Where to find the best Old Fashioned cocktail in Vancouver

One of America’s favourite vintage cocktails, the Old Fashioned has experienced a newfound popularity in recent years, thanks in part of course to one Donald Draper. The simple-yet-sophisticated libation features bourbon whiskey, bitters and sugar, with a citrusy orange-slice garnish and an optional cherry on top. You’ll find timeless tipples and a few modern variations at these fine Vancouver watering holes.

The Diamond

6 Powell St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1E7

The one-of-a-kind libations at this Gastown cocktail bar are anything but basic. The lengthy list of booze-forward bevvies is certainly worth perusing; these creative concoctions could easily sway even the most steadfast traditionalist. That said, if you’re craving a classic Old Fashioned the expert mixologists behind the bar will be happy to comply. Tucked away in a second-floor space with exposed brick walls and sparkling ceiling chandeliers, The Diamond has a prohibition-era feel that makes it a great spot for a cozy date. You’ll be surprised by the easy-going and unpretentious vibe here given the serious specialty cocktails in rotation.

The Union

219 Union St, Vancouver, BC V6A 2B2

You might not expect to find a genuine Old Fashioned at a hip Chinatown restaurant known for its Asian fusion dishes, but hear us out. The Union has notable street cred when it comes to its inventive cocktail program, and its Eastern-inspired riff on the traditional Old Fashioned is definitely a must-try. The Pandan Fashioned delivers a tasty mix of bourbon, bitters, calamansi (a small citrus fruit from the Philippines) and plant-based pandan syrup. The boozy thirst-quencher pairs well with the Asian street-food menu, which features tasty appetizers, rice and noodle bowls, and Vietnamese bánh mì sandwiches.

Hawksworth Restaurant

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

If Donald Draper were a real-life Vancouverite, you just know you’d find him sipping after-work cocktails at Hawksworth. Fictional musings aside, there’s nothing imaginary about the expertly crafted beverages on offer at this sophisticated hotel bar. The lounge-like space has an elegant appeal with its vintage-inspired decor and leather banquette seating, but the loud, lively atmosphere keeps it from feeling stuffy. Order a classic Old Fashioned or try the signature Old Cuban, made with Havana Club rum and angostura bitters mixed with lime, mint and bubbles. If you’re feeling hungry, the KFC (Korean-fried cauliflower) is a popular crowd pleaser.

Clough Club

212 Abbott St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2K8

Named after John Clough, the first lamplighter of Vancouver’s historic Gastown neighbourhood, this modern-day whiskey den from the Donnelly Group specializes in dark spirits, barrel-aged cocktails, house-made bar snacks and live music. The Old Fashioned – priced at just $7 during Happy Hour – is made with Wild Turkey 81 bourbon, angostura bitters, sugar, water and orange. Come early to snag a spot at the marble-topped bar to watch the talented mixologists in action.

The Cascade Room

2616 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5T 3E6

This dimly lit Mount Pleasant local draws crowds throughout the week with its well-priced Happy Hour specials and extensive cocktail list. Sweet, citrusy and strong, The Cascade Room’s Old Fashioned definitely won’t disappoint. The potent drink features orange and lemon zests muddled with cane sugar and bitters that are then gently stirred over ice with a generous 2 oz. pour of bourbon. The food menu leans towards upscale bar snacks and pub fare – think Scotch eggs, smoked pork shoulder, Southern fried chicken – and there’s usually a game on the TV for sports fans.

The Keefer Bar

135 Keefer St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1X3

We can assure you that the aptly named Bold Fashioned here lives up to its confident title. Best described as a Chinatown-apothecary-meets-hip-cocktail-lounge, The Keefer Bar pours premium drinks and hosts live DJs throughout the week. The aforementioned Bold Fashioned is a strong concoction made with Wild Turkey bourbon, house bitters and a sweet coconut gomme syrup, which gives the drink a full, silky texture. Pop in on weeknights for a chilled-out local vibe or visit on the weekends for a rowdier party-like atmosphere. Thursday nights feature live burlesque performances for those who like a little cabaret with their cocktails.

