As much as we value a good dorm room pregame, something about overly complicated cocktails and the possibility that a stranger will offer to pay for it just hits different. So, trade in your mickey of vodka for a gin and tonic, because we’re hitting the bars!
Here are a few clusters of our favourite spots, from retro to chic, that you can visit on your next bar-hopping adventure.
On campus: Start with a sangria during happy hour at The Gallery or a beer at Brown’s Craft- house, then make your way down to The Pit for some shooters. (Bonus: enjoy the drunken camaraderie that can only be achieved at 2 a.m. in the 24-hour McDonald’s afterwards).
Kitsilano: Sick of seeing your classmates while pounding back shots? Stray a little further from campus and head to the Fringe Cafe for unique decor and a chaotic dive bar vibe, then off to Glitch to play some arcade games and end off with Castaway Bar & Kitchen for some tacos to soak up all that liquor.
Gastown: If you’re brave enough to venture out into this pricier, tourist-ridden neighbourhood, go on to Cambie Bar & Grill for the classic bar experience, Greta Bar for some fun arcade games and Gringo to enjoy margaritas and caesars while tucked away in an alley.
Chinatown: For more hip spots, start off with the Keefer Bar for inventive cocktails and mini golf, Brickhouse Late Nite Bistro for an intimate and laid-back hang and Boxcar for a discreet speakeasy vibe.
Granville Street: In case you want to make a night of it, pregame for the clubs in this downtown region and hop over to the Pawn Shop for jumbo spiked slushies, Donnellan’s for an authentic Irish pub experience and Granville Warehouse or the Granville Room for a basic but reliable drink with friends or by yourself (highly underrated experience, by the way).
Mount Pleasant: These Main Street spots are funky and fancy, so they’re perfect for the adventurous bar connoisseur. Make a reservation for the Shameful Tiki Room to be immersed in a tropical drunken paradise, drop by the Key Party to be blindsided by tasteful art and cocktails hiding behind an unassuming accounting storefront or hit up the Good Co. (formerly Colony Bar) on Main Street — a sleek neighbourhood favourite.
Always remember to keep your drink safe, know your limits and look up the night bus schedule ahead of time — trust us, you don’t want to be stranded downtown at 3 a.m. Happy hopping!