Best Hotel Bar in Vancouver? You make the call!

Hotel bars are funny things.  Some people absolutely hate them.  Some people love them.

At root, there’s a pretty complex dynamic at work.  Hotel bars are just about the opposite of your local watering hole.  They’re not chummy.  They’re rarely gritty or authentic.  But, done right, that works in their favour.

A good hotel bar, you see, is partly a fantasy.  It’s a little bit classier, a little bit more mysterious, a little bit more exotic than what you might be used to.  You certainly wouldn’t go there all the time – But once in a while, it’s a nice change of pace.

Now, there are plenty of great hotel bars in Vancouver.  Too many, in fact – which is why I’d like your help.

Do have a favourite hotel bar in the city?  A classy, cosmopolitan spot with a nice mix of travelers and locals and great drinks?  Please let us know below. 

I’ll start things off with a hotel bar I visited recently: Xi Shi Lounge in the Shangri-La Hotel.

Now, the Shangri-La is five-star all the way – the kind of refined hotel, rumoured to have a 2:1 staff to guest ratio, that attracts visiting celebrities and executives.  In other words, I probably won’t be staying there anytime soon.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t soak up the good life in their bar.

In keeping with the hotel, Xi Shi has an Asian theme (The name refers to the ancient Chinese Goddess of the Lotus Blossom).  Cocktail waitresses make the rounds in traditional hand-tailored Mandarin gowns.  And the menu features artisan cocktails like the Iron Lotus ($12; Belvedere vodka, elderflower, ginger, sparkling wine).

But what I really noticed was how Xi Shi managed to be both classy and unpretentious at the same time.  Servers were attentive and friendly.  A funky trio had the place grooving to some very good jazz and Latin music (There’s free music nightly).  And the crowd was a nice mix between jet-setting guests and locals out for a drink.  Plus, big floor-to-ceiling windows look right out onto Alberni Street, which make the lounge feel like it’s part of the city rather than sequestered deep in the hotel.

Any other favourite hotel bars in Vancouver?  Please comment and let us know. 

Want more updates on Vancouver and beyond?  Follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza

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