Vancouver's Best Nightclubs & Music Bars
Portland, Seattle and Vancouver Bars Guides
People cut loose at the Roxy, Vancouver's top nightclub.
With a mix of Hollywood chic, cool hangouts and live music,Vancouver's many nightclubs keep downtown lively after dark.
Most clubs don't open until after 10 and they close at 2, and 4 on weekends. The dress code is mildly casual to upscale. Just about ever bar has a cover – even the casual-looking ones – in downtown Vancouver and for clubs this is $15 or more.
Much of Vancouver's club scene is located on Granville Street. It's so lively on weekends that ic can be entertaining just to walk up and down it, popping into little joints along the way.
Another big party spot is Yaletown, home to many of Vancouver's sophisticated singles. This area is covered in another article featuring Vancouver's restaurant/bars and pubs, restaurant/bars and pubs.
GRANVILLE STREET CLUBS
The legendary Roxy is a rocking live music club.
Vancouver's top bar/club is The Roxy. It's not the least bit fancy and even a tad rustic. But it's long been the city's top nightlife spot because, frankly, it's just a kickass rock and roll club. The Roxy often features top Canadian bands as well as hot local acts.
The sign on the wall says it all: beer and bands.
People pack the place nearly every night and go there to get crazy. Getting into the place requires either arriving very early or befriending a local who knows their way through the ropes. Casual dress is welcome. It was the favorite spot for the late Greg Moore, an international car racing star from nearby Maple Ridge. Greg knew how to have a good time, so trust his taste in clubs.
Across the street, the 20s partiers line up to get into Caprice. It's a two-level club in an old movie theater that plays all kinds of dance music from different decades.
Granville Street shines at night with the its neon signs and nightclubs.
Dancing into the night below an Irish pub at The Cellar.
The Cellar is a casual club below the very popular Irish pub Doolan's. It's not loungy or high fashion here at all; just people getting down on the dance floor. Looking to rest feet from the floor? Simply step over to the long bar for a break. With a $12 cover on weekends, it's one of the "cheapest" places to go dancing in downtown.
Another non-clubby club (which means one doesn't necessarily have to dress up to dance) is Venue. It's primarily a live music venue with name bands, which means tickets must be purchased in advance. But it also features electronic music on weekends.
Get a good look at Vancouver's nightlife with this PubClub.com article.
Get a good feel for the fun you can have in Vancouver's bars.
Here's a place that's fun – and free to enter on Granville. And it has a bowling alley! Commodore Lanes and Billiards looks like something out of the 50's. Down the stairs is an actual bowling alley – 12 lanes of a Canadian game called 5-pins. In the back are several pool tables. It's a clean and classy place that's great for groups. The only bar is a couple of taps by a little snack area. Just like a real bowling alley!
In addition to the Roxy and Venue, Granville Street has two places that are almost exclusively concert venues for traveling bands. The Commodore gets GREAT bands – Pearl Jam, David Wilcox, and WideMouthMason just to name a few. At the Orpheum Theater, Alice and Chains played just before the start of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Republic is a duel threat with a long bar and dance floor on the first level and upstairs lounge. Downstairs, on the main level, is a bar that stretches the entire length of the place; it features live entertainment and DJs. Sundays is reggae night.
DOWNTOWN VACOUVER CLUBS
Athletes, such as members of the Vancouver Canucks and Victoria native Steve Nash, and other sophisticated clubbers frequent Pop Opera on West Hastings. It has a main room and three VIP areas.
In Gastown, the Modern plays house music and hip-hop and has a bit of a more liberal approach when it comes to dress code ("no douchebags, no problem"), cover charges and drink prices than many of Vancouver's other clubs. Also in Gastown is Shine, a hot club with a super sound system.
Au Bar on Seymour Street might well be Vancouver's most discriminating club. Velvet ropes and large bouncers check the crowd before letting them inside. This is a true "see and be seen" club.
Ginger 62 is an upscale lounge/dance club with live shows on Wednesdays that require tickets. Bin 941 (Davie Street) is a loud, sexy tapas bistro for the late 20's crowd. It's largely a place to impress a date but singles like it, too. It has a sister establishment in Kitsilano called Bin 942..
LIVE MUSIC VENUES
The Railway Club is the place for live music in a casual setting.
In addition to the Roxy and Venue and venues such as the Commodore, Orpheum, Vancouver has places that feature live music.
One of the best is the casually friendly Railway Club. Located up a flight of creeky stairs off Dunsmuir Street (579 to be precise) it is a true live music venue. At first glance, it looks like either a cool, sit-down jazz club or perhaps a hippie hangout. A walk to the back, however, reveals people in suits.
And if the Canucks are playing, then people pour in for a couple of pints before the hockey game. Railway Club is all of these things to all people but its main attraction is the wide variety of local acts. Among those who take the stage are blues, tribute bands to legends like the Doors, and original artists. Cover charges are as little as $3, making it Downtown's Best Bar Bargain. It also serves lunch and dinner at low prices (most items are less than $10).
For music of a more mellow tune, The Purple Onion in Gastown features live jazz. It also has a dance club in the back of the bar.