Vancouver

Vancouver might be best-known for its outdoors activities but this hip, young, innovative city delivers plenty of entertainment once the sun goes down.

Gone are the days of prohibition-era liquor laws (well, most, anyway) and the general loosening of regulations has helped liven up the city after dark. When you add in a surge of modern craft breweries, wine bars implementing the latest technology, a lively mix of festivals throughout the year, and the inspiration of a fantastic wine region nearby (the Okanagan),Vancouver's nightlife scene looks as fit as any seawall runner.

In nice weather, Vancouver is all about the patios—preferably waterfront. Otherwise, the younger set migrates to dance clubs while more laid-back types gather in friendly pubs (perhaps to watch the hockey game), live music venues hosting up-and-coming stars, and splashy cocktail bars where savvy mixologists cultivate city-wide followings.

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  • 1. Alibi Room

    Gastown

    If beer is your thing, head to Alibi, which specializes in pairing beer with your meal. Kegs of microbrews from around BC and beyond are...

    If beer is your thing, head to Alibi, which specializes in pairing beer with your meal. Kegs of microbrews from around BC and beyond are the pride and joy here and it's known for having one of the best selections of craft beers in Vancouver. There are also organic wines and a few fun cocktails if you're not feeling beer-inclined.

    157 Alexander St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6A 1B8, Canada
    604-623–3383
  • 2. Long Table Distillery

    Downtown

    A 14-foot communal table crafted from a redwood plank is the heart of this tasting room and distillery, which produces small-batch gins, vodka, and special...

    A 14-foot communal table crafted from a redwood plank is the heart of this tasting room and distillery, which produces small-batch gins, vodka, and special liqueurs. The house-made spirits are the basis of excellent cocktails, and though the tasting room has fairly limited hours (Friday for gin and tonics, Thursday and Saturday for cocktails), the family charm makes the experience a worthwhile treat. Plan ahead, as it's closed Sunday to Wednesday.

    1451 Hornby St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6Z 1W8, Canada
    604-266--0177
  • 3. Tap & Barrel

    Downtown

    The 360-degree views from this convention center patio take in Stanley Park, the seaplane terminal, and the North Shore Mountains. You can sit inside, amid...

    The 360-degree views from this convention center patio take in Stanley Park, the seaplane terminal, and the North Shore Mountains. You can sit inside, amid the wooden casks of wine, but waiting for a seat on the deck is worth it if the weather even hints at sunshine. There's another location—and similarly large patio—on False Creek (75 Athlete's Way), and yet another at North Vancouver's Shipyards district with equally stunning harbor views on a giant patio.

    1055 Canada Pl., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6C 0C3, Canada
    604-235–9827
  • 4. The Keefer Bar

    Chinatown

    The Keefer Bar has fully capitalized on its Chinatown connection, using ingredients sourced from local herbalists (magnolia bark anyone?)—ginseng, tea-based tinctures, or astragalus root, for...

    The Keefer Bar has fully capitalized on its Chinatown connection, using ingredients sourced from local herbalists (magnolia bark anyone?)—ginseng, tea-based tinctures, or astragalus root, for example. Small plates of Asian dishes make good nibbling. The decor is dark and red, with hanging cylindrical neon lights that layer a sultry, hidden vibe over nights of live music and DJs.

    135 Keefer St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6A 1X3, Canada
    604-688–1961
  • 5. The Sandbar

    Granville Island

    With a seafood restaurant, a sushi bar, and live music nightly (piano Sunday to Thursday; rotating acts Friday and Saturday) in the wine bar, this...

    With a seafood restaurant, a sushi bar, and live music nightly (piano Sunday to Thursday; rotating acts Friday and Saturday) in the wine bar, this venue has something for everyone. For dramatic views over False Creek, reserve a table on the rooftop patio, which is open year-round. Make sure to try their to-die-for crab cake!

    1535 Johnson St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6H 3R9, Canada
    604-669–9030
  • 6. Vancouver TheatreSports League

    Granville Island

    Since 1980, this award-winning theater troupe has been performing hilarious improv. Catch a show before an enthusiastic crowd Wednesday to Saturday evenings (January–June), and during...

