It’s beer o’clock: Bars for beer in Vancouver's Gastown

Enjoying a beer or two after work with colleagues or friends is one of the nicest ways to transition from a busy day into a relaxing evening. There is perhaps no better neighbourhood to indulge this ritual than Vancouver’s historic Gastown. These five places have a particular focus on beer and are all worth a visit.

Alibi Room

157 Alexander St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1B8

If beer is your main focus, it’s difficult to have eyes for any other bar than the Alibi Room. With 50 taps of constantly rotating, often-hard-to-find craft brews and staff with a deep knowledge of the art and science of beer making, plus a solid menu of nibbles and entrees to round out the experience, you’re sure to have good times here. Its location at Alexander and Main makes it slightly off the beaten path and its sunny, warm, industrial and timeless interior hits all the latest design trends.

Portside Pub

7 Alexander St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1B2

The decidedly East-Coast feel of this pub is not in your imagination. With owners hailing from Canada’s Maritimes, Portside is all about the welcoming, generous atmosphere so ingrained in our eastern provinces. Wood, nautical rope, winches and pullies make up the décor of this multi-level space, all providing the perfect ambiance to enjoy one of their 24 craft beers on tap, from right here at home to across the globe. Here’s a place to forget you’re in Vancouver for a minute, so make like they do in St. John’s or Halifax and chat up the table beside you.

Six Acres

203 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2J2

Just across the circle from Chill Winston is the charming Six Acres, whose interior immediately makes one feel at home. Exposed brick, walls lined with books, wooden tables and chairs and friendly servers all contribute to the cozy, cabin-like feel. They’re known for their international list of bottled beer, so take an increasingly wobbly trip around the world to find your favourite. Cheap, small bites keep you somewhat on the straight and narrow.

The Lamplighter Public House

92 Water St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1A4

With an excellent selection of draught beers, mainly from the Cascadia region including great options from right here at home, as well as being the gathering place for the Gastown Beer Society, you know the Lamplighter takes it beer seriously. But all you need to do is enjoy your pint. Do so in their spacious dining room — particularly popular when playoff sports are on the many large-screen televisions — or take a breather on their lovely patio under leafy Gastown trees, cobblestone under foot. Specials are frequent and food is abundant.

The Irish Heather

210 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2J1

Sean Heather’s long-standing bar feels at once authentically Irish and comfortably at home in historic Gastown. Stained glass and wooden benches, an unbelievable list of whisky, and of course the requisite Guinness, Harp and Kilkenny on tap all harken back to the Emerald Isle. Keep an eye on their long-table dinner series, where a meal and a beer among like-minded revellers at said long table sets you back a mere $18. Fun, social and of course delicious, you’ll feel like you’ve come into the luck of the Irish.

Bitter Tasting Room Ltd

16 Hastings St W, Vancouver, BC V6B 1G6

On the fringes of Gastown at Hastings and Carrall lies the Bitter Tasting Room, another Sean Heather production, this time focussing on beer from a variety of breweries, both local, American and from abroad. Their draught list is an eclectic mix featuring 13 rotating taps, half of which are always BC craft beers. Their bottles run the gamut from Belgians to bitters and their Scotch egg — a perfect beer accompaniment — is a must-try.

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