Drinking Canada Lists opinion

Vancouver’s 10 Best Craft Beer Bars

The bars we've missed dearly.

It’s no secret that Vancouver has become one of the top craft beer destinations in North America. Over the last decade the city has seen a boom in craft beer, making it practically impossible to find a bar or restaurant in the city that doesn’t have at least one craft beer on the menu.

But with that being said, there are some beer bars that absolutely stand out from the rest. These are the bars that have taken a dedicated, almost religious approach to ensuring their beer menu has something unique to offer.

Without a doubt, these are the top 10 beer bars in Vancouver:

Alibi Room (Gastown)

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While this list is designed in alphabetical order, it’s almost prophetic that the Alibi Room comes first. The Alibi Room can arguably be accredited for establishing craft beer’s hold in Vancouver. The beer menu has always been thoughtfully designed through every seasonal iteration and they continue to serve up a strong selection of local, national and international options. This should always be first on your list if you’ve never experienced the beer scene in Vancouver.

Bells and Whistles (Fraserhood)

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Fraserhood lacked a good beer bar for a long time, which is why Bells and Whistles is such a breathe of fresh air. Not content with simply being just a good beer bar, Bells and Whistles frequently hosts tap takeovers with breweries that otherwise never see the light of day in Vancouver. Brands like Mikkeller and Zwanze bring all the beer nerds to the bar, and of course sell out very, very fast.

Biercraft (Commercial Drive/Cambie/UBC)

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Along with Alibi Room, Biercraft is one of the progenerators of good quality beer in Vancouver. Serving the city since 2005 there are now three locations across the city. Biercraft continues to retain a strong Belgian focus, with enough local selection to satisfy most.

Brewhall (Olympic Village)

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If you had told me a few years ago that the former Steel Toad would eventually become a vibrant hangout with a decent selection of craft beer, I’d have laughed at you. Yet, Brewhall has delivered. The casual atmosphere and German beerhall style seating brings in people of all types, and the tap menu has innovative collaborations and solid staples. It’s a fun time supplemented by a strong beer menu.

Chambar (Downtown)

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Chambar was one of the first proper restaurants in Vancouver to take beer and food pairing seriously. While the rest of the market has caught up, Chambar’s staff remain at the top of their game when it comes to their beer knowledge. Their beer menu consists of a strong mix of local and Belgian styles, including an extensive lambic selection. There’s no better place in Vancouver to feel fancy while drinking a beer.

Colony (Granville/Main Street/Kitsilano)

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One could easily write off Colony as any other carbon copy college bar, but at any given day of the week there can be found a respectable selection of BC based craft beer, hand written on tear-away sheets near the bar. One of the biggest draws is the fact that any tap beer is only $3 on Tuesdays, which is rare these days. Clearly it’s working, as the team has expanded to three locations in Vancouver and one in North Van.

CRAFT Beer Market (Olympic Village)

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It’s easy to forget nowadays, but CRAFT Beer Market took a bold risk with a major investment as an anchor tenant in Olympic Village before anyone considered the village a go-to area. Now with multiple breweries and other beer bars competing for attention, CRAFT holds on primarily thanks to their insanely large tap menu, with over 100 beers. If you can’t find something to like here, you might be too picky.

Darby’s Public House (Kitsilano)

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There was a time that Darby’s making this list would have been laughable, but the bar has undergone a dramatic transformation with its beer program and now serves a respectable selection of some of the best craft beer in BC. Kitsilano is not the strongest neighbourhood for craft beer options, so Darby’s is a welcome watering hole.

St. Augustine’s (Commercial Drive)

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Another absolute staple in the craft beer community. St. Augustine’s has been delivering craft beer to the masses for 10 years with over 60 taps that are constantly rotating. They smartly share all their available taps online with an approximation of how much is left, so you’re never left guessing if you’ll make it down in time to get a pint of your favourite brew.

The Magnet (Gastown)

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The newest beer bar on this list, The Magnet also happens to come with some serious pedigree behind it.  Founded by the teams behind the Alibi Room and Brassneck Brewing, The Magnet is expertly designed both in aesthetic and in menu. It’s charming, cozy and has somehow managed to distinguish itself apart from its formidable origins, no easy task.

 

 

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