The pandemic has made it difficult to enjoy a cocktail at your favourite local spot, with many cocktail bars not having the chance to reopen. Despite this, many cocktail bars in Canada have adapted to the pandemic! Some are taking their business outside, while others have been innovative by offering their cocktails to go.
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Until the time comes when we can all enjoy a drink (and rub elbows with strangers) again, we would like to raise a virtual toast to all of our favourite cocktail establishments here in Canada.
Here are 10 Cocktail Bars in Canada you Have to Visit
Home to some of the best cocktails and mixologists in Vancouver, Botanist doesn’t shy away from serving attention-grabbing drinks that will stop you in your tracks. Located in an unassuming space in the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel, patrons can enjoy otherworldly drinks that will have them coming back time and time again. A great option is the Rye ‘N Reynolds, made with cognac, amaro, cascara, and nectarine oils, while the Botanist’s Martini features a coastal gin blend, house vermouth, seaborne tincture, oyster leaf, and vegan caviar.
Tucked away in Chinatown, The Keefer Bar is truly a hidden gem. As soon as you step inside this award-winning cocktail bar, the dim lights and cozy vibe will entice you to take a seat, while the extensive drink menu of “remedies” and “cures”, that are inspired by traditional Chinese medicine, will have you captivated into the late hours.
This offbeat and stylish watering hole specializes in artisanal and seasonal libations that won’t disappoint. Easily one of the best spots to grab a drink in Calgary (not to mention one of the best in the province). You’ll find literature-inspired cocktails that pay homage to the characters, themes, and prose found in the literature we all know and love. If you’re interested in indulging in these fine libations now, you can order Proof cocktail kits and canned cocktails online.
Located in Toronto’s vibrant Little Italy neighbourhood, the award-winning Bar Raval is a Barcelona-inspired pinxto bar with small plates to share and a variety of cocktails, beer, wine and fortifieds. On the inside, you’ll find a beautiful swirling mahogany design, while an enclosed patio equipped with heaters is located outside, so you can enjoy the locale’s mouth-watering tapas dishes and cocktails outside even during the colder months.
As soon as you arrive, you’ll notice the “This Must Be The Place” sign above the front door, which instantly makes you feel as if you are indeed at the right place. Inside, the unassuming watering hole, complete with plain bar stools and minimum décor, might leave you wondering why this spot was recognized as one of the best cocktail bars in the country. Though, once you grab a seat and you realize the bar doesn’t have a cocktail menu, you’ll be pleased to learn the highly-trained bartenders will be able to help you find a new favourite or a forgotten classic. While the bar remains closed amid the pandemic, thirsty patrons looking to get their hands on one of the bar’s impressive drinks can order curbside custom cocktails to go.
Tucked away from the hustle of the Ossington strip, you’ll find this intimate, 18-seat cocktail hidden behind a barbshop, which might be why so few people know about the splendour that is Gift Shop. Head through the barbershop’s back door with a green lightbox, and you’ll find a cocktail den full of strange libations, plus a truly unique cocktail experience.
Hailed as one of the best cocktail bars in Canada, Montreal’s Atwater Cocktail Club is a hidden speakeasy located in a stylish French brasserie. There is no signage, so you really need to know where the club is, which just so happens to be in a graffiti-coated alley directly behind the restaurant Foiegwa. Here, the innovative cocktails are excellent and the atmosphere is relaxing and intimate.
Located in the heart of Old Motreal, where the cobblestone streets are buzzing, you’ll find El Pequeño Bar, a purveyor of classic Cuban cocktail culture from the creative team of The Coldroom. Since opening its doors in 2018, the award-winning bar has been serving both quality interpretations of classic Cuban style cocktails and daring new ventures into the uncharted territories of rum based cocktails.
Nestled in the heart of Pointe-Saint Charles, patrons will make their way to Milky Way up a narrow staircase that’s lit up by backlit fluorescent lights and find themselves in another world. Inside, a huge skylight floods the space with natural light in the day and the glow of the city at night. Here you’ll find cocktails playing up tropical flavours with a focus on homemade ingredients, including syrups to dehydrated fruit garnishes.
Located in one of Halifax’s oldest buildings, the Carelton Hotel, Lot Six serves patrons a modern drinking experience and a side of East Coast hospitality. With a menu boasting original cocktails made with local spirits and seasonal ingredients, which will surely leave you with a lasting impression. The ultimate list of cocktail bars in Canada wouldn’t be complete without Lot Six.