Toast Worthy Cocktail Bars in Victoria BC

Wind Cries Mary Bar in Victoria BC
Wind Cries Mary Bar

There’s a plethora of swanky cocktail bars in Victoria BC worthy of their elegant hometown. Whether you’re celebrating the New Year or just raising a toast to another day, these sip-worthy destinations don’t disappoint. 

Want to maximize your time exploring (and sipping)? Kenmore offers two direct flights to Victoria’s Inner Harbour and the Victoria International Airport. It’s the fastest and most scenic way to reach the BC Capital. 

6 Can’t Miss Cocktail Bars in Victoria BC

As one would expect of a city where cobblestone streets still linger and gardens are meticulously manicured, Victoria’s swanky cocktail scene specializes in creative, tasty libations.

Patrons who want a true Victoria-fermented sip will be pleased. Local distilleries abound. Vancouver Island is home to more than 10 distilleries, including a few breweries that are also flexing their gin, vodka, whiskey, and bitter muscles.

1. Clive’s Classic Lounge

For a Cause_ Lucha Libre Clives Cocktail
Pouring a Mr P's Manhattan at Clives
Aviary Jungle Bird Clives

Considered the birthplace of Victoria’s cocktail culture, Clive’s Classic Lounge is tucked into the lobby of the Chateau Victoria Hotel. The windowless lounge brings a va va voom vibe with its ultra-moody mix of Swarovski crystal lighting, fireplaces, and plush leather chairs. Bartenders follow a strict ‘Mixology Mantra,’ committing themselves to freshly squeezed juices and impeccable standards. Currently, they are also running a ‘Cocktail for a Cause’ campaign — mixing up a chocolate-spiced tequila-esc drink. For each drink ordered, $7.5 is donated to Big Brothers, Big Sisters Victoria. 

2. Little Jumbo

Little Jumbo Pouring a Drink
Little Jumbo Neon Sign
Little Jumbo Bar

Little Jumbo delivers a sassy mix of sexy speakeasy and creative spirit. Hidden down a hallway, it’s marked by a purple neon elephant and a steady stream of visitors hunting for a table. The seasonally updated drink menu is designed to inspire, featuring cocktail titles that roll of the tongue with a bit of a giggle (like ‘Roasty Toasty’). 

3. Wind Cries Mary

Making cocktails at Wind Cries Mary
The Bar at Wind Cries Mary Bar

Tucked within Bastion Square, the dark and moody Wind Cries Mary is a sensual space that flickers with candle light. While the food here is celebratory, the bar scene is not to be overlooked. From behind the canopied bar filled with gleaming bottles comes a cocktail menu that’s show-stop worthy. The menu, focused on seasonally local ingredients, offers a mix of sweet and herbal libations. And for those who don’t embibe, have no fear. Many of the cocktails can be served sans-booze. 

4. Q Bar at Fairmont Empress

History and modern luxury converge in the Fairmont Empress’ Q Bar. While the hotel has long been praised for its high tea (and still is), the moody bar is arguably more of a draw. Meticulously restored millwork in a dark walnut is paired with plush couch seating and custom ‘cloud’ chandeliers for a setting that is both inviting and date-worthy. The tapas-esc menu features share-worthy cuisine, not the least of which is the Q Bar’s signature popcorn. Dusted with a house made charcoal spice, it’s addictively smokey and salty. And the cocktail menu? It’s filled with intriguing and inventive twists. From teas and bitters to the hotel’s 1908 Empress Gin — you’ll be able to enjoy both familiar flavors and thought provoking drinks.

5. Citrus & Cane

Cirtus and Cane Tiki Cocktail by Johann Vincent
Photo by Johann Vincent
Cirtus and Cane Bar by Johann Vincent
Photo by Johann Vincent

Tall, sweet, and boozy. Citrus & Cane specializes in tiki cocktails and bewildering ambiance. The warm wood and pastel palette gives a laid back ambiance, in keeping with a tropical vacation. Here, ‘island time’ may very well reign supreme while service is exceptionally stellar. Fair warning though, seats can be hard to come by.

6. Cenote

Don’t come here looking for fancy chairs and high-brow service. Not that the service is lacking, it’s just more down-home — a reality that’s in keeping with a bar that’s frequented by those in the restaurant industry. From the subterranean enclave, Cenote bartenders shake and stir great drinks and nosh-worthy food. It even has its own little library, perfect for those who want to elevate their mind while enjoying a libation (or two). 

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