During the Prohibition era, speakeasies were hidden establishments you could slip into, have a drink, and enjoy the evening without the prying eyes of the law coming in to shut the party down. These days, an establishment with a speakeasy feel is more of a hidden getaway with classically styled decor. It’s a place you can escape to, have a good time, and sip some hand-crafted cocktails. Slide up to the bar and step into another era in any of these modern dens of iniquity.
Located in the glamourous Rosewood Hotel Georgia, Prohibition is hideaway of decadence and grandeur. The atmosphere throws you into the Roaring Twenties, where live music and stylish decor come together to create a mood of intimacy and sophistication. Their menu is a delicious display of both innovative and vintage cocktails, as well as an impressive list of champagnes, wines, spirits, and craft beers.
The Narrow Lounge
On the corner of Main & 3rd you’ll find The Narrow Lounge, a dimly lit lounge that can be spotted by simply by looking for the red light. With no signage or marketing, it can be hard to even find the Narrow Lounge, making it that much more hip, exclusive, and delightfully speakeasy-esque. Their drink list has no shortage of craft beers and their food menu is full of delicious bites like truffle popcorn, tacos, and mini dogs. In the summer months the Narrow Lounge opens up their patio tiki bar, The Hideaway.
Hello Goodbye is another Vancouver bar that can only be found if you know what you’re looking for. You’ll venture through an unmarked door, traverse down a hidden stairway, and find yourself in an underground basement bar. Once there, you can enjoy any of their seasonal cocktails, scrumptious snacks, VIP table service, and unwind to the sweet sounds put out by the evening’s DJ. The atmosphere is both comfortable and intimate while maintaining an air of mystery and class.
Key Party is possibly one of the sneakiest spots in Vancouver to slip away for a drink. Disguised as Zottenberg and Sons Accounting, this cocktail lounge is actually a 1970’s style club serving classic drinks like Coconut Cream Grasshoppers, B-52s, and Cherry Paralyzers. Their accounting firm facade is fully equipped with filing cabinets and a calculator laden desk to throw the average Joe off their funky, fun trail. The center-piece of this strange and wonderful establishment is a hand painted mural with a somewhat cheeky flair.
The Diamond is a cocktail lounge near Vancouver’s Gastown district. Their vibe is refreshingly hip yet pleasantly old souled. They offer a cocktail menu that features premium oldies, delicate drinks, and boozy concoctions, with plenty of whiskey, tequila, rye, and gin splashed all around the menu. There’s also an excellent selection of beer, wine, and bubbles if you aren’t in the mood for spirits. For entertainment you’ll be treated to a vinyl-only experience with rotating guest DJs.
Guilt & Company
Guilt & Company, located in Vancouver’s historic Gastown, is an enticing lounge that appeals to both the righteous hearted and the sinful minded. There is always plenty of live and lively music to keep you entertained and to soothe the most ravaged soul. For class and sass, check out Guilt & Co.’s live improv, swing and cabaret nights, and band showcases. Their cocktail menu is jam packed with interesting concoctions, like the Chocolate Magic Mushroom or Purple Heather, that will have you sampling their various libations all night long.
The Boxcar is a narrow, hole in the wall type of pub with a long, slender bar squeezed into a narrow strip of real estate on Vancouver’s Main Street. This laid back hideaway is all about its craft beer, with 24 rotating taps that showcase the best of the Lower Mainland’s favourite brews. You’ll also have a delightful selection of cocktails to choose from as you lounge at the bar or pull up a stool at one of their few private tables.
While many of Vancouver’s speakeasy style joints are small, hidden gems, The Emerald is one of Vancouver’s Crown Jewels. This Supper Club and Cocktail Lounge can be found in the Chinatown district and when you walk in you’ll notice it has a bit of an old school Vegas vibe. You can head to the Lounge to sit back and sip some cocktails, take your party to the Dining Room for a more special type of event, settle down in the Boardroom for some VIP treatment, or wander back to the Cabaret with its soundproof walls for the most private of evenings.
The Clough Club is located in Vancouver’s Gastown District and is actually named for Gastown’s one armed Lamplighter, John Clough. The bar staff will mix everything from cheeky house originals to sophisticated classics and they’ll always have a wide range of Pacific NorthWest brews on tap. For quick bites you can chow down on hot dogs, pizza, and burgers, but if traditional street food bores you, don’t worry, many of their food items are made with an exciting and contemporary twist. You can also expect live music from Vancouver’s local talent Thursdays through Sundays.
Speakeasy, nestled snugly in the heart of downtown Vancouver, is the ideal spot for some ice cold beers and pub-style appies. Stop in for the local craft beers, imported beers, and delicious cocktails, stay to catch a bit of the game. The brick walled decor and warm, casual atmosphere makes this pub an appealing choice for some impromptu brews and spontaneous good times.
When you feel the need to step back in time, into a place where you can sip a delicious cocktail and soak in a tantalizing atmosphere, head to one of these hidden gems. Vancouver is an old city with an interesting history and it’s certainly no stranger to the bootlegging, speakeasy ways of the past. For a romantic drink or a devilish night on the town, any of these fine establishments are sure to satisfy with their tasty libations and clandestine decor.