Vancouver bars for a refreshing gin and tonic

Rainy evening or summer afternoon: it’s always a good time for a gin and tonic. Some of Vancouver’s finest establishments turn a classic G&T into an original masterpiece. If you’re looking for fizz and flavour, pull up a stool at these local cocktail bars. 

Juniper

1
185 Keefer Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 6L4

Deliciously colourful and scrumptiously well-mixed, Juniper’s cocktails have quickly made this new kid on the block one of the most talked-about bars in Vancouver. Named after one of the main ingredients in gin, the bar should know how to make a humble G&T. And they do, with an extensive knowledge of the flavour profiles of each gin they supply, and recommendations for combination mixers. Just like the berry, Juniper’s drinks are big and bold.

The Keefer Bar

2
135 Keefer St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1X3

Oozing with character, The Keefer’s dark and narrow room feels enchanting and mysterious – and that’s before you even try the cocktails. An extensive list of creative drinks features many gin-based offerings, but the bar’s simple gin and tonic is an ideal place to start. Often on special, and with a sprig of fir branch in each glass, this new take on a classic balances savoury and tart.

UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar

3
900 Seymour St, Vancouver, BC V6B 3L9

This kitsch-meets-glam wine bar in the Moda Hotel downtown has more than 15 gins to choose from, ranging from classic G&T options (Hendricks, anyone?) to new, local favourites such as The Liberty Distillery. The knowledgeable servers can direct you to a spirit that is closest to, well, your spirit for the evening so as to create a drink that truly matches your mood. Even better, custom garnishes are designed to match the gin.

AnnaLena

4
1809 1st Avenue W, Vancouver, BC V6J 5B8

Despite a fierce reputation for brilliance, and inclusion on lists of Canada’s Best New Restaurants, AnnaLena still feels like Vancouver’s best kept secret. Whether you eating at a table, or propping up the bar on a weekday night, the restaurant’s drinks menu rivals that of its food. That’s thanks, in part, the work of bar manager Kevin Brownlee, an award-winning bartender who can speak knowledgably about any bottle behind the bar.

West Restaurant + Bar

5
2881 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3J4

West has a floor-to-ceiling wall of wine accessible with the type of ladder you see in a Disney library. What’s not to love? Not to be trumped by the interior, the bartenders are friendly, talented and clearly passionate about their work. They’ll ask questions about gin types, go off the menu, and work on a drink until its perfection. Their gin and tonics are another example of said perfection.

Liberty Merchant Distillery

6
1-1494 Old Bridge St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3S6

While walking into Granville Island’s new distillery may feel like entering an Old Western, there’s nothing dusty about their flavours or boozy cocktails. Endeavour Gin is on the menu, mixed with the specially chosen Porter’s Tonic to accentuate the traditional London-style flavours. Tip: any gin tastes better when you can watch the equipment it was distilled in, so be sure to check out the behind-the-scenes operations at The Liberty Distillery.

The Diamond

7
6 Powell St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1E7

Good evenings abound at The Diamond: the second-floor bar in Gastown that’s a go-to for large parties, intimate dates or impromptu gatherings – not to mention a favourite with visiting celebrities. With Asian-inspired food and cocktails, flavours are bold and fresh. The gin and tonics are no different, with spirit, tonic and garnish combinations that range from traditional (cucumber) to quirky (ginger).

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.
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]
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]
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