Straight up and dirty, or shaken with a twist? We’re talking cocktail lounges here, and Vancouver’s flourishing bar scene has more and more venues for excellent imbibing these days. The trend has attracted top-notch bartenders from all over the world to Vancouver’s hotel lounges, where they take drink-mixing to a new heights. If you’re up for a night out, be sure to try one of these luxe hotel lounges.
Try to nab one of the cozy chairs by the ultra-modern fireplace, the hottest spot (literally!) to enjoy live music six nights a week at this Vancouver cocktail lounge. Sushi and chilled seafood towers are a cool complement to the many handcrafted cocktails. Pay homage to the true north strong and free with the Sugar Shack Sour, a heady mix of Canadian whisky, maple syrup, lemon and egg white.
• Lobby Lounge, Fairmont Pacific Rim, 1038 Canada Place, 604-695-5300, website
Xi Shi Lounge
Get a slice of Shanghai in this chic Asian-themed cocktail lounge in Vancouver’s Shangri-La hotel, where servers don traditional cheongsams and live musicians play nightly. An inspired cocktail makes a delightful accompaniment to a decadent dessert such as an ice cream sundae.
• Xi Shi Lounge, Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver, 1128 W. Georgia St., 604-689-1120, website
Several celebrities have passed through this classy English-style club recently, attracted to its classic setting of tapestries and mahogany furniture. If you’re hoping to see Ben Affleck, Kim Cattrall or Robert Pattinson, stake out a spot in an overstuffed leather chair, order a flight of scotch whiskeys and wait.
• Gerard Lounge, Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver, 845 Burrard St., 604-682-5511, website
The Keefer Bar
This Chinatown haunt is located in the luxurious Keefer Suites, where boutique rooms available for short- or long-term rent. Bartender extraordinaire Danielle Tatarin concocts apothecary-style drinks called “prescriptions,” prepared with house-made tinctures and bitters. The Asian-fusion bites on the menu are worth testing, especially the Peking duck sliders and braised porky belly tacos with edamame spread.
• The Keefer Bar, The Keefer Suites, 135 Keefer St., 604-688-1983, website
Vancouver’s stylish set flock to this bright cocktail lounge for good company, tasty small plates and cool cocktails. Some of the libations are infused with pure organic essential oils, including lavender or grapefruit. If your tastes run more traditional, order a bottle of champagne for the table instead.
• OPUS Bar, OPUS Hotel, 350 Davie St., 604-642-0557, website
1927 Lobby Lounge
Settle in for an elegant evening in this soothing cocktail bar, called 1927 for the year the Hotel Georgia originally opened in Vancouver. There’s even a cocktail on the menu that’s named after the hotel—the 1940s-era drink is a must-try, made with gin, orgeat syrup, lemon juice, egg white, orange blossom water and nutmeg.
• 1927 Lobby Lounge, Rosewood Hotel Georgia, 801 W. Georgia St., 604-682-5566, website
900 West Lounge
This Vancouver cocktail lounge serves an elaborate afternoon tea service, but churns out classic drinks when the evening rolls around. Relax in a wingback chair under the massive chandelier, listen to live jazz and sample small bites from the tapas menu. An elegant bar space calls for an equally elegant libation, so go retro and order a Moscow Mule.
• 900 West Lounge, Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, 900 W. Georgia St., 604-684-3131, website