Party on! Vancouver’s best nightlife destinations

by Lise Boullard

Whether you’re throwing a birthday party, celebrating a promotion, or you just need to unwind after work, Vancouver is home to numerous nightlife destinations for all sorts of occasions. If you’re planning a night out on the town, here are some of the city’s best craft brew pubs, speakeasies, dance floors and lounges. [Photo credit: iStock.com/AleksandarNakic]

Party on! Vancouver’s best nightlife destinations

Craft Brews and Cool Cocktails

With dozens of local craft breweries and pubs opening in Vancouver in recent years, the city offers plenty of unique and interesting places to enjoy a pint. On Commercial Drive, head to St. Augustine’s for a beer menu featuring more than 50 varieties of locally made beer (many from the renowned Parallel 49 Brewing Company), or head up the street and grab a seat at the cozy Charlatan gastro-pub. Whiskey-lovers will get a kick out of Six Acres in Gastown where there are 20 spirited labels on offer alongside comfort foods such as mac ‘n cheese, cheese and grits, and lamb meatballs. If you want to impress out-of-town guests with a wow-worthy take on the classic Canadian Caesar, take them to Score on Davie. The buzzing sports bar is home to the $60 Checkmate Caesar – a savoury cocktail served with a skewer adorned with a mini burger, hotdog, onion rings and a brownie. For a more sophisticated experience, visit The Diamond in Gastown where Old World charm meets innovative mixology. Here, expert bartenders prepare booze-forward cocktails with top-shelf liquors, artisanal bitters and unexpected ingredients.

A Low-Key Rendezvous

Dark, moody, and with stunning chandeliers, Prohibition in the basement of the Rosewood Hotel Georgia is the perfect place to escape a rainy Vancouver night. Order a mint julep, lounge on the teal velvet benches and channel your inner Gigi Montparnasse. For a clandestine meeting (or just a ladies’ night out) make a beeline for a curtained booth at the swanky Notch8 Restaurant & Bar in the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. The elegant hotel bar is a happening spot with contemporary decor that's inspired by the railroad along which Fairmont Hotels were built. If you’re after something a little more adventurous, head east to Chinatown’s Bao Bei. The self-proclaimed Chinese brasserie specializes in inventive cocktails (dried tangerine peel margarita, anyone?) and Asian fusion plates, while the crowd is impossibly hip.

Dancing the Night Away

While there seems to be a new “it” club opening in Vancouver every few months, there are a few old standbys where you’re guaranteed good music and a packed dance floor on weekend nights. For an epic, bachelorette party-worthy night out, join the crowds from all walks of life (from drag queens to rap stars) at Celebrities on Davie Street. The legendary Vancouver nightclub is famous for hosting sweaty dance parties and big-name DJs. If it’s live music and a basement-party feel you’re after, head to the The Roxy on Granville Street where the music’s loud, the crowd is lively (if a bit sloppy) and you might even spot a Canucks' player. Want to take a trip to Jamaica for the evening? Hit Calabash Bistro where you’ll swear you’ve been swept away to a land far, far away. The two-level restaurant and bar is decorated with authentic-kitsch Jamaican art and the music is reggae-fabulous. Stay past 11:00 pm when tables get pushed aside and the basement is transformed into an Island inspired party in the city with a live DJ, Rastafarians and all.

Celebrating a Special Occasion

One of the best things about Vancouver is the city’s stunning natural setting. Thankfully, the restaurants and bars in Coal Harbour take full advantage of the surrounding scenic beauty. Rooftop lounge Lift Bar Grill View and Cardero’s on the waterfront are both perfect places to enjoy a glass of chilled Okanagan wine while taking in views of Stanley Park and watching the sun go down behind the North Shore mountains. West Coast seafood dishes and steaks are excellent at both spots, too. For something a little more inland, try Happy Hour (on from 4:00 to 6:00 pm) at The Flying Pig in Yaletown, Gastown or Olympic Village; $5 glasses of wine and the Sriracha BBQ chicken drumsticks are sure to make you very happy indeed. Later on in the evening, visit the award-winning YEW Seafood Restaurant + Bar for their reverse Happy Hour deals on food and drink from 8:00 to 11:00 pm nightly.

Hit one (or three) of these spots on your next night out in Vancouver and you’ll wonder how anyone ever dubbed it No Fun City.

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