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Six watering holes with the neighbourhood’s best bevies.
Gastown is my go-to neighbourhood when it comes to top-tier cocktails. Sure, in the summer I can be found sipping something fruity on a patio—but these bars offer such unique and well-made drinks that even I (a California-born sun baby at heart) will forgo the outdoors for something a little more intimate.
Whether you’re looking for a themed cocktail lounge, live music, or a spot where you can order something spirit-driven while your friends sip on craft brews—the following six locations will help bring the happy to your hour, whether it’s sunny or not.
We’re Vancouverites, we love a secret bar. We’re Vancouverites, we love a theme. Arcana Spirit Lounge is the city’s newest speakeasy-style lounge with an occult meets 1930s France vibe, all found behind a Pet Psychic façade. The cocktails are inspired by the Major Arcana of the Tarot deck, complete with supernatural details like pentagram-stamped ice, of course. arcanabar.com
Address: 238 Abbott St.
Hours: 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday; closed Monday and Tuesday
An industry fave, Pourhouse is as beloved for its antique furnishings as it is for the drinks it serves. With two volumes of shaken, stirred, and built cocktails, you’re never without a well-crafted version of the classics. But their Old Fashioned is particularly delicious, especially in the 1910s-inspired room. Hot tip: their burger is out of this world. pourhousevancouver.com
Address: 162 Water St.
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday
The rumors are true—with no reservations, you do have to employ some strategy to snag a table at Guilt and Co. But once you’re inside the underground bar you enter the world of live music and cocktails made with locally crafted spirits (think Odd Society Prospector rye whisky in their Manhattan). guiltandcompany.com
Address: 1 Alexander St. (Underground)
Hours: 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday; 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday; 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday
Alibi Room might be known for its extensive craft beer list, but cocktail lovers can get in on the fun, too. Creative drinks like the Mainland Shaft (Vodka, RumChata, Copa de Oro, cold brew, cinnamon) and an on-tap happy hour Negroni make it a Gastown must-drink. alibi.ca
Address: 157 Alexander St.
Hours: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, and Sunday; 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. Friday and Saturday; closed Monday
From the people behind Gastown’s best secret patio, Chuptio (which deserves to be on this list, but alas, is seasonal), Cantina 189 serves distinctly Mexican-inspired cocktails. Think hoja santa, cacao, and horchata-infused gin over crushed ice. Plus, their moody, dimly lit space is a cozy respite from the forever rain of spring. cantina189.com
Address: 324 W Hastings St.
Hours: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday, Monday, and Thursday; 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday; closed Tuesday and Wednesday
L’Abbattoir is best known for its exceptional French-inspired West Coast cuisine, but who’s to say you can’t cozy up at the bar for an artfully crafted nightcap? Their cocktails change seasonally, so you can always expect something new and intriguing. Right now, the Juicy with rum, Campari, pineapple foam, tonka, and citrus (that’s clarified with milk) sounds like a burst of sunshine on a cloudy day. labattoir.ca
Address: 217 Carrall St.
Hours: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday; closed Monday