L'Abattoir Office

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

Nothing is ever ordinary at L’Abbatoir, the Gastown hotspot known for its carnivorous food menu and experimental cocktails. As such, the Old Fashioned here has been reimagined as a rum-based drink. Made with Appleton VX, seven-year angostura bitters, Panama Red 108 and sugar, the potent drink is designed for slow sipping. If you prefer the taste of bourbon, ordering the Donald Draper is a no-brainer. A Mad Men inspired original, this boozy tipple features Buffalo Trace bourbon with Cocchi Americano, Abricot du Roussillon liqueur, absinthe and a dash of Peychaud’s Bitters – stirred and served in a chilled cocktail glass.

West Restaurant + Bar

2881 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3J4

Award-winning mixologist David Wolowidnyk helms the bar at this renowned Vancouver restaurant, so it should come as no surprise that his classic Old Fashioned is a local legend. The recipe – updated from the Savoy Hotel’s version first created in 1933 – features Knob Creek bourbon, bitters, sugar, lemon and orange zest and a liquor-soaked griottine cherry. Prices at the Granville Street fine-dining destination are in keeping with the high quality, so this spot is best reserved for a special occasion.

Six Acres

203 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2J2

A perennial favourite among Happy Hour enthusiasts, Six Acres is a cozy spot to hide away for the evening. Nestled inside Vancouver’s oldest brick building, this lively bar has a warm and inviting vibe, with friendly staff, tasty bar snacks and plenty of familiar cocktail choices. Classically prepared Old Fashioneds are a straightforward blend of bourbon, bitters, orange and raw sugar. That said, the international whiskey selection here is definitely impressive, with bottles from Ireland, Scotland, Canada and the U.S.; so don’t be afraid to ask the barkeep to prepare your drink with the booze of your choosing.

Granville Room

957 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1L3

It might not be ground-breaking, but the Granville Room’s straightforward Old Fashioned will certainly get the job done, and at a seriously good price. Knob Creek bourbon, angostura bitters, sugar, water and orange are combined for a classic finish. If whiskey isn’t your thing, bartenders are happy to substitute tequila or rum as an alternative. Visit during happy hour on weekdays from 5:00 to 7:00 pm or anytime on Mondays to score these potent libations for just $7.

Tuc Craft Kitchen

60 Cordova St W, Vancouver, BC V6B 1C9

This modern tavern on West Cordova is a dependable choice for a night out. The multileveled space has high ceilings and all the standard industrial-chic decor elements: reclaimed barn boards, salvaged tin, and an oversized vintage sign suspended from the ceiling. Old Fashioneds are made in a traditional style with your choice of whiskey and are priced accordingly: try eight-year Basil Hayden ($13), Eagle Rare ($15) or Bookers ($16). Chef Roy Flemming’s seasonal menu features elevated comfort foods and farm-to-table favourites. The Cabernet-braised beef cheeks, served with creamy gratin potatoes, are a decadent indulgence on a cold night.

Tourism Vancouver’s annual Dine Out Vancouver Festival is back this winter from January 19th to February 4th. The 17-day culinary festival will see some of the city’s hottest restaurants serving an array of mouth-watering prix-fixe menus. If you want to take your significant other for a special meal, plan a date night at one of these romantic eateries. [Photo courtesy of Boulevard/Leila Kwok]
Tourism Vancouver’s Dine Out Vancouver Festival is back this winter from January 19th to February 4th. The 17-day culinary event will see some of the city’s top restaurants serving mouth-watering prix-fixe menus for lunch and dinner. If you’re looking for a kid-approved spot with a casual atmosphere and plenty of choices for picky eaters, book a table at these family-friendly restaurants. [Photo courtesy of Bufala]
Tourism Vancouver’s annual Dine Out Vancouver Festival is back this winter from January 19th to February 4th. The 17-day culinary event provides foodies with a great opportunity to eat at Vancouver’s most acclaimed restaurants for less. If you want an upscale meal in an elegant setting, these high-end spots deliver a great bang for your buck. [Photo courtesy of YEW Seafood + Bar]
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