Hotel bars for dressed-up drinks in Vancouver

Vancouver is a super-casual place, which is great when all you want to do is slob around in yoga pants but not so good when you want to get dressed up a little and feel fancy. However, there is an easy fix to that sartorial problem – a night out at a hotel bar. I adore the glamorous ambiance of a ritzy hotel bar. Slip into your finery and enjoy a cocktail at my fave spots in town. [Photo courtesy of Hawksworth Restaurant]

Hawksworth Restaurant

750-669 Howe St, Vancouver, BC V6C 0B4

My absolute favourite fancy bar in town! Hawksworth oozes style and it’s where you’ll find me if I have anything to celebrate, or really when I need to feel celebratory at all! I love stepping into the Hotel Georgia’s fabulous lobby, admiring the reverse-perspective Patrick Hughes artwork opposite the reception desk and then heading into the bar. Hopefully the incredibly talented Cooper Tardivel is on duty and I’ll ask him to make me something special. My go-to is the gin-based Hotel Georgia: a total delight of a drink that takes me directly to my happy place.

Fairmont Pacific Rim

1038 Canada Place, VANCOUVER, BC V6C 0B9

I firmly believe this to be the most wonderful-smelling lobby in all Canada and on days when I’m feeling in need of cheer, I’ll head here to enjoy the excellent service from award-winning bartenders Mike Shum, Grant Sceney and team. I might even treat myself to something from the 100% Ocean Wise raw bar from ace sushi master, Taka Omi. The Lobby Lounge has live music every day and yummy bowls of complimentary spiced popcorn. Nothing makes me happier than bubbles, so I recommend trying the sake spritz, with Okanagan Blue Mountain and floral hibiscus. Yum!

Yew Seafood + Bar

791 Georgia St W, Vancouver, BC V6C 2T4

I love the numerous hangout spaces at the Four Seasons hotel bar: sidle up to the long L-shaped bar and chat to fellow boozers, grab an intimate booth and have a snack, get cozy by the fire, or watch the action unfold from one of the high-tops. FYI: it’s also a great spot to meet cute suits after work. YEW collaborated with star bartender Lauren Mote to create a collection of 16 drinks to suit any mood or pair with ace-chef Ned Bell’s seafood dishes. My top pick? The aromatic cardamom and orgeat-spiked Dhow’s Route with Flor de Cana rum.

Notch8 Restaurant & Bar

900 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC V6C 2W6

The ultimate grand dame of Vancouver hotels, the Fairmont’s fantastic new Notch8 is an ideal venue for a classy night out. Stop in after a cheering stroll through the hotel lobby, peeking in at Louis Vuitton and Gucci along the way. Head to the back of the room to bag one of the fantastic booths – inspired by retro railway carriages – and take advantage of the weekday Happy Hour specials. Go for the ultimate in glam on Fridays and order a martini from the roaming martini cart and watch your drink made to order right at your table.

Shangri-La Hotel

1128 Georgia St W, Vancouver, BC V6E 0A8

Divine decadence with an Asian twist can be found in the gorgeous Xi-Shi Lounge at Vancouver’s Shangri-La hotel. You’ll find plenty of seasonal variety here; the bar hosts themed tea parties during Chinese New Year and other special events throughout the year. One of my favourite drinks to order is their basil-infused margarita with lemon and honey. Head down on weekends and enjoy your bevvies with a side of free live classical piano – so elegant!

Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar

845 Burrard St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2K6

From the beautiful tile work outside to the ultra-modern hooped lighting installations inside, Boulevard is a designer delight. The truly excellent Justin Taylor is bar manager here and his original cocktail creations –named after local landmarks – are absolutely fantastic. If I’m feeling delicate, I’ll try a frothy Van Dusen Sour made with Okanagan aquavitus. If I’m in need of something sterner, then it has to be his superbly boozy Black Walnut Manhattan. Whatever drink you choose, you’re sure to feel happier after stopping in and soaked up the atmosphere.

Bacchus Restaurant & Lounge

845 Hornby St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1V1

Leather backed chairs, red velvet seats, a roaring fire and the discrete chink of silver on china – oh how I love the English Member’s Club atmosphere of the Bacchus Lounge! I was taken here on a date a few years back and I’ve always had a soft spot for it ever since. I’ll go with the classics here: maybe a glass of their strawberry-ish Simonnet-Febvre rosé brut crémant, or a tart and refreshing Royal Paloma with Don Julio reposado tequila and grapefruit nectar topped with bubbles.

With its award-winning, internationally renowned bartenders and reputation for innovative drinks, Vancouver is blessed with a vibrant cocktail culture. The beating heart of its shaken-and-stirred empire is in Gastown, where you’ll find any number of excellent bars to enjoy some seriously delicious and thoughtfully crafted cocktails. Although it’s hard to play favourites, here are a few of my can’t-miss cocktail spots.
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