Vancouver’s Best Bartenders
Along with some of the most spectacular scenery of any city in North America, Vancouver offers a lively, vibrant bar and nightlife scene that runs the gamut from historic and nostalgic to trendy and contemporary.
Many establishments boast award-winning bartenders and mixologists who have designed their very own cocktail programs and can – based on your own personal tastes and preferences – craft a drink uniquely for you. Whether you are interested in an evening bar crawl or just want to kick back and relax in a place with great ambiance, drinks, and music, here are some of the best bars and bartenders in the beautiful city of Vancouver.
Robyn Gray – Prohibition
You don’t have to go any further than the Rosewood Hotel Georgia for great drinks in an intimate, cozy atmosphere. Located in the lower level of the hotel, Prohibition evokes the carefree decadence of a Roaring Twenties speakeasy, when the liquor was outlawed and the parties lasted until the sun came up. On Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Robyn is busy mixing up vintage drinks from that glamourous decade as well as creating his own innovative and unique cocktails.
Patrick and Jonah – Reflections
Located within the inner courtyard of the Rosewood’s fourth floor, Reflections: The Garden Terrace is a chic outdoor lounge centered around two large Japanese Maple Tree a fire pit in a smart urban setting. Foliage, flowers, and soft lighting evoke a warm, informal atmosphere. Mexican-inspired share Spanish-style plates are served, and Patrick or Jonah will mix you up a special cocktail. Simply tell them what you generally like to drink and let them do the rest. You won’t be disappointed.
Max Borrowman – Juniper
As the name implies, Juniper specializes in gin cocktails. Max Borrowman, regional winner of the 2015 and 2016 Beefeater MIXLDN competitions, came to this Chinatown establishment in 2016. He infuses his creations with the traditions of the First Nations and the Spanish, who were the first Europeans to explore the west coast of North America. Cocktails such as the Sea Breeze Fizz and Spirit of the Manitou are made with gin, liqueurs, spices, and other ingredients to honor the history and tradition of Vancouver.
Amber Bruce – The Keefer Bar
At The Keefer Bar – another Chinatown favorite – Amber knows what questions to ask to make the perfect, tailor-made cocktail. She enjoys the one-on-one experience as she asks about the guests’ favourite drinks, what mood they’re in, and any flavours they don’t particularly like. Then she’ll recommend a classic or contemporary classic with minor “adjustments” so each guest gets their own personalized creation. She is partial to tequila, and likes to use multiple spirits as a base; her cocktails are complex, elegant, and worthy of a second round.
Sabrine Dhaliwal – Uva Wine Bar
Winner of the 2015 Global Belevedere Challenge – where she was the only female finalist – and Vancouver Magazine’s Bartender of the Year in 2017, Sabrine brings a complex yet uncomplicated program to Uva Wine Bar, located in downtown Vancouver’s cultural and entertainment district. A Certified Spirits Specialist with a Level 3 Wine and Spirits Education Certificate, she has both an intellectual and elegant approach to crafting the perfect cocktail for each guest.
Kaitlyn Stewart – Royal Dinette
Kaitlyn is only the second woman – and the first Canadian – to win the prestigious Diageo World Class Competition (2017). Known by many as “Kait A Roo,” she beat 10,000 other bartenders from 57 different countries. She likes to refresh the cocktail list at the Royal Dinette regularly to keep up with both seasonal flavors and the food menu, which changes almost every week. However, timeless classics remain her inspiration; she wants her guests to recognize the flavors while at the same time be pleasantly surprised by added complexities and nuances.
Chris Enns – Fairmont Pacific Rim
Currently working behind the pine at the Lobby Lounge at Fairmont Pacific Rim, Chris won the Diageo World Class Canada Competition in 2018 and plans to compete in the World Class Global Final in Berlin in October 2018. He also emerged as the winner of the 2018 Woodford Reserve Master of the Manhattan, held at the NoMad Bar in New York City. The Manhattan is his favorite drink to order, but Chris’s preferred after-work drink? A pint of water.
Lauren Mote – The Four Seasons
Lauren Mote is a household name in Vancouver’s bustling cocktail scene. She was named 2015 Bartender of the Year by Vancouver Magazine and is also a winner of Diageo World Class Canada. In 2017, she was awarded the role of Global Cocktailian by Diageo Reserve. At The Four Seasons in Whistler, Lauren has created the Spirit of the Mountains program, which pays tribute to various mountains around the world that evoke a spirit of escape and adventure. She is also the co-founder of Bittered Sling Bitters, an internationally successful portfolio of award-winning cocktail bitters and culinary extracts.
Benson – Pourhouse
If you want a bar that’s just dripping with atmosphere, head to Pourhouse without delay. Located in a 100-year-old building just east of the steam clock in Gastown, the establishment boasts a 38-foot bar handcrafted from 120-year-old planks of reclaimed Douglas fir. Throw in a wood and brick interior and antique decorations, and you have a seriously awesome ambiance. Bar manager Benson will be happy to serve you an old classic, something new and trendy, or a cocktail suited to your own individual taste.
Rod, PJ, and Reece – The Diamond
Guests at The Diamond, another establishment in historic Gastown, can relax in Old World charm while watching the goings-on in Maple Tree Square. In addition to beer, wine, and champagne, the drink menu features cocktails in five different categories: Boozy, Refreshing, Delicate, Overlooked, and Shooting Blanks. Look over the menu, tell bartenders Rod, PJ, or Reece what you’re looking for, and let them make a recommendation.
Luke – Hawksworth
On the main level of the Rosewood Hotel Georgia is Hawksworth Restaurant, a five-time winner of Best Upscale Restaurant in Vancouver Magazine’s Restaurant Award. The establishment describes itself with such words as glamorous, elegant, relaxed, and welcoming. The bar is both nostalgic and modern, and the bar team offers everything from pre-Prohibition classics to modern, trendy seasonal craft beverages. Bartender Luke uses only the best and freshest ingredients and will be happy to create a special cocktail tailored to your own unique tastes and preferences.