Editors’ Picks: Our 9 Favourite Vancouver Bars
Old-school cocktail bars, tiki rooms and supper clubs—here's where the VanMag editors wet their whistles.
June 26, 2017
I’ve tried to recreate the Shameful Tiki Room (4362 Main St.) experience at home, but there’s something about sipping a frothy coconut bev out of a tiki glass (I always order the Pain Killer—it’s like drinking a vacation), surrounded by bamboo and Polynesian kitsch, that can’t quite be replicated in the living room.—Stacey McLachlan, Executive Editor
I discovered the Comox Street Long Bar (1763 Comox St.) one night when my friends and I heard strains of what sounded like Pink Floyd wafting down the street. It was soon followed by the Black Eyed Peas, then the Tragically Hip, then the Knack—and our game became to guess which era and artist would be next. The Comox’s interior is ridiculously dated—there’s an incredible pink neon tube light above the bar, and the logo is very Miami Vice—but pool is still $1 per game, drinks are $5 after 10 p.m. most nights and whatever band is playing is not even remotely cool. Which makes the whole place very cool indeed.—Anicka Quin, Editorial Director
As awed as I am in temples of modern mixology, what I really love are old-school bars. And in Vancouver it doesn’t get any more old-school than Bacchus (845 Hornby St.). There are no handmade shrubs or bespoke tinctures, and the Broker’s gin martini is cold, huge, surprisingly well priced and served with a starched cocktail napkin and a bowl of bar snacks. Class—it never goes out of style.—Neal McLennan, Food Editor
From the minute I spied the Emerald Supper Club’s (555 Gore Ave.) crimson carpet staircase and crystal chandelier, I thought, “This is my kind of place.” While the cabaret stage hosts all manner of hip events, it’s the lounge—with its dark leather seats, wood detail, stone feature wall and classic cocktails on special (I’ll take the bourbon sour, thanks)—that makes this place feel like a true bar, and a rare find in a city that likes to overcomplicate its watering holes.—Jessica Barrett, senior editor
The relaxed atmosphere at Portland Craft (3835 Main St.)—high-top booths and community tables—is perfect for mid-afternoon, casual date night or pre-dinner, I-have-to-wait-for-a-table drinks. And because the beer list is always changing, I have an excuse to try something new with each visit—though it’s not often I’ll choose anything other than a fruit-based sour or malty brown ale.—Kaitlyn Gendemann, Staff Writer
My favourite spot to wind down is the 1927 Lobby Lounge in the Hotel Georgia (801 W Georgia St.). It’s quiet, secluded, intimate and romantic; the selection is broad, the servers are lovely and there always seems to be someone mysteriously interesting at the next table.—Paul Roelofs, Art Director
My partner and I love Six Acres (203 Carrall St.). They have good beer and yummy, shareable nibbles: we always order the sliders with a side of fries. It sometimes gets annoyingly loud (the small space fills up quickly), but we love it nonetheless.—Jenny Reed, Associate Art Director
Every city has to have a watering hole like The Brickhouse (730 Main St.). It’s not flashy or cosmopolitan, and it’s the kind of place a friend will take you to versus the kind you discover on some best-of listicle. Locals go here for the character and the off-the-grid, rough-around-the-edges vibes; to sit on crushed velvet thrift-store couches with built-in wooden tables, play pool or try to get a drink off the no-nonsense owner Leo (who’s often the only one tending bar). There’s a time and a place to enjoy $16 cocktails in dainty glassware, but I’m happiest here, catching up with my close friends over a cheap pint of 1516. Check it out before it gets turned into another Vancouver condo.—Julia Dilworth, Associate Editor
Head to Stateside Craft (1601 Commercial Dr.) on Thursday nights for the best general-knowledge trivia in town. They’ll have you and your team shouting out answers—especially since free pitchers of beer are at stake. It’s unfussy and balanced trivia that asks everything from “Who sang that?” to “What’s the densest non-metal on the periodic table of elements?”—Natalie Gagnon, Associate Art Director
Check back for more from our Good Libations package (our June 2017 cover story!) for more on the hottest bars, beloved local watering holes and best hangover cures.