There's nothing quite like hearing a good secret. It's exhilarating. Knowing something few others do creates an urge to share it. And while some secrets are meant to stay hidden, others should be shouted out to the world. The following buried gems are exactly such secrets meant to be revealed...
The existence of these bars may be known to a select few, but they're off the beaten path enough to make them quite exclusive. Even those who are aware of them may not know their precise location. But knowledge is power. By the end of this list, you could very well gain the insight to become one of these people. This will make you a hit with anyone you want to show beautiful B.C. off to. After all, we all love being shown something we never knew was there to begin with.
Without further ado, here are 15 secret bars and where to find them.
Where: 1423 Ellis Street // Kewlona
This 33-seat cocktail lounge isn't found on the map. To get to it you have to approach the bartender inside of the Curious Cafe and ask for it by name. Then they will escort you there. Yes, it's really that secret. The intimate space serves hand-crafted cocktails that are perfect for impressing that special someone. Bar Norcino is also available for private bookings for those who know it even exists.
Where: 210 Carrall Street // Vancouver
If you know the nightlife in Vancouver, you've probably stumbled across The Irish Heather. After all, it's smack in the middle of Gastown. But through the doors of The Irish Heather is a private alley with their own whiskey tasting room called Shebeen. It's a small room with the same incredible whiskey/scotch list as The Irish Heather, but few know it's even there. How would people?
Where: 2313 Yellow Point Road // Nanaimo
The Crow and Gate is a rad English-style pub in the middle of nowhere on Vancouver Island. Well, it may not be "nowhere" to those living in the area, but it is out in a pasture, after all. It's a great place to grab a pint and sit by the fire or out in their lush garden. Though the food can be hit-and-miss, the drink menu is fantastic and the environment is even better.
Where: 270 Furness Road // Salt Spring Island
Salt Spring Island Ales brews award-winning beers using local and organic ingredients. They've become a Salt Spring island staple. But so many people don't know that they actually have a tasting room located in a loft above the actual brewery. Needless to say, beers lovers will adore this place.
Where: 1250 Halston Avenue // Kamloops
This hidden gem is buried within a casino. One of the best things about it is that it constantly has live music. It's a got a funky Vegas-casino vibe threaded into its design, but in no way does it feel sleazy. It also has a pretty cheap and accessible menu for those wishing to nosh on some good food.
Where: 1898 Main Street // Vancouver
Look for the red light. It shines above a doorway off of Main Street at East 3rd Avenue. It's between the bustle of the popular street, in a district full of loft spaces and construction businesses. Past the red light is a dingy graffitied hall and a dark elegant, gothic space with an amazing cocktail list. They even have a vibrant patio out back in the alley.
Where: 1866 Cedar Road // Nanaimo
From the outside, the Wheatsheef pub looks like a total dive. From the inside... it still looks like a total dive. But that's part of its charm. It's a favourite watering hole for locals and bods some of the best people watching around. They also have their famous home-made perogies and pizzas.
Where: 506 Fort Street // Victoria
The traditional speakeasy bar is quite hard to find. The view of the front is limited. It doesn't have a flashy exterior that feels inviting. Not only that, but it also can be found down a hallway. But that's what makes it cool. The space is intimate, designed with exposed brick walls and a copper ceiling. It's also full of laid-back staff and patrons. Their menu is extraordinary, complete with some very inventive drinks.
Where: 801 West Georgia Street // Vancouver
This entry is known by Vancouver's boujee elite. After all, it's on the top of Vancouver's swanky Rosewood Hotel Georgia. Though it's certainly not a place that's undercrowded, it's also somewhere that the rest of us wouldn't have found out about if our flashy Instagram friends hadn't posted endless selfies by the firepit on the lush garden patio.
Where: 7 Victoria Road // Nanaimo
What makes this eatery and bar so unique but missable is the fact that it dwells inside on the top floor of an old firehouse. What dwells within the brick exterior is a chic space with incredible sushi and even better ceasers. There's also a pretty gorgeous view as it's located just off the face of a rock.
Where: 400 Fernhill Road // Mayne Island
The locals sure know about Springwater Lodge. it has existed since 1892, after all. But those who don't visit the incredibly serene, Mayne Island, have no clue it even exists. They offer up beloved pub-fair, live music, and a view that's beautiful AF. If you ever get the chance, stopping by the Lodge on Mayne is a must.
Where: 1541 West 6th Avenue // Vancouver
Grapes and Soda may be on the expensive side, but it's got an overly impressive wine list. Some of their cocktails are made off-site and housed in old Coca-Cola bottles. They're cutely labeled so you know what you're drinking when you crack it open. The place itself only seats 25 and is squeezed off of Granville Street onto 6th Avenue which is completely unassuming.
Where: 2731 Murray Street // Port Moody
If you're a brewery expert you may have heard of The Parkside. But, even then, most brewery-hoppers in the Lower Mainland spend their time in East Vancouver. The truth is, Port Moody has some insane breweries waiting for you. The Parkside has an astroturf patio for dog-owners and a selection of home-brewed beers that'll make anyone jump for joy.
Where: 5764 176 Street // Cloverdale
Surrey and Cloverdale can be the butt-of-the-joke for people living in the Lower Mainland, especially in Vancouver. However, the truth is that they have a couple of the best hidden gems in the province. One such treasure is Vault. This retro eatery has incredible martinis as well as a strong menu. It may be out of the way, but it's worth it.
Where: 27 Blood Alley Square // Vancouver
Technically Gringo is a totally unfancy taco bar in Gastown, Vancouver. But it's also known to some as a great drinking spot. Why? Because it's cheap and good. A combination seldom found in Vancouver. It's located in the elusive Blood Alley. The room itself is tiny and exceptionally colourful. In short, this is a really fun place.