Need something to do this weekend? Here are five cozy bars that won't make you think twice about leaving the house.
The Morrissey, 1227 Granville Street
Do yourself a favour. The next time you find yourself on Granville Street—and the night is young and you've got a serious thirst to quench—don't settle. Stride determinedly past the grimy dive bars, the familiar five-dollar-a-meal haunts, and the music-blaring lounges that make even the essential task of communicating with the bartender an ordeal, and move just beyond Davie Street. Here, you'll find the Morrissey pub, an Irish-style oasis that could easily have belonged on a cabin edition of MTV Cribs. Warm up to the dark-stained wood bar and contemplate the shining taps of craft and imported beer that await or sink into a plush, velvet armchair in front of the working gas fireplace before knocking back a Bizkvit Mule—a refreshing twist on the classic Moscow that uses vanilla vodka, fresh mint, and grapefruit bitters—or another one of the pub's inventive house cocktails. And if your group grows, rejoice; you officially have an excuse to take up a long dining table, where you can continue your night under a dazzling set of chandeliers.
Pourhouse, 162 Water Street
With its Douglas-fir ceilings, reclaimed-plank bar, antique furnishings, and warm-brick walls, this seemingly sepia-lit, 100-year-old Gastown haunt feels like one of those turn-of-the-century taverns where Vancouver’s earliest pioneers might have escaped from the elements to have a pint. Fire up your innards with a mulled-wine Glogg or a cocktail like Remember the Night (brandy, fernet, cranberry, and white chocolate), or pour yourself and a pal a big bottle of Porter Baltique or Powell Street Brewing Enigma Stout to share. But it’s not just the atmosphere and the beer that will ward off the West Coast chill: lay into hearty, steaming dishes like rabbit terrine or beef-cheeks bourguignon and you'll be able to face the sleet again.
Gerard Lounge, 845 Burrard Street
Dying to know how the other half lives this Christmas season? Unless you’re betting heavily on winning Lotto Max on December 25, odds are a suite at the Sutton Place is a little out of your price range. But that doesn’t mean you can’t hang at the hotel that’s housed everyone from Queen Elizabeth to U2 over the years. Famous for its celebrity sightings, Gerard Lounge in Sutton Place might be the closest you’ll get to feeling like a member of James Bond’s inner circle, in a room every bit as old-English as a Morecambe and Wise Christmas special. Expect elegant wood panelling, rich tapestries, handsome leather chairs, and—best of all, should the weather outside be frightful—a huge, roaring fire place. Order a flight of scotch whiskies, and let the cold slip away. And don’t forget that if you’re going to ask Ben Affleck for an autograph at the next table, the least you can do is offer to buy him a drink.
Prohibition, 801 West Georgia Street
This fashionable bar at Rosewood Hotel Georgia doesn't feature a warm fireplace or big armchairs, but you'll certainly feel cozy after sipping on one of their holiday-themed cocktails amid a velvety backdrop. Prohibition's sleek interiors simultaneously emit glamour and mystery, so you'll feel like you have teleported back to the ’20s. Try one of their contemporary cocktail creations like the Quince Cobbler, a fruity mixture of Grey Goose V/X, Pedro Ximenez sherry, orange, lemon, and quince jam. They’ve also added some Christmas cheer to their menu—a house made egg nog blended together with bourbon, spiced rum, and nutmeg. The swanky bar also offers a diverse selection of wines, champagnes, and craft beers coupled with live musical entertainment. Still feel like something is missing? Choose from their menu of delicious snacks, like albacore tuna tartare, vodka battered halibut cheeks, and truffle fries—definitely something you won't find at your local bar.
Storm Crow Tavern, 1305 Commercial Drive
Why stay cooped up inside playing board games when you can do it with a steaming cocktail (see: Romulan Ale, a popular vodka beverage complete with dilithium crystals for steaming effect) and a side of chickpea fries? This nerdy joint boasts kitschy décor from every sci-fi and fantasy novel/movie/show you can think of, plus a menu loaded with tasty snacks like Baba Yaga’s paranormal perogies or Papa Stormcrow’s deep-fried cauliflower. Did I mention that they have the best board-game selection in the city? As far as beverages go, the Storm Crow knows its way around crafty concoctions. Warm yourself up with a Coffee a la Crow (java, whiskey, and whip) and take home a signature Storm Crow mug for an extra $2, or, if you're in the mood for a shot, save a dollar by rolling the D20 and facing your fate: whichever number you roll corresponds to a shot on the menu. Just pray you don’t end up getting No. 1: the Critical Miss shot combines Tabasco, tequila, and the bile of Tiamat.