22 July 2018

5 hottest bars in Vancouver
Don't miss these awesome cocktail bars. The hottest places to unwind after dark.
A dramatic space that’s big enough to park an aircraft in, partially due to the soaring 26-foot ceilings, nevertheless retains a cozy feeling amongst its ritzy furnishings. Elbow up to the bar and perch on a stool or plunk yourself down on one of the sleek couches to try what may be a first in Vancouver’s cocktail culture. Head bartender Justin Taylor is working on YEW’s barrel-aged cocktail program where certain pre-mixed drinks are aged in specific barrels. But barrel-aged or not, YEW’s cocktail line-up is ever inventive and global in its reach whether it’s a Brazilian Caipirinha you’re after or a Moscow Mule.
It’s the handcrafted signature cocktails that really sing and just reading the descriptions is like poetry on the page. For poetry on the plate, look no further than the bar food menu with one of YEW’s seafood towers or more along snack lines lobster tacos, chicken wings coated in garam masala and honey or a surf and turf charcuterie platter. 
Tel: +1 604-692-4939 www.yewseafood.com/
Keefer Bar
You won’t find any TV screens or your typical bar drinks at the Keefer. The long, dark room has an exotic vibe that’s a cross between a Chinese apothecary shop and an opium den. This room feels modern and ancient at the same time. Danielle Tatarin, general manager works with her team to dream up some of the most mysterious and delicious cocktails (called prescriptions on the menu) this side of the Pacific.
Using house-made bitters, syrups and teas in their pre-Prohibition inspired drinks, this is mixology at its finest, meshing far-off worlds with local ingredients. Equally transporting are the Asian-inspired food offerings -- Lapsang smoked pork sliders, Peking duck tacos or peanut chicken skewers.
Tel: +1 604-688-1961 http://thekeeferbar.com/index.php
Kasey Wilson is a food and travel writer, broadcaster and author. She is editor of Best Places Vancouver; executive producer and co-host of AM650¹s Best of Food & Wine and author of ten non-fiction books. Wilson was inducted into the British Columbia Restaurant Hall of Fame and is a judge for The World¹s 50 Best Restaurants.
Pacific Rim Lobby Lounge & Raw Bar
This setting is so snazzy you’ll forget that you’re sitting in a hotel lobby. It’s fun to watch the beautiful people pass by while sipping an elegant handcrafted cocktail, snacking on sushi and listening to someone in a tux tickle the ivories. The Pacific Rim is a showpiece hotel and the lobby lounge in a shimmering glass, steel and marble atrium is a showstopper of a space. A huge freestanding ultra-sleek gas fireplace, comfortable plush seats and an off-to-the-side sushi bar complete the picture. The lounge offers a nice twist on the great Corpse Reviver cocktail as well as making a fine rendition of Hemingway’s favourite concoction, Death in the Gulf Stream. The spirits listings are impressive with all the usual bigwig suspects plus a few surprises, but what is really awe-inspiring is the saké stockpile. It certainly goes well with the incredible raw bar sushi and sashimi menu.
Tel: +1 604-695-5502 www.fairmont.com/pacific-rim-vancouver/

The Pourhouse
When you have a 38-foot bar built from 120 year-old planks of Douglas Fir, I guess you can say this place is serious about their drinks. It’s a beautiful space housed in a 1910 Gastown building fitted with all the trappings of the Victorian era. Gold leafing, textured wallpaper but a bit of a steam punk feel as a nod to the 21st century. It’s a small but invigorating cocktail list but the bartenders here are ever ready to mix you up your heart’s desire and the wine, beer and single malt whiskey selections are eclectic, innovative for food pairing and downright satisfying. On the food front, besides the lighter snacks or classics like bangers and mash or pork chop with spaetzle, the Pourhouse Burger is truly a masterwork of beef, bun and fixings.
Tel: +1 604-568-7022 www.pourhousevancouver.com/
The Diamond
The Diamond is housed on the second floor of a heritage Gastown building overlooking Maple Leaf Square. The fact that many moons ago it was once a brothel only adds to its seductive charms. The cocktails don’t hurt either. Brick walls, wood plank floors and huge picture windows counterbalanced with spiffy modern furnishings make for an atmospheric second-storey speakeasy space that meshes the historic with the hip. Cocktails are listed under different headings like Boozy, Refreshing, Delicate and Proper so you’re sure to find a cocktail to suit your every mood or whim. For food the kitchen leans towards south of the border with a variety of tacos and other Mexican-themed plates offered.
Tel: +1 604-568-8272 www.di6mond.com/
By Kasey Wilson
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