5 Spots for Cocktails Alfresco
By Melody Fury
Vancouverites simply cannot get enough of the sun during our mild, gorgeous summers. That means whenever the sun is out, we immediately throw on a pair of shades and head to the nearest patio for cocktail hour.
Sure there are plentiful outdoor adventures at our doorsteps, too, but the deliciousness of local cocktails is sometimes just too much to resist. Many airy patio bars throughout various neighbourhoods serve up unique drinks and light, summery nibbles. So whether you want to bask in the sun with your friends or grab a quick drink before swinging down to the beach, here are five patio bar recommendations to help you soak up the rays (and the juice).
Location: Main Street and Commercial Drive
Situated on a mellow stretch of Main Street, The Reef is a neighbourhood gem made famous by its spicy Caribbean menu and thirst-quenching cocktails. The rum menu shows off an extensive rum selection by categorizing the offerings into “cocktail,” “mixin’,” and “reserve sippin’” rums. Chill on their patio with a few signature cocktails that go down a little too easy, such as the “Mo-gingerito,” a mojito that’s spiced up with ginger beer. For fun, try the Jamaican “Get Juiced” punch, served fresh and cold in a coconut shell.
This intimate and ultra-modern bar is the sexiest place to mingle in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown. The Keefer pushes the envelope with an Asian apothecary-influenced cocktail menu designed by award-winning bartender Danielle Tartarin. The team behind the bar shakes and swirls intricately balanced drinks using bitters, syrups and teas crafted from ingredients found in neighbouring herbal shops. A rich, cultural vibe surrounds the outdoor lounge that stretches right onto the street. After a stroll in the summer Chinatown Night Market, slip into their patio and relax with an expertly concocted cocktail.
No matter the time of day, Section (3)’s patio is always buzzing with a crowd that’s out to have a good time. The spacious patio is fantastic for sipping a cocktail while people-watching on the vibrant Yaletown strip. During the summer, the bar serves up refreshing classics such as sangria and mojitos along with locally brewed beers. In the evening, the patio comes to life under Yaletown’s glowing lights, turning it into a popular spot to wind up the night.
Location: Granville Street
An oasis in the Granville Street Entertainment District, The Edge’s patio is tucked away among tall, leafy plants. Take a peek inside to find a calm atmosphere that is perfect for an afternoon martini. Their Agave Suave made with tequila, pernod, hibiscus and pineapple is a definite tropical winner. As evening falls, the patio picks up to the Granville Street beat and transforms into a hoppin’ dinner and drinks destination. Here, many partygoers connect over drinks before heading to the clubs that dot the energetic area.
Location: Coal Harbour
When even the servers are rocking shades, you know that there must be a serious patio here. It’s always a party on Cardero’s marina-side patio where wine and beer flow abundantly. Their wine-list features local B.C. selections that are fit for the sunny occasion. Blue Mountain’s Pinot Gris and the Blasted Church Sauvignon Blanc, both from Okanagan Falls, are refreshing choices that pair fantastically with Cardero’s seafood-driven menu. So sip some wine and munch on some mussels as you overlook the sparkling Coal Harbour waters. You will quickly understand why Vancouverites vow to never leave our patio-filled city.
Melody Fury is a Vancouver-based freelance writer specializing in food and cocktail writing. She also owns and operates Vancouver Food Tour, which guides locals and tourists alike through the city’s best culinary destinations. Check out her food and travel blog at GourmetFury.com or give her a shout on twitter @GourmetFury.