Wine Culture Magazine

Your guide to wine bars in Vancouver and Victoria

At Bar Susu in Mount Pleasant, enjoy whatever intriguing natural wines are being poured. Sarah Annand photo courtesy of Bar Susu

It should come as no surprise that here at Vitis, we love a good wine bar, and we really love the fact that there are suddenly a lot more of them around. Of course, a wine bar isn’t just a place to get tipsy on, say, Chardonnay. It’s a place to savour delicious things in a convivial atmosphere, guided by professionals who are passionate and knowledgeable about what’s in your glass and on your plate. Often that means small plates for sharing and wines by the glass, all the better for trying more and more things.

Here are some of our favourites in Vancouver and Victoria.

A taste adventure at Bar Gobo. photo

Vancouver, downtown:

Bar Gobo, 237 Union Street

Discover rare varieties, natural wines “and other fun things” curated by star somm Peter Van de Reep at this tiny, Michelin-recommended joint in Chinatown. Order the seasonal prix fixe menu and let the somm pour whatever he thinks best.

The Wine Bar at Provence Marinaside, 1177 Marinaside Crescent

With its 125+ wines by the glass, TWB is not, perhaps, for the indecisive among us. But it is for those of us who love to try everything at every price point. As one might expect, French wines are a speciality and pair delightfully with the Provençal menu.

Bar Tartare, 54 Alexander Street

This Gastown boîte is the destination for hipsters seeking natural, low-intervention wines in a casual environment—just amble up to the bar and discover what’s chilling in the fridge. Enjoy with whatever the rotating series of chefs is cooking up.

Salt, 227 East Pender Street

Gastown’s pioneering place for cheese, meat and wine—the place that made sherry cool for a hot minute—has relocated to Chinatown after a two-year break. Order a flight of whatever they are pouring and enjoy the sense of discovery. IG @salt.chinatown

Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar, 900 Seymour Street

Squint just so and you might think you’re in Milan. But no, you’re in the stylishly revamped Moda Hotel, where you can enjoy an intriguing selection of mainly Italian wine and snacks, as well as handcrafted cocktails.

Vancouver, East Side and Mount Pleasant:

Bar Susu, 209 East 6th Avenue

Bar Susu, the casual sibling to Michelin-starred Published, returns to its historic digs this spring after a fire forced it to relocate for nearly a year. Drop in, taste whatever is open (typically something refreshingly natural) and try the fabulous fare from a talented kitchen.

Dear Gus Snack Bar, 2040 Quebec Street

A petite European-style wine bar with a menu of lovely snacking things—cheese, oysters, mussels, anchovies, ricotta gnocchi—and a rotating selection of intriguing wines. Its wine club offers access to exclusive wine tastings and dinners.

Caffe La Tana, 635 Commercial Drive

Swing by the charming space beside Pepino’s Spaghetti House for an all-Italian wine list and gorgeous hand-made pastas. You can also pick up Italian gourmet foods—Pepino’s meatballs, pasta-making tools, burrata—in the wee market.

A warm welcome at Stable House Bistro. photo

Vancouver, West Side:

The Stable House Bistro, 1520 West 13th Avenue

This bright, fresh, welcoming wine bar is the perfect place to stop in after shopping along South Granville. We love the charcuterie boards, the classic croque monsieur and anything from the lively cellar.

Grapes & Soda, 1541 West 6th Avenue

This 25-seater next door to sister restaurant Farmer’s Apprentice may be tiny, but it’s big on fabulous things to taste, whether it’s a sichuan duck leg, kale gomae, biodynamic Grüner from Austria or amphora Syrah from the Similkameen.

In Victoria, the new Bray’s West Coast Wine + Tapas Bar is all about sharable dishes like the truffle popcorn showered with shredded Manchego cheese. Joanne Sasvari photo


Bodega and Bar Poco, 1210 Broad Street and 616 Trounce Alley

Owned by the same folks as the family-friendly Tapa Bar between them, these are the places to go in Victoria for small bites and superlative wines. Bodega is sophisticated and Spanish forward, ideal for when you’re craving a vermouth flight; Bar Poco is, as the name suggests, tiny, with an inventive menu and surprising sips like Ursa Major’s Merlot-Gew co-ferment.,

Bray’s West Coast Tapas + Wine Bar, 460 Pandora Avenue

Sleek, modern and new, Bray’s is an exciting addition to the city’s sipping scene. It offers creative share plates—the kale pesto gnocchi is a must—and a lively selection of wines both local and international, as well as a terrific patio for people watching.

L’Apéro Wine and Cheese Bistro, 1028 Blanshard Street

Behind an unassuming storefront on busy Blanshard, cheesemonger Guillaume Kieffer has assembled a paradise for fans of fromage and the wines that go with. Attentive staff, terrific wines, gorgeous cheeses, lots of lovely melty raclette.

Tourist Wine Bar, 1002 Blanshard Street

Victoria’s first natural-wine bar caters to a market eager for funky new flavours in a casual sipping environment. Let the house somms take you on a tour of whatever is chilling in the wine fridge, and enjoy with the popular burger. IG @touristwinebar

Vis-à-Vis Bouchon Bar, 2232 Oak Bay Avenue

This charming French bistro in Oak Bay features an award-winning wine list heavy on selections from B.C. and France, with loads of options by the glass. Perfect alongside a menu of classics like coq au vin and duck à l’orange.

The Farmer’s Daughter, 2360 Beacon Avenue, Sidney

On your way to or from the ferry? Take a detour into charming Sidney-by-the-Sea and belly up to the counter for a flight of wine and cheese (or, on Wednesdays, fondue). Then pick up some cheese and accompaniments for the drive home.

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