Bars and lounges found inside of hotel properties tend to get a bad rap — maybe not a bad rap, but this scenario may seem familiar to you: a lonely businessman sips on a glass of whisky as the barkeep leans over and says “Rough day?” Well, it’s 2015 and we’re not on the set of Mad Men, and hotel watering holes are so much more than that.
6Twelve (Saskatoon, SK)
Head into the waterfront Sheraton hotel and down the hallway to find this cocktail hotspot serving everything from an after-work drinks to the perfect first date cocktail. The Blackberry Blossom is floral and bright, helping you pretend that winter isn’t around the corner. For something a little different, try the Beetnik, a martini that’s prepared with house-made beet-infused vodka with dill.
Bearfoot Bistro’s Champagne Lounge and The Ice Room (Whistler, BC)
Après-ski or not, the Champagne Lounge is one of the most popular places in Whistler to enjoy a drink. Like the Listel Hotel it’s housed in, the lounge is equal parts contemporary and cozy. If you’re after a less-than traditional bar experience, pop in to the property’s -32° ice lounge for a vodka tasting with some friends. Don’t worry, they supply the jackets.
The Drake Hotel Lounge (Toronto, ON)
Queen Street West has no shortage of great places to go for a drink, but you have to give props to The Drake for being around for so many years and keeping up with the joneses, or at least the hipster-cool cocktail joints nearby. There’s ample seating here (a rarity on Queen Street) and there’s usually something interesting going on in the evening, including the weekly 86’d Industry Mondays, live music and more.
Lounge Central 899 (Calgary, AB)
Often eclipsed by the well-known Le Germain restaurant Charcut, a lot of people forget that this chic lounge, recessed on the main level, is a comfy and cool place to enjoy a classic cocktail with a bite to eat. The food offerings are minimal, but the charcuterie is made by Charcut, so you know it will be good.
Pacific Rim Lobby Lounge (Vancouver, BC)
Most Fairmont properties are known for their cocktail programs, but this particular lounge in downtown Vancouver just feels like a cut above the rest. Wear your Sunday best to this spot; otherwise the ball-gowned servers floating around the room might make you feel under-dressed. It’s a pretty regal cocktail experience, but in the best way.
Plateau Lounge (Montreal, QC)
When you walk into a W Hotel, you can typically bank on things being pretty slick and sophisticated, and, naturally, Plateau is no exception in terms of décor and their well-crafted cocktails. The lounge is much calmer earlier in the week, but picks up Thursday to Saturday evenings, when you’ll find local DJs spinning tunes.
Prohibition (Vancouver, BC)
Don’t let the name scare you, there’s no shortage of booze behind the bar here. Currently one of Vancouver’s hottest spots to grab a drink, Prohibition is located in Hotel Georgia, but sticks to the speakeasy feel with a side door entrance, complete with an eye slot, a lush interior and bartenders that can make whatever your heart desires.
Raw Bar (Calgary, AB)
Famous in Calgary for its stunning contemporary Vietnamese cuisine, Raw Bar was one of the first establishments in Calgary to put an emphasis on craft cocktails, and continues to be a leader in the scene. Sip on a build-your-own old fashioned, order a Rose Aperol Spritzer punch bowl to share — you can’t really go wrong.
Shangri-la Lobby Lounge (Toronto, ON)
The Shangri-la spares no expense when it comes to appearance, service and quality. Much like the aforementioned Pacific Rim, it’s a place where you should probably be mindful of what you’re wearing. Sitting down in here at night, with the ambient lighting, while you sip on a classic gin martini will make you feel a bit like a movie star.
YEW (Vancouver, BC)
This sustainable seafood-focused restaurant inside The Four Seasons hotel also looks to the ocean when it comes to inspiration for their cocktail menu. Designed by one of Canada’s most well-known mixologists Lauren Mote, the intricate drinks (separated into five different categories, each inspired by one of the world’s oceans) feature unique ingredients like Irish moss, Green Chartreuse, fenugreek and more.