Vancouver’s best bars and music venues
Where will you find the best Vancouver nightlife spots? Begin the night in Gastown, just east of Downtown. Named after ‘Gassy Jack’ Deighton, the British seaman who opened the first saloon here, Gastown transforms at sundown from a collection of shops peddling tourist trinkets to a nightlife hub. Steamworks Brewing Company serves local beers to go with its views of the North Shore mountains. The beers are brewed using steam heat provided by the Vancouver Central Heat Company – the same company that supplies the steam for Gastown’s landmark steam clock. A Gastown institution, The Irish Heather is no sham shamrock-strewn Irish-themed bar, but an honest-to-goodness pub. It’s long been a favourite watering hole, predating Gastown’s gentrification.
For the exploding Vancouver microbrewery scene you need to head over to False Creek. The historic Salt Building plays host to the Craft Beer Market, while up the hill in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood breweries like 33 Acres Brewing Company are thriving. Buy a glass jug ‘growler’ of beer from Brassneck Brewery, or head on up Main Street to Portland Craft, inspired by the Oregon brewpub scene.
In trendy Yaletown you’ll find plenty of libations to fuel an evening out. Best of all is George Ultralounge: lit by a glowing glass sea anemone and filled with Vancouver’s pretty young things, it draws punters looking for upscale surroundings and classy, classic cocktails.
Vancouver’s music scene draws world-class acts and independent performers. Since 1929, the heart of live music in Vancouver has been the Commodore Ballroom on Granville Street, an art deco mecca for music currently under the House of Blues banner. Nearby in the Downtown area, the Railway Club is a dive of sorts, but doubles up as an excellent, intimate live music venue. And if you’re in town through June and July, don’t miss the Vancouver International Jazz Festival and the Vancouver Folk Music Festival.
33 Acres Brewing Company 15 West 8th Avenue. 604 620-4589.
Brassneck Brewery 2148 Main Street. 604 259-7686.
Commodore Ballroom 868 Granville Street. 604 739-4550.
George Ultralounge 1137 Hamilton Street. 604 628-5555.
The Irish Heather 212 Carrall Street. 604 688-9779.
Portland Craft 3835 Main Street. 604 569-2494.
The Railway Club 579 Dunsmuir Street. 604 681-1625.
Steamworks Brewing Company 375 Water Street. 604 689-2739.