    Since 1980, this award-winning theater troupe has been performing hilarious improv. Catch a show before an enthusiastic crowd Wednesday to Saturday evenings (January–June), and during the second half of the year (July–December, including the holiday season), VTS performs Tuesdays through Sunday evenings, plus some weekend matinees in the holiday season. The rookie showcase on Sunday can be entertaining.

    1502 Duranleau St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6H 3S4, Canada
    604-738-7013
  • 7. 33 Acres Brewing Company

    Mt. Pleasant

    This bright tasting room attracts creatives and techies who work in this once industrial, now trendy neighborhood. A crowded layout of communal tables creates a...

    This bright tasting room attracts creatives and techies who work in this once industrial, now trendy neighborhood. A crowded layout of communal tables creates a very social feel, and potent house-brewed beers (with happy monikers like 33 Acres of Sunshine) are served up in charming Weck canning jars. The small selection of bready nibbles features local producers, plus there’s a rotating selection of food trucks on the doorstep.

    15 W. 8th Ave., Vancouver, British Columbia, V5Y 1M8, Canada
    604-620–4589
  • 8. Bacchus

    Downtown

    Always an elegant choice, the lounge at Bacchus, in the Wedgewood Hotel, is a gathering place for Vancouver's movers and shakers. There's music every evening,...

    Always an elegant choice, the lounge at Bacchus, in the Wedgewood Hotel, is a gathering place for Vancouver's movers and shakers. There's music every evening, as well as classic cocktails.

    845 Hornby St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6Z 2H7, Canada
    604-608–5319
  • 9. Backstage Lounge

    Granville Island

    Local bands and solo artists of varying genres—from jazz to tribute bands—perform most nights. Even though the music is hit or miss, the drink specials...

    Local bands and solo artists of varying genres—from jazz to tribute bands—perform most nights. Even though the music is hit or miss, the drink specials are cheap and reliable.

    1585 Johnston St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6H 3R9, Canada
    604-687–1354
  • 10. Bar None

    Yaletown

    Once you hit Bar None you never really have to leave Yaletown. This longtime favorite is the place to get your groove on after dinner...

    Once you hit Bar None you never really have to leave Yaletown. This longtime favorite is the place to get your groove on after dinner and drinks. Wide wood beams, exposed brick, and trendy lighting give it that Yaletown warehouse history-meets-hip feel. Celebrated Vancouver DJs spin house and electronica on weekend nights, and international stars sometimes take over as well.

    1222 Hamilton St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B 2S8, Canada
    604-689–7000
  • 11. Biercraft

    Commercial Drive

    With more than 50 Belgian, craft, and draft beers, the drinks menu here is a lengthy read. There are wine and cocktails, as well as...

    With more than 50 Belgian, craft, and draft beers, the drinks menu here is a lengthy read. There are wine and cocktails, as well as plenty of snacks, from mussels to tacos and burgers as well. A street-side patio is perfect for watching life pass by on eclectic Commercial Drive when the weather's good. More suds are on tap at two other Biercraft locations, at 3305 Cambie St., and in the Wesbrook Village on the UBC campus.

    1191 Commercial Dr., Vancouver, British Columbia, V5L 3X2, Canada
    604-254–2437
  • 12. Biltmore Cabaret

    Mt. Pleasant

    A favorite hangout for dance parties and live music, the Biltmore Cabaret hosts a mix of DJs, local bands, international performers, and stand-up comedy. It's...

    A favorite hangout for dance parties and live music, the Biltmore Cabaret hosts a mix of DJs, local bands, international performers, and stand-up comedy. It's a casual spot that comes with a half century of history as a public house.

    2755 Prince Edward St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V5T 0A9, Canada
    604-676–0541
  • 13. Brassneck Brewery

    Mt. Pleasant

    Long, lean, and creatively wood-paneled, this is among a fresh crop of Mount Pleasant breweries leading East Vancouver's craft beer resurgence. The brewery operations dictate...

    Long, lean, and creatively wood-paneled, this is among a fresh crop of Mount Pleasant breweries leading East Vancouver's craft beer resurgence. The brewery operations dictate the layout, and the tasting room’s communal tables attract a dedicated after-work crowd for pints, flights, and growler fills.

