In Vancouver, and the rest of British Columbia, alcohol can be purchased at government run liquor stores, wine stores, beer and wine stores, pubs, bars, lounges, clubs and some restaurants. It is also available at many golf courses and at concerts, sporting events and festivals.
Besides government run liquor stores, you can purchase wine at private wine shops and at BC VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) shops. Private wine shops often have wine that is not available in government wine stores. BC VQA shops sell only BC VQA wines.
Alcohol is not sold in supermarkets, convenience stores or from vending machines.
The legal drinking age in British Columbia is 19.
Most Canadian beers contain 5% alcohol. You can check the can or bottle for the exact percentage of alcohol since alcohol content is listed on all Canadian beer.
British Columbia recently enacted new liquor laws that allow bars and pubs to offer Happy Hour Specials, and patrons can now order drinks without food in restaurants. Finally, parents will be able to bring children with them into pubs for lunch or dinner.
In some US states, including California, beer with a 5% alcohol content cannot be called beer. It has to be called stout, lager, ale or something else. So if you’re used to drinking American beer, you may be in for a surprise with the stronger Canadian beer. Also note that some American beer brewed in Canada may have a higher alcohol content than its American counterpart.
Government liquor stores sell no soft drinks. Beside hard liquor, they sell soft cider and “non-alcoholic” beer and wine with an alcohol content of about .5%.
Government liquor stores recycle everything they sell: beer and wine bottles, beer cans and the boxes they came in. They refund the 10 or 20 cent deposit you paid on cans and bottles. About 85% of all cans, bottles and packaging sold in BC Liquor Stores is returned.
Vancouver’s Best Liquor Stores
Thurlow & Alberni (Downtown Vancouver)
1120 Alberni Street
Product Consultants: Jodan Hayes, Carol Smith, Raquel Grafton
39th & Cambie (Vancouver)
5555 Cambie Street
Product Consultants: Chris Bostwick, Karen Curtis, Cindy Gray, Neena Smith, Wendy Walker
3453 Dunbar Street
Product Consultant: Elaine Conway
Park Royal (West Vancouver)
570 Park Royal North
Product Consultants: Katherine McEachnie, Leslie Pasch, Sandi Smith
Caulfeild (West Vancouver)
195 – 5335 Headland Drive
Product Consultant: Bert Ferri
HighGate Village (Burnaby)
235 – 7155 Kingsway
Product Consultants: Julie Gardner, Ken Kullberg
103 – 3433 North Road
Product Consultants: Steve England
Government Liquor Stores Open on Sunday
Most liquor stores are closed on Sunday. Recently, the policy was changed, and now the following liquor stores in Vancouver and the North Shore are open seven days a week:
5555 Cambie St at 39th
1191 Robson Street
1120 Alberni at Thurlow
570 Park Royal North
There are 31 liquor stores in Vancouver and the North Shore:
16 in Vancouver West
7 in Vancouver East
5 in North Vancouver
3 in West Vancouver
For more information, go to www.bcliquorstores.com