3 Must-Try Cocktail Bars In Vancouver

The beautiful city of Vancouver is known for many things – mostly rain. Every time you hear praises for one of Canada’s favorite West Coast cities, a complaint – usually from tourists – about torrential downpours and overcast skies is not far behind. If there’s one lesser known feature travelers should be talking about when it comes to the great city of Vancouver, it’s their mad mixology skills. A decent cocktail is not as easy to come by as it should be, which is why a stellar cocktail bar in a world class city is worthy of headlines.

The next time you’re thirsty on the ‘Wet’ coast, try our top 3 choices for Vancouver cocktail bars:

Keefer Bar

via lapresse.ca

The Keefer Bar is sexy, chic, elegant; a dark and narrow bar that invites patrons in with its mystique and keeps them hanging around ‘til last call with its creative cocktails, or “prescriptions.” Artistry and style are a large part of this Chinatown success, with red and black Chinese apothecary-inspired decor and a series of well crafted drinks. A shelf with jars full of roots and herbs serves as a decorative statement but also a hint at the methods behind their cocktail innovations. The Opium Sour, for example, is made with bourbon, grapefruit, tamarind and poppyseed tincture. Then there’s the Keefer 75, a popular sparkling wine cocktail made with gin and lavender syrup. Whatever your choice of poison, don’t leave without trying the Rosemary Gimlet – a blend of ice and rosemary-infused lime cordial. This drink is refreshing and bursting with flavor, a combination of mildly tart with a light sweetness. If you’re looking for a hot date spot or a classy venue to experiment with the finest cocktails in town, Keefer is your best bet.

The Diamond

via gastown.ca

Rare and exquisite, The Diamond is one of Vancouver’s most popular cocktail bars. It’s located on the second floor of a historic Gastown building that was once a brothel, overlooking the Maple Tree Square landmark. Owner Mark Brand has created a sleek and stylish space where the ambiance is cool and buzzing, dimly lit with a ready-for-the-weekend vibe. #TGIF, right? When 5:00 hits, call up your best guys and gals and make plans for an evening stop at The Diamond. Victorian-inspired exposed brick and hardwood floors make The Diamond a beauty – and premium quality drinks don’t hurt either. Order the delicious Lola cocktail or ask a bartender what’s good; they’re known for great recommendations and even better customized cocktails.

The Refinery

This downtown Granville Street hot spot is the perfect venue for meeting up with friends over drinks; as long as your friends are in the mood for something a little more complex and ambitious than rum and diet Coke. You know, something more ‘refined.’ The Refinery features phenomenal food including decadent charcuterie meat and cheese boards, but also boasts a unique menu of handcrafted cocktails – and these are drinks you’ll never get bored of. How could you, with a tequila-licious concoction called “Vote For Pedro,” a nod to cult-comedy Napoleon Dynamite? Or how about the Impromptu cocktail, where you choose the spirit and they “do the rest?” They keep it classy yet colorful at The Refinery and sophisticated palates will certainly not be disappointed.

About the Author: Courtney Gilmour


Courtney is a Toronto-based writer and editor whose work has appeared in various digital and print publications, and probably the back of your chair in high school. She is known for her ability to create a near perfect plate of nachos and her inability to properly close a pizza box.