Vancouver's best craft cocktail bars

From barrel-aging spirits to foraging local herbs, Vancouver's cocktail bars are as adventurous as they are creative. Here are Vancouver's best cocktail bars, straight up. [Photo © Yellow Pages / Pages Jaunes]

Pourhouse Restaurant

162 Water St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1B2

Prohibition may have ended years ago, but step into the Pourhouse and you’ll be instantly transported to 1920s Chicago. Its sumptuous bar, friendly and knowledgeable staff, and live Sunday night jazz will have you shedding the stresses of your gun-slinging, gangster day job in no time.

Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie

163 Keefer St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1X3

Innovative and stunning, this is not your typical take-out Chinese. Consistently voted among the city’s top restaurants, Bao Bei is also the perfect cocktail hot spot. Sidle up to its bustling bar and dig into perfectly crafted appetizers, washed down with some of their dangerously easy-drinking cocktails. This is your perfect Friday happy hour.

The Keefer Bar

135 Keefer St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1X3

Tiny but stylish, this Chinatown bar has been distributing its “prescriptions” to those in need since 2009. Inspired by traditional apothecaries, these spiked tinctures are crafted to cure what ails you — and it’s not just the booze. Sourced from neighbourhood herbalists, these ingredients will amplify your mood and ease you into the evening.

The Diamond

6 Powell St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1E7

For a privileged view of Gastown’s five corners and an extensive list of cocktails appealing to all palates, head upstairs to this sumptuously wallpapered lounge and find a table along its northern wall. Order some small bites to absorb the bourbon/gin/rum served in appropriate stemware and groove to your Saturday night soundtrack.

Clough Club

212 Abbott St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2K8

Want a tale with your tipple? Named for John Clough, the last of Gastown’s lamplighters, this dark, moody room serves up equally dark cocktails. Legend has it Clough was one-armed; in the unlikely event those barrel-aged, spirit-forward drinks aren’t bold enough for you, the eerily unattached arm on full display just might be.

L'Abattoir Office

242-209 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2J2

Award-winning bartenders, a beautiful and airy multi-room space and innovative concoctions (both culinary and cocktail) makes this Carrall Street restaurant a much-hyped dinner destination. But come at 5:30 when the doors open and sit on Lucite stools at the bar. Always fresh, always tasty, it’s no surprise foodie magazines across North America are singing the praises of these drinks.

The Cascade Room

2616 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5T 3E6

The Cascade Room has every classic cocktail you could ever want, from mint juleps and daiquiris to old fashions and martinis. With an extensive list of over 50 mixed drinks, you may need to sit with the menu for awhile to make up your mind. The list focuses more on traditional drinks, rather than unusual trendy ones, but there is certainly something for everyone at this Main and Broadway lounge.

Guilt & Co.

1 Alexander St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1B2

You may have passed by this hidden Gastown gem a time or two unawares. Located below Chill Winston, Guilt and Co.’s underground ambiance is dark and moody, almost cave-like, but one that happens to have great live music and fantastic cocktails. With brick walls, exposed pipe, live local artists and inventive drinks such as the Rock Bottom Riser and Exile Vilify, this place is full of exciting quirks.

Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar

900 Seymour Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 0A8

UVA Wine Bar offers more than just good grapes. Where else can you find drinks that have chamomile flower vodka, rhubarb syrup or crab apple bitters? It would likely be a pretty long search, so you might as well check out this spot on Seymour Street first.

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