Vancouver is a city that loves its cocktails! Over the last 15 years, Vancouver's cocktail scene has grown exponentially, driven by both Vancouver's high-end food culture (our restaurants are among the best in the world) and by rising stars in bartending/mixology who have created world-renowned original cocktails. One example: David Wolowidnyk of West Restaurant created the "Passage to India" cocktail that was served at the Slumdog Millionaire Oscar party!
The best cocktail bars are more than just delicious drinks; they also have to have a unique atmosphere, great location and feel exciting even when all you're ordering is tonic-and-lime.
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Part of Mark Brand's mini-empire of Gastown bars and restaurants--Brand also owns Boneta and Save-on-Meats--The Diamond is easily one of the coolest Vancouver cocktail bars. Located on the second floor of a historic Gastown building that was once a brothel and overlooking Gastown's landmark Maple Tree Square, The Diamond is sleek, urban and extremely stylish.
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Located across the street from The Diamond, the ultra-cool L'Abattoir is both one of the best restaurants in Gastown and one of the best Vancouver cocktail bars: sophisticated, chic and very stylish. It's also home to award-winning original cocktails that are among the best in the city.
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Yaletown--in particular Mainland Street and Hamilton Street--is the epicenter for upscale nightlife in Vancouver; restaurant/bars like Bar None and UVA Wine Bar (see below) are all see-and-be-seen hotspots. But the ultimate bar for celebrity-watching cocktails is the OPUS Bar at the OPUS hotel, where famous faces (and the occasional Canuck) are the norm and everyone looks fantastic, darling.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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Cascade Room on Main Street in Mount Pleasant
Boasting an impressive array of beers as well as cocktails, the Cascade Room is a neighborhood bar that feels like it encapsulates the neighborhood itself: it has the same laid-back energy of Main Street/SoMa. Now more people-in-their-30s-and-40s-with-kids-who-used-to-be-hipster than hipster, the Cascade Room is a great spot for drinks with friends and one of the most relaxed Vancouver cocktail bars.
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One of Vancouver's top 5 Restaurants with a view is also one of the best Vancouver cocktail bars: A revolving restaurant with 360-degree views, Cloud 9 is one of my favorite places to for after-dinner cocktails. Grab a window seat and enjoy incredible views in a swank, piano-bar atmosphere.
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Situated in the heart of the Granville Street nightlife district, The Refinery offers a huge range of original cocktails and is an ideal jumping-off spot for a night spent exploring Vancouver's best nightclubs (most of which are on Granville Street).
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Voted Best Wine Bar by the Georgia Straight every year from 2010 to 2015, Vancouver's UVA Wine Bar is a sophisticated alternative to the typical pick-up bar and one of Vancouver's go-to spots for getting drinks with friends or with someone special. Popular with a diverse crowd, it also made my list of Vancouver's best nightlife for people 40+.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Sean Heather's flagship restaurant/bar is a neighborhood institution in Gastown. Unlike The Diamond or L'Abattoir, the Irish Heather is a throwback to old-fashioned, hard-drinking pubs--whiskey-lovers should check out the on-site Whiskey Shebeen for the largest selection of whiskeys in Vancouver. Though it's more of a bar-bar than a cocktail bar, the Irish Heather makes this list of top Vancouver cocktail bars for being one of the best places to grab a drink in the city, period.
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