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Vancouver nightlife guide to music, bars, clubs and comedy

From cocktails and live bands to karaoke and dance parties, Vancouver nightlife has it all

By Gerrish Lopez |
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The Cascade Room
Photograph: Flickr/Rick Chung

If you’re not worn out from tackling the best things to do in Vancouver by day, Vancouver nightlife can keep it hopping until the wee hours of the morning. Your options are varied and vast: You can grab drinks in style at an upscale cocktail bar or hidden lounge or dance the night away at one of the top clubs in Vancouver. If live entertainment is more your thing, catch a concert at a small club or large theatre, or see what stand-up or improv performances the city's comedy scene has to offer that night. The next morning, cure your hangover with the best brunch in Vancouver

RECOMMENDED: The best bars in Vancouver

Vancouver nightlife

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The Roxy
Photograph: Courtesy The Roxy

Granville Entertainment District

This official entertainment district is the place to be on weekends in Downtown Vancouver. With a number of restaurants, bars, dance clubs and other nightlife spots all within walking distance, it’s easy to make a night of it without ever leaving this seven-block stretch. Expect queues on the weekends as nightclubs like The Roxy and The Belmont Bar are packed with twenty- and thirty-somethings looking to party.

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Guilt & Co
Photograph: Flickr/Steve Louie

Guilt & Co.

Head to this cozy underground lounge in Gastown to sip cocktails and enjoy live music every night of the week. The entertainment schedule is eclectic, featuring local bands, cabaret nights, and musical improv. Shareable plates and bar snacks help make Guilt & Co. a solid all-purpose destination.

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Biltmore Cabaret vancouver
Photograph: Flickr/Rick Chung

Biltmore Cabaret

This half-century-old venue in the revitalized Mt. Pleasant neighborhood was reopened in 2007 to highlight the local music scene. The intimate, 350-person space is a great spot to catch up-and-coming bands and DJs from Vancouver, plus burlesque, comedy, retro dance parties and more.

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The Narrow Lounge

This hidden spot under a furniture store on Main Street is unmarked, in true speakeasy fashion. Look for the red light—if it’s on, the bar’s open. Head down the stairs and through a nondescript hallway to reach this hip lounge and its plush interior. With classic cocktails and elevated bar fare, your journey will be rewarded with all the makings for a sophisticated night out.

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Calabash Bistro
Photograph: Florios Demosten, Courtesy Calabash Bistro

Calabash Bistro

For a laid-back night out, Calabash is the place to chill. It’s got great Caribbean food—roti, poutine with jerk chicken, ackee, even vegan fare—but drinks, music, and dancing keep the “one love” vibe going throughout the night. Grab a Bordertown Swizzle (rum, soursop, pineapple, and tamarind) and head downstairs for smaller bands during the week and a real house party on the weekends: Fridays feature hip-hop and R&B while Saturdays bring reggae and dancehall.

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Keefer Bar
Photograph: Flickr/Rick Chung

Keefer Bar

This swanky Chinatown bar is a popular spot for pre-dinner drinks. Mixologists will cure what ails you using a menu (titled Remedies & Cures) of apothecary-inspired cocktails featuring botanicals and house-made tinctures. Thoughtful bar snacks and small plates are available to tackle hunger. Later in the evening, chill on the patio—fire pits keep it warm—and stick around for nightly entertainment, whether it’s the regular rotation of DJs or other special events.

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7
Shameful Tiki Room
Photograph: Flickr/David KAmada

The Shameful Tiki Room

This throwback to the height of the tiki era has all the right ingredients for a night out—dim lighting, tacky Polynesian decor, vintage cocktails, and the occasional ukulele player or surf band. Sip on perfectly-made Zombies and Jet Pilots, or get your friends to go for a communal bowl—the Mystery Bowl is served in a giant clamshell and is heralded with a gong. Island eats like poke and pupus help keep the effects of the potent concoctions at bay.

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The Cascade Room
Photograph: Flickr/Rick Chung

The Cascade Room

Modeled on a classic U.K. pub, this lively spot pours an array of B.C. beers on tap alongside fine cocktails, wine and upscale West Coast pub fare. There’s always something going on, whether it's a video game challenge, tap takeover, live music, or themed party. Happy hour is popular, as is the late night menu.

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Opus Bar
Photograph: Flickr/Opus Hotels

Opus Bar

One of the best hotel bars in Vancouver, this upscale haunt in Yaletown’s Opus Hotel is a nightlife destination for the chic and fashionable crowd. See and be seen with a cocktail while enjoying the sounds of top local DJs, or stop by after work for wallet-friendly drinks and bites during happy hour.

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Fortune Sound Club vancouver
Photograph: Flickr/Ben Didier

Fortune Sound Club

A state-of-the-art sound system powers the party at this Chinatown nightclub. The calendar is packed with top Canadian and international DJs spinning an eclectic mix of everything from hip-hop and R&B to techno. The club also hosts live music, a variety of themed nights and artist showcases.

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The Roxy
Photograph: Courtesy The Roxy

The Roxy Cabaret

With a prime spot in the Granville Entertainment District, this Vancouver nightlife institution has been a longtime hotspot for everyone from university kids and social twenty-somethings to visiting celebs. Live bands perform on the reg, and theme nights bring in DJs for high energy dance parties that go until 3am.

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Vancouver TheatreSports
Photograph: Courtesy Vancouver TheatreSports

Vancouver TheatreSports

For a night of laughs, head to The Improv Centre on Granville Island. With a bar and lounge overlooking False Creek, you can get your fill of drinks and snacks before or after a performance. TheatreSports offers nightly themed shows that feature improv comedy plus a competitive angle that can be as thrilling as professional sports.

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13
Funky Winker Beans
Photograph: Flickr/Megan Jones

Funky Winker Beans

Feel like being the entertainment for the night? This East Vancouver dive bar features karaoke every night of the week. The hardcore vibe means this is the spot for metalheads and punk rockers to hang. Fuel up with cheap beer then scream your heart out. 

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Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club
Photograph: Courtesy Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club

Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club

With several locations across Canada, Yuk Yuk’s has brought the laughs since 1976 and helped launch the careers of comics like Rick Moranis and Jim Carrey. Vancouver’s outpost hosts seasoned comics as well as up-and-comers. From Tuesday to Saturday, catch everything from big name guests and comedy drag shows to improv and amateur nights. Cocktails, beer, wine and snacks are available.

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Hood29

This neighborhood joint on Main Street has everything for a full night out. Enjoy the friendly vibe with a round of drinks. The menu features unpretentious bites, from naan to salads to burgers. Blues and roots jams, comedy nights and open mic nights are among the usual entertainment offerings.

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Richmond Night Market
Photograph: Flickr/mae

Richmond Night Market

For night noshing and shopping, head down to the Richmond Night Market. The largest night market in North America is open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays (and until 11pm on Sundays) from May-October. Sample foods like grilled squid, pho fries, gyozas, and roti mac and cheese at the food stalls, then shop for gifts and accessories at the retail stalls. There are games, live music and entertainment, and primo people-watching.

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