    2148 Main St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V5T 3C5, Canada
    604-259–7686
  • 14. Bridges

    Granville Island

    This bright yellow landmark near the Granville Public Market has a cozy nautical-theme pub and the city's biggest marina-side deck. In warm weather the outdoor...

    This bright yellow landmark near the Granville Public Market has a cozy nautical-theme pub and the city's biggest marina-side deck. In warm weather the outdoor seating has breathtaking views of the harbor, mountains, and city.

    1696 Duranleau St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6H 3R9, Canada
    604-687–4400
  • 15. Cascade Room

    Mt. Pleasant

    Evoking the vibe of a 1950s British cocktail bar, this busy nightspot attracts a loyal crowd with its signature blends, cocktails on tap (try the...

    Evoking the vibe of a 1950s British cocktail bar, this busy nightspot attracts a loyal crowd with its signature blends, cocktails on tap (try the boozy slushy), and local microbrews. The upscale pub menu riffs on classic Sunday roasts, pot pies, and Scotch eggs, along with charcuterie and veggie snacks.

    2616 Main St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V5T 3E6, Canada
    604-709–8650
  • 16. Celebrities

    West End

    True to its name, this gay hot spot has had celeb cred since the 1980s. Expect to find a young, scantily clad crowd bumping and...

    True to its name, this gay hot spot has had celeb cred since the 1980s. Expect to find a young, scantily clad crowd bumping and grinding to club hits, house, electronic, and Top 40 on a huge dance floor equipped with the latest in sound, lighting, and visuals. Men and women are welcome.

    1022 Davie St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6E 1M3, Canada
    604-681–6180
  • 17. Commodore Ballroom

    Downtown

    This 1929 dance hall has been restored to its art deco glory, complete with massive dance floor and state-of-the-art sound system. Indie rock bands and...

    This 1929 dance hall has been restored to its art deco glory, complete with massive dance floor and state-of-the-art sound system. Indie rock bands and renowned DJs play here most nights.

    868 Granville St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6Z 1K3, Canada
    604-739–4550
  • 18. Craft Beer Market

    Olympic Village

    The stats at this massive beer hall in the historic Salt Building are impressive: 100 draft beer taps, one of Canada's biggest selections of draft...

    The stats at this massive beer hall in the historic Salt Building are impressive: 100 draft beer taps, one of Canada's biggest selections of draft beers, and space for 450 kegs in the keg room (that's up to 26,000 liters or 6,900 gallons). The kitchen does a good job with generous portions of burgers, sandwiches, and other pub standards while the patio on Olympic Village Square makes for great summertime people-watching.

    85 West 1st Ave., Vancouver, British Columbia, V5Y 0C4, Canada
    604-709–2337
  • 19. Dockside Restaurant

    Granville Island

    Overlooking False Creek and Yaletown, the Dockside's patio is the big draw, especially for owners of chic yachts moored alongside. Because it faces east, sunsets...

    Overlooking False Creek and Yaletown, the Dockside's patio is the big draw, especially for owners of chic yachts moored alongside. Because it faces east, sunsets are behind the building and cool shadows come early, so grab a table beneath a heater. Floor-to-ceiling windows make the inside feel like the outside with decor that exudes a modern vibe and includes a 50-foot aquarium. House-brewed ales and lagers are served from the adjoining casual brewpub.

    1253 Johnston St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6H 3R9, Canada
    604-685–7070
  • 20. Falconetti's East Side Grill

    Commercial Drive

    The second-floor patio at Falconetti's has the best neighborhood views, and it's where a diverse crowd of locals-in-the-know take in the laid-back Drive vibe. Downstairs,...

    The second-floor patio at Falconetti's has the best neighborhood views, and it's where a diverse crowd of locals-in-the-know take in the laid-back Drive vibe. Downstairs, you're likely to catch an indie folk band or experimental group performing. There are plenty of food options, too; a gourmet sausage from the adjoining butcher shop is a good bet.

    1812 Commercial Dr., Vancouver, British Columbia, V5N 4A5, Canada
    778-957-7773

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