Five local bars in Victoria to try –

Local breweries, dancefloors, and eateries are open for nightlife

Photo by Ashlee Levy.

Now that COVID-19 restrictions are easing up, people are flooding to the downtown core eager to get back out and enjoy Victoria’s nightlife.

BC recently announced changes to the province-wide COVID-19 restrictions. While proof of vaccination is still required, restaurants, bars, and clubs are now allowed to operate at full capacity. Patrons are also no longer required to remain seated at their tables, and dance floors are back and bumping.

If you’re looking to take advantage of these newly-relaxed restrictions while supporting local businesses, be sure to try out these five local spots on your next night out.

Swans Pub

Open since 1989, Swans is a brewery and pub located on the corner of Store Street and Pandora Avenue. They have a large selection of beers brewed on site, as well as a list of guest drafts from breweries around BC Whether you’re a fan of dark beers or fruity sours, there is something for everyone.

If you’re not a beer drinker at all, they even have a selection of cocktails and other beverages on tap. The pub has a lively and fun atmosphere, without being over the top loud. You can still relax and have a good conversation while sipping your drink of choice.

Irish Times Pub

If you’ve ever walked down Government Street, you’ve probably heard live music streaming out from the open doors of Irish Times, or at least noticed the line outside snaking down the sidewalk. Irish Times is known for its selection of European beer, including Guinness imported from Ireland. They also have a variety of specialty cocktails. If you need a pick-me-up part way through the night, they also offer four boozy coffee options.

Their slogan, “Food for the body. Drink for the spirit. Music for the soul,” perfectly captures the Irish Times experience. Plus, their small dance floor and live music on weekends makes for a fun night out.

Whistle Buoy Brewing Company

Whistle Buoy is a local brewery located in Market Square. Their rotating list of house-brewed beer is available to enjoy at the brewery or to take home. They also offer a small selection of wine and cocktails, as well as snacks to go with your drink. You can sip your drink and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere inside the brewery or outside. Their large patio is open year-round, and is dog-friendly. Open until midnight on weekends, Whistle Buoy also allows you to bring your own food so it’s the perfect place to enjoy late night take-out with locally-brewed beers.

Friends of Dorothy

Friends of Dorothy is a popular LGBTQ+ lounge on Johnson Street. It’s a beautifully decorated, lively space with great music and live entertainment almost every night. The colorful bar serves a variety of drinks, including a list of specialty Wizard of Oz themed cocktails. Friends of Dorothy also offers a variety of appetizers, main courses, and charcuterie boards. If you’re not into the bar scene, their weekend brunch menu is also worth checking out.

Peacock Billiards

If you’re looking for a fun activity to do on your night out, Peacock Billiards is the perfect place. Located on the corner of Douglas and View Street, Peacock is a popular place to grab a drink and play pool. In addition to billiards, they also have foosball and table tennis. Peacock has a full-service bar, including a list of specialty cocktails. The pool hall shares a space with the James Joyce Bistro, so they also have a large food menu. Be sure to get there early as the wait for a table can be long, especially on weekends.

Whether you’re treating yourself to one drink, pregaming before going dancing, or participating in a pub crawl, these local bars each offer unique menus and experiences. They’re all worth checking out the next time you’re enjoying a night in downtown Victoria.

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