strathcona Hotel bills itself as an “authentic hillbilly bar.” Whatever it is, it’s worth a visit. The peanut shells on the floor, the bras hanging from the ceiling, the dollar bills on the wall, the jukebox and eclectic clientele all attest to its vibrant character. The food and drink is tasty but nothing fancy: It’s a beer and wings kind of place.

Clive's Classic Lounge

740 Burdett Ave, Victoria, BC V8W 1B2

Come to Clive’s Classic Lounge for dark-wood elegance and bartenders in bow ties. Enjoy a cocktail expertly made, an Aperol spritz for those Victoria summer evenings, or the Nobel Prize worthy Hemingway Daiquiri. There’s a small plates menu, perfect for nibbling as you drink, or a full menu with such alcohol-absorbing treats as bacon-wrapped meatloaf.

The Veranda

721 Government St, Victoria, BC V8W 1W5

Enter the Bengal Lounge and enter a bygone era of plush leather sofas, tiger skins hanging from the walls, ceiling fans and antique paintings above the bar. There’s an extensive wine list, as well as champagne, beer and their signature cocktails, chief among them the Empress 1908, which is made with tea-infused vodka and frothy egg whites. When hunger strikes, you're in luck: There’s everything from vegetarian curry and Bengal spiced rice to grilled cheese sandwiches with apple-smoked cheddar.

Lure Restaurant & Bar

100 Harbour Road, Victoria, BC V9A 0G1

Try to snag a seat on the outdoor patio here, as the views of Victoria Harbour are worth a scramble. Once you’re comfortable, dig into the Maple Bourbon Pork Ribs or one of the many variations on fresh seafood, from line-caught Pacific halibut to Saltspring Island mussels. A great spot for local beer and wine, try Mission Hill Chardonnay or the Hoyner Pilsner from Vancouver Island.

Veneto Tapa Lounge

1450 Douglas St, Victoria, BC V8W 2G1

Located in the stylish Hotel Rialto in downtown Victoria, the Veneto Tapa Lounge features equally stylish bartenders serving equally stylish drinks. You know you’re in for a good time when the menu features cocktails with names like Auntie Irene and Original Sin. The wine and beer lists aren’t anything to sniff at either. Pair your drink with one of their sharing boards, featuring a selection of cheese, charcuterie and fish.

Spinnakers Brewpub & Guest House Restaurant

308 Catherine St, Victoria, BC V9A 3S8

Don’t expect to find any imports here: The beer doesn’t travel that far. In fact, it’s brewed right on site. So grab a Lion’s Head Cascadia Dark Ale, take a seat and enjoy the waterfront view. Make sure you’ve built up an appetite, too: The chef here is all about local ingredients, and from the local water shrimp melt to the Cache Creek beef flank steak, the BC flavour is apparent in every bite.

The Sticky Wicket Pub & Restaurant

919 Douglas Street, Victoria, BC V8W 2C2

If you’re looking to watch the game, come take a seat at the spacious Sticky Wicket Pub. There are lots of screens so you won’t have to crane your neck. If not, take a seat on the patio, grab a pint and enjoy hearty pub specialties like the Pacific cod and chips, or the beef stroganoff. For dessert they’ve got the Shaft Cheesecake with Kahlua brownie crumb and Bailey's whipped cream.

Blue Crab Seafood House

146 Kingston St, Victoria, BC V8V 1V4

Gorgeous ocean views, great drinks and some truly wonderful food await you at the Blue Crab Seafood House. Try a signature cocktail, like the Gummy Bear Martini or the Victoria Sunset. If you’re thirsty for something local, there’s plenty of Okanagan Cider, including the delicious White Grape. Don’t forget to try the sea scallop and tiger prawn small plate.

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