“Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?”
― Albert Camus

“I went to the worst of bars hoping to get killed but all I could do was to get drunk again.”

― Charles Bukowski

Wow, that was a little depressing…you could probably use a drink right about now. Luckily for you humanity has developed an elaborate array of methods to re-hydrate ones self (and send endless streams of chemical commands to abrogate the will of our poor shriveled cerebellums). Our handy menu on the right and the descriptions below will help you to find what you’re looking for whether it be a hearty pint of ale, a homey cup of tea, or a kitschy blue cocktail resplendent with paper umbrella.  



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Union_Pacific_Coffee_Cup_220x124West coast coffee culture is alive and well in Victoria. Locals love to while away the dark days of winter with an over-sized cup of the dark elixir. Add cozy surroundings, a tasty snack, good company or a good read and you’ve got the perfect way to warm up, unwind, then wind back up again.



Blethering_Place_Tea_group_220x160What can you say about Victoria and Tea? The quintessentially British drink consumed in what has always been the quintessentially British outpost in North America. After all we are named after the regent whose first command upon her ascension to the throne was “Bring me a cup of tea and ‘The Times’.” From the first military outpost at Fort Victoria in the 1840’s until the coffee craze began in the 1990’s tea was Victoria’s official drink. Of course every coffee shop and restaurant serves tea but we will use this category to highlight those who live by the leaf.

Tea has been making a brave comeback in recent years, in no small part due to the perceived health benefits of a drink to which one can so easily affix health assuring titles as herbal, organic and cleansing. Several Victoria establishments provide Afternoon Tea (sometimes mislabelled as High Tea) which generally involves a dainty cup of brew with tiny sandwiches, pastries, scones, jam, and other light teats served on doilies and your Grandmother’s finest china. The most famous of these is the Empress Afternoon Tea which will set you back…brace yourself …$49.95 a person! The other reason for the popularity of tea in Victoria is the strength of our Chinese community whose consumption of tea pre-dates the British obsession by thousands of years. (Silk Road is a terrific local tea shop with a strong Asian influence.)


An ideal spot to relax with an intimate group of friends or cuddle in a dark corner with that special someone. Mandatory requirements include a decent selection of wine, a bar well stocked with spirits and a bartender who knows how to use them (and yes we said bartender NOT mixologist). Equally essential is a certain ambiance that relaxes and improves the spirits of the occupants even before the first drink is served. Bonus points for tasty snacks, friendly servers, comfortable seating, and fireplaces! Expect to pay plenty for your drink, so drink slow and enjoy the experience. And please…no TVs!


Pubs must have great beer, good hardy food and a lively casual atmosphere. Costs are typically lower than cocktail bars (unless someone decided to paste the sickening syllables “Gastro” in front of “Pub”). The right music can add to a friendly celebratory atmosphere, but shouldn’t be so loud that you can’t hear the person across the table from you (unless of course it’s played live in which case you’ll just have to hope it’s music you like). TVs are acceptable but hopefully not front and center unless THE big game is on. (We feel that big screen TVs displaying endless highlight reels should be restricted to sports bars).

A good night at a live music venue will include the sampling of beer from bottles bearing emblems of stylized ungulates or lone canines served to you by men with rustic neckbeards or women with fists the size of anvils. If you have the stamina to wait until 12:00 am on the day following the date indicated on your ticket you may actually hear a band play. Unfortunately the sound system will transform the stylings of the downbeat electro-folk duo you have come to see into something akin to a steel shredding machine choking on the chassis of a 1952 Cadillac Fleetwood. You however, will not be troubled by the sonic mutilation as by this point you will be found prostrate on the dance floor, incapacitated by the copious spirits and 4 orders of house special fish tacos you consumed during the interminable wait. At least you will get to feel the music as the crowd oblivious to your condition proceeds to dance upon your shattered carcass like a herd of undulating water buffalo.

With a bar license in BC being the equivalent of a real world money tree it’s no wonder there are bars for every possible proclivity. We’ll sample a few of these cultural oasis, let’s see…there are;

  • Sports Bars where copious beers are guzzled from bottles bearing shiny metallic labels with pictures of growling felines or jagged mountain ranges and bromance blooms throughout the bar after the team wins the big game.  After a long night of tall tales and backs slapped so hard and often they glow red as the cheeks of a crack smoking mayor, you stumble home in the cold grey light of dawn. Upon waking you find clutched in your hand the tattered remnants of a bar napkin marked with smudged rune-like characters. Could this string of numerals be an invitation to sext with that classy waitress with the pornstar tattoo, or an AA support line phone number pressed into your hand by the homeless man who cradled your head as you vomited in the gutter last night?
  • Dance Clubs for women who appear to be dressed in their 12 year old sister’s clothes in an attempt to attract men doused in Axe body spray who dance like hypnotized chickens to the endless thumping spat forth by a turntable titan with the monikor DJ Forksalot who  incredibly manages to not only operate 2 record players simultaneously, but also finds 6 hours of music that all sounds exactly the same. Mad skills indeed!
  • Strip Bars for those who like their beer served on a table that’s just a little bit stickier than usual.
  • Dive Bars which at least have a certain honesty about them (not to mention being the most affordable route to premature liver failure).
  • Gay Bars which are often the best clubs in town until word gets out that they are gay bars after which they rapidly become bars for devious metrosexual men with impeccable shoes hunting confused fashionista girls with asymmetrical haircuts.

We’ll try to cover a sampling of them all with our usual grace and unbiased journalistic finesse.

Whether you want to wow your friends at the dinner party your throwing in your fabulous water front mansion by serving the trendiest of wines, or you need to hole up in your bachelor pad with a magnum of tequila to drown out the voices in your head, you’ll be needing the services of a liquor store. Click here to find our favourites.