The capital of British Columbia has really come into its own as a a food lovers destination. Over the last few years, innovative chefs, bartenders and brewmasters have called Victoria home and it has led to some exciting new places in the city.
Below are our ten favourite places in Victoria to grab a cocktail. These bars are elevating the game with exciting new cocktails, perfecting the classics, and providing an atmosphere that is worth spending the entire evening in.
This stunning waterfront restaurant isn’t just service up gorgeous views. To compliment the gorgeous inner harbour locale, the team has come up with creative cocktails like the “Canadian Tuxedo” with mezcal, two types of rum and Curacao or the “Hug in a Mug”, a boozy chai tea with baileys, pineapple bark rum, steamed eden sea cider, oat milk and more.
Opened in 2012 as an event space and beer hall, Cenote has naturally evolved into a place well known for its creative cocktail menu. It may also be the only place in Victoria where you’ll find a giant painting of a killer whale on a unicycle, an extensive library of books, board games, the healthiest plants you’ve ever seen in a basement, and quality drinks.
A stunningly designed tropical cocktail bar was exactly what Victoria didn’t realize it needed. The focus here is on providing fresh, fruity and powerful cocktails that evoke visions of white sand beaches. Naturally that means a large selection of rums, which quite possibly could be the biggest in the city. Rest assured there’s something for everyone here.
For Clarke & Co, a great experience out means friendly, attentive service, cocktails handcrafted with fresh, innovative ingredients, and thoughtful seasonal food pairings. If whiskey is your thing, Clarke & Co. boasts one of Victoria’s most extensive whiskey lists so you are sure to discover something new.
Every visitor to Victoria should take an opportunity to go to Clive’s. This is one of the original cocktail bars in the city, and has been listed not only as one of the best hotel bars in the world, but also as one of the top 5 places to drink in the world by Enroute. Their cocktail menu is immaculate, and the bartenders are some of the best around.
We’ve written about Little Jumbo before, so needless to say we’re fans. The atmosphere is inviting, the crowd is lively and the drinks are superb. One of our favourite hidden little bars in the city.
The Churchill may have well over 50 beers on tap, but that doesn’t mean this pub has neglected its cocktail menu at all. There is a long list of classic, and original, cocktails to whet your whistle if craft beer isn’t your thing. They also have a fairly large list of whisky to choose from.
West Coast cuisine meets Himalayan isn’t necessarily the first fusion that you’d think of, but that’s exactly what The Mint went for. Clearly it’s working. Opened in 2002, The Mint is well known in the city, and regardless if you think it’s too dark, or sometimes too loud, the one thing it does consistently well are the cocktails.
At Wind Cries Mary the dynamic menu is ever-changing with a focus on nose-to-tail butchery and locally sourced ingredients. The cocktail menu changes with the seasons, and they are specially curated to work with local providers and to pair with the rotating menu. They also have an excellent patio for people watching.
Q at the Empress is located in the most storied room in Victoria, in the stunning Empress Hotel. They focus on Pacific Northwest cuisine based on regional ingredients sourced from partnerships with local farmers and artisans. It has also been listed as one of the best cocktail bars in Canada. Be warned though, we’re talking about a hotel bar in one of the oldest hotels in BC so prices reflect that ($19 and up).