British Columbia Bars & Nightlife
33 Acres Brewing
15 W. 8th Ave., Mount Pleasant
33 Acres has elevated the traditionally drab taproom, infusing the space with a Scandinavian aesthetic: floor-to-ceiling windows flood the room with light, all the surfaces—walls, floors, even the counters—are stark-white, softened-up with a few hints of natural wood and greenery. Aside from the dozens of beers on tap, a full menu is available (including brunch), spotlighting the hearty foods that go so well with beer—beef stew, salty perogies, and sticky ribs.
185 Keefer St., Downtown
Juniper takes its cocktails as seriously—if not more so—than its food, and accordingly, the drinks menu changes with the seasons. Using the outdoors as inspiration, many of the cocktails are infused with the earthy, savory flavor you get from vegetables, herbs, and spices. Try the Forester—sorrel-infused gin, fir-infused vodka, green chartreuse, and sherry—for a literal taste of the lush woodlands Vancouver is so famous for. While there's a full dinner menu on offer, we prefer their bar snacks—meatballs, patatas bravas, and charcuterie—small bites that are filling enough to stave off the munchies, but not quite substantial enough to call dinner.
Main Street Brewery
261 E. 7th Ave., Mount Pleasant
Vancouver’s micro-brewery scene is booming and the ever-popular Main Street Brewery occupies one of the last-standing heritage industrial buildings in the city. The tasting room is cooly minimal—long wood communal tables, exposed brick, with a few fairy lights and plants to warm the bare-bones space up. Stop in on a Sunday afternoon, try a few beer flights, and wander down the street to equally good 33 Acres for another round.
350 Carrall St., Downtown Eastside
PiDGiN is a self-described Asian-French restaurant, but it’s the cocktails you should really show up for. As with many restaurants and bars in the city, PiDGiN’s fusion cuisine and eclectic drink menu is an ode the immigrant fabric of the city. There’s a thoughtful wine list, but given that there's an in-house sake sommelier, ordering a few shots—accompanied by some excellent snacks—is the way to go. The interior is an example of Asian restraint, super minimalist with wood acting as the main medium.
6 Powell St., Gastown
Stopping by Diamond Bar feels like having a drink at a friend’s elegant townhouse, all traces of its sordid past (it used to be a brothel) renovated out, resulting in an elegant space filled with high tables and stools, big windows, brick walls, and a twinkling chandelier. Brought to you by the same people as Wildebeest, the vibe here is casual, with a stellar playlist and local Gastown clientele. Food-wise, the menu is a mix of Asian and Cali-Mexican fare—sushi and tacos, possibly the best combination. The Donatella is the most deliciously refreshing cocktail on the list—sparkling wine, pear, lemon, and apricot, all in one glass.
Vancouver Urban Winery
55 Dunlevy Ave., Downtown Eastside
Urban Winery is exactly as described—a small-batch winery, producing hand-crafted wine from British Columbian grapes in the heart of Vancouver. The tasting room could not be more atmospheric or warm, with floor-to-ceiling booze barrels, a mix of high leather banquettes and smaller tables for cozy conversation, and soaring high ceilings. There are over thirty-five wines on tap, alongside a list featuring other Canadian producers of equal stature. Choose a glass to taste and order a few of their winter-centric plates—roasted veggies, meatballs, and fondue—all made of ingredients sourced from the finest, and most sustainable local suppliers.
157 Alexander St., Downtown Eastside
Self-described as a "modern tavern", bar owners Raya Audet and Nigel Springthorpe believe beer is just as versatile as wine and deserves the same, reverential treatment. The Alibi Room’s taps rotate on a regular basis, and include their own exclusively made brews, all served out of their heritage building space. The bar itself is huge with communal tables and minimal fuss, perfect for striking up a conversation with the beer-enthusiastic crowd that packs out the place night after night. Cocktails, wine, and small bar snacks are also available for the pint averse.