Recognition for Vancouver bars

The Keefer ranks No. 25 at the inaugural North America’s 50 Best Bars Awards; Botanist places No. 2 on Canada’s 50 Best Bars

The winners at the 50 Best Bars ceremony in New York City. Supplied photo

We all know what a dynamic cocktail scene Vancouver has, and what a talented group of bartenders we have slinging drinks here.

Now the rest of the world is getting an idea, too. Well, sort of.

Two sets of “best bar” rankings have just been released, with nods to some of our favourite watering holes. But as always, some of our very best cocktail destinations couldn’t make the list because they just don’t qualify as bars. (Because of our licensing rules, they are often technically considered restaurants.) No matter. We know who you are.

Since 2009, The World’s 50 Best Bars has rounded up the top drinking establishments around the globe; this year, they released the first-ever North America’s 50 Best Bars Awards. Only one Vancouver hotspot made the list, the very deserving Keefer Bar at No. 25. The top prize overall went to New York’s Attaboy, while the top Canadian bar was Toronto’s Civil Liberties at No. 10.

In all, eight Canadian bars made the list. The rest were: Toronto’s Mother (No. 38), Bar Raval (No 41) and Bar Mordecai (No. 47); El Pequeño Bar (No. 29) and Cloakroom Bar (No. 45) from Montreal; and Halifax’s Bar Kismet (No. 49), which also picked up the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award. Toronto-based drinks pioneer Christina Veira, now at Bar Mordecai, was named the Roku Industry Icon.

Meanwhile, the team at Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants also released their Canada’s Best Bars winners. Botanist Bar placed second overall (to, once again, Civil Liberties), with The Keefer Bar (No.3) and Laowai (No. 4) making the top 10. Laowai was also named best new bar, while Keefer earned props for best patio, and Pourhouse as best restaurant bar.

In all, eight Vancouver spots made the list (rounded out by the Pac Rim’s Lobby Lounge & Raw Bar, Chickadee Room, Grapes & Soda, Narrow Lounge and the bar at L’Abattoir), as well as Clive’s Classic Lounge in Victoria, The Raven Room in Whistler, and the tasting lounge at Monashee Spirits in Revelstoke.

Congratulations to all the winners! We can’t wait to sit at your bars.

For the complete lists, visit or

—by Joanne Sasvari

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