Human beings are creatures of habit - this is a fact. As you'll easily discover from your day to day lives that you have a particular way you like to do things, a particular way you like to dress, and particular places you like to eat and drink.
It's easy to get into a routine, especially when you're just a working, studying busy body and hardly have the time of day to entertain the question that often leads nowhere: where do you want to eat? So we end up going to the same places where the server knows exactly what we're going to order and exactly how we like our order made.
But this is why I love discovering new places... especially if they're cool and hidden and mysterious-looking. These secret bars will transport you to a whole other world that will make you completely forget that you're even in Vancouver. Whether they take you deep into speakeasy caverns or elevate you to new city heights, these bars are definitely worth discovering and adding to your bucket list.
If you've never heard of these "hidden" bars, now is the time to go discover them. And even if you're a seasoned Vancouverite and already know this spots, it's good to be reminded of our city's gems once in a while.
Where: 555 Gore Ave // Chinatown
Hidden behind two emerald green doors and a chandelier staircase is The Emerald, a boujee but quirky lounge with a hint of "old school Vegas glamour". The space has four different rooms with their own personalities; the lounge, the dining room, the main stage, and the cabaret room.
Where: 579 Dunsmuir St // Downtown
Neon signs that say "Welcome To The West"? I'm in. This upstairs bar and lounge brings in live music from local musicians and a good crowd that knows how to vibe. And with mirrors on the ceilings and newspapers plastered in the walls, the space itself is definitely one you'll want to check out.
Where: 39 Smithe St // Crosstown
If you've had a chance to stop by Parq Vancouver lately, then you'll know of all its new luxurious restaurants and bars. In my opinion, D6 is one of the hippest ones. This rooftop bar with an indoor and outdoor space even has a hidden bookcase room - very James Bond.
Where: 1 Alexander St // Gastown
While Chill Winston may no longer be around, thank gawd Guilt & Co. still is. Descend into this basement live music lounge with a rugged cave-like design that will make you feel like you're partying inside a sultry ancient cavern. Cover is by donation.
Where: 1014 Main Street // Strathcona
Nestled beneath Bodega On Main is an intimate bar and lounge space called Gran Reserva. This cozy and rustic space is perfect for a romantic drinks with bae or a chill night with the squad. Have dinner at Bodega and keep going well into the night at Gran Reserva.
Where: 6 Powell St // Gastown
If you have yet to discover The Diamond, where have you been all this time? This second level sushi and cocktail bar features some of the most well-made drinks in Vancouver in the coziest, most adorable space that will make you feel like you're at a chic speakeasy in Brooklyn or Portland. Additionally, their Back Room plays really great hip hop.
Where: 801 W Georgia St // Downtown
With entrance doors like a dungeon and drinks that roar with the opulence of the 20s, The Prohibition is an OG Vancouver classic. This place is a secret hideaway for all your deepest desires for luxury and indulgence. Dress up in your fanciest attire, glide down their stately set of stairs into a dark room of live jazz, velvety pillows and forbidden libations. And did I mention there's an absinthe fountain?
Where: 870 Granville St // Downtown
While everyone's getting embarrassingly drunk at Venue, you're over here at The Bottleneck grabbing a pint of craft beer and keeping it classy because that's just how you roll. The entrance and the bar sign are a little small, so it's easy to miss. But the chill space is definitely worth visiting when you just want to grab a drink.
Where: 4362 Main Street // Riley Park
The Shameful Tiki Room is literally a tropical paradise in Vancouver. Not only is the decor tropical AF with tiki lights with an eclectic mix of Polynesian, Californian, Fijian vibes, the drinks are insane! I literally mean insane. They give you an entire bowl of alcohol with a flame lit in the middle, and as they serve to you, they blast some intense tiki music.
Where: 1898 Main St // Mount Pleasant
Descend into a gothic styled basement through a completely graffitied metal doorway. Bask in easy drinking and low lighting, and if you're tired of that...they've got a colourful patio that is alive with quirky lanterns and $15 buckets. The Narrow is truly a place that will take you from night to day.
Where: 1120 Hamilton St // Yaletown
Hello Goodbye's doors are seemingly unwelcoming without a visible entrance sign or glamorous lobby. But as soon as you are lured underground by the doorman, be transported to a hip subterranean oasis serving up well-crafted drinks with DJs and live music for your late night escapades.
Reflections Bar (opens April 2018)
Where: 801 W Georgia St // Downtown
If you're a sucker for a boujee garden terrace in the summertime, Reflections Bar is your spot. This sweet escape in the middle of the city is one of Vancouver's local favourites. It's only open for a limited time in the summer and winter, so make sure you call in to ask about the crowd as it can quickly get packed. Reflections is currently closed for the winter season but will soon reopen for the summer in April.