The absence of the Canada's 50 Best Bars list (there hasn't been one since 2020) means that this year's entry has an extra celebratory zeal behind it. Canada's 100 Best even declares "Pour us another. Bars are back!"
Indeed, this summer is looking to be the season of the bar here in Vancouver as eight of our beloved watering holes have made it on the prestigious yearly list that follows the release of the Canada's 100 Best Restaurants which named our very own Published on Main as the best restaurant in Canada. Some of the bars are usual suspects while others are getting a shout-out for the first time.
Unsurprisingly, Botanist made the cut yet again, having nabbed the number six spot in 2020 but this year it's risen through the ranks to secure number two, snatching it from another Vancouver hotspot, the Keefer Bar now in the number three spot for 2022.
Visitors to Botanist may have encountered their showstopping drinks that are an experience to behold as much as they are to drink but Canada's Best rightly points out "don’t let the theatrics distract you from the talent, innovation and precision that turn every drink into a virtuoso performance." They also go on to say that "the service is always intensely engaging" which is a testament to World's Best Bartender winner Jeff Savage, and a bar team that until recently included Max Curzon-Price who is on the opening team for a new Peruvian restaurant, Suyo moving in at 3475 Main St.
Newcomer Laowai feels like stepping back in time to a 1930s-era speakeasy in Shanghai which is what secured it's ranking as Canada's fourth-best bar. Located inside the dumpling shop Blnd Tger in Chinatown guests have to ask for a number 7 before being led through a freezer and into this secret world that has an imaginative menu of 12 cocktails and the largest collection of baijiu in Canada.
While Botanist may be the more well-known bar in the Fairmont Pacific Rim, the hotel also has another entrant on the Best Bars list with the Lobby Lounge and Raw Bar coming in at number 24.
Sabrine Dhaliwal's 80's Miami-Vice-esque menu gave the Chickadee Room the 32nd placement and Grapes & Soda takes 33rd. Rounding out the list are the Narrow Lounge and the nine-seater bar at L'Abbatoir.
B.C. also got some love on the list with three other entries, Clive's Classic Lounge in Victoria, the Raven Room in Whistler, and Monashee Spirits Craft Distillery in Revelstoke were also named.
3. The Keefer Bar
4. Laowai and Blnd Tger
20. Clive's Classic Lounge (Victoria)
24. The Lobby Lounge and Raw Bar
32. The Chickadee Room
33. Grapes & Soda
35. The Raven Room (Whistler)
42. Monashee Spirits Craft Distillery (Revelstoke)
44. The Narrow Lounge
49. The Bar at L'Abbatoir
In light of the pandemic, Canada's Best simplified its criteria and asked judges, a dozen of whom were new, to "simply vote for great food wherever they found it" including takeout and restaurants were considered new if they opened since the last list was published in 2020.