Vancouver bars and restaurants for weeknight revelry

If you’re a bartender or server who works on the weekends, you’ll likely want to blow off some steam when the rest of the city heads back to the office on Monday morning. Main Street has a concentrated collection of bars with some great industry night specials for the folks who work hard to keep the weekend crowds lubricated and well fed. Here are a few great places to go if you’re looking to boogie Sunday through Wednesday.

Meet on Main

4288 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3P9

A good night out begins with ballast. Whether you’re vegetarian or not, this comfort food joint at Main and 27th is the perfect place to pad your stomach with a burger, poutine, or smaller sharing plate. Wash it down a few pints or one of their signature cocktails before hitting your next spot.

Uncle Abe's

3032 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5T 3G5

There is a gaping Rumpus Room-sized hole on Main Street where the Rumpus Room used to be. Seriously, it’s a pit in the ground where a condo will be built at some point. Luckily the people who brought you Rumpus Room opened up shop a few blocks south at a new spot. Named after the owner’s newborn son, Uncle Abe’s hosts Happy Hour from 5:00 to 7:00 pm, during which the oddly delicious Pickleback (shot of Jameson followed by a shot of pickle juice) and a rotating selection of cocktails are super cheap.

The Narrow Lounge

1898 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5T 3B7

Look for the red light at the door to beckon you inside this dimly lit, always packed, hole-in-the-wall at 3rd and Main, where the bartenders know just as much about cocktails as they do about music. While downtowners tend to take over on Fridays and Saturdays, this small room fills up with the kids who aren’t working for the weekend the rest of the time. In the summer, the take to the Tiki-themed patio, a neighbourhood hotspot to sip a tropical cocktail or four.

Cobalt Hotel

917 Main St, Vancouver, BC V6A 2V8

While Boxcar and the Cobalt might technically be two separate establishments with different names, it’s kind of like they’re in the same house with two separate bedrooms. On one side is the Cobalt, which gets particularly packed on Mondays for Earmuffs Karaoke and Wednesdays for SNAG, the weekly live painting art raffle. When you feel like popping a squat for a drink, walk about 10 metres north to the Boxcar for one of many beers on tap or a wicked cocktail. It’s bar hopping without even having to go outside.

Alibi Room

157 Alexander St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1B8

Long wooden banquet-style tables make for a communal atmosphere at the Alibi Room. Head to this Railtown favourite and saddle up to the bar with your crew to enjoy a plethora of beers on tap, rotating casks, and a select few ciders mostly from all over B.C. If beer’s not your thing, the folks behind the bar can craft you a cocktail from the well-tailored list or pour a pretty great glass of wine.

Bayside Lounge

1755 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6G 1W5

Okay so it might not be on Main Street, but Bayside Lounge has got seriously good weeknight chops and a beautiful panoramic view that rivals any bar in East Van. With $7 double Caesars on Sundays, $3 highballs available Sunday through Thursday during Happy Hour (the brief yet effective timeslot of 9:30 to 10:30 pm), and a cushy booth-lined room that centres around a circular bar and hovers above English Bay, this place is less pretentious than a Bob Ross painting lesson and worth the trip to the West End.

People love to boast that Vancouver is the “only place you can golf, ski, and kayak in the same day.” I have lived here for over 10 years and have never met a single person who has actually done that. I’m not saying that it’s impossible, but most of us are too broke or busy to pay our astronomical rent to have the time and money for that. That said, there are plenty of unique activities in Rain City to write home about.
Few events can create or strengthen friendships like shared tragedy and triumph. So the fact that memories and relationships blossom from a karaoke experience is not surprising. Vancouver has tons of great places where you can gather ’round the teleprompter for a booze-fuelled sing-along. Hit these local venues next time you want to belt out Queen hits on stage or croon to Roy Orbison in an intimate room full of fans.
“What do you guys want to do while you’re here?” It’s the inevitable question you’ll have to ask whenever your out-of-town guests come to visit. Playing tour guide for friends and family is easy thanks to Vancouver’s many attractions, but why rest on your laurels and go for the typical destinations? Next time, take them for a unique local adventure instead.
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