Sour, sweet, neat or on the rocks—no matter how you prefer to sip on libations, you’ll find that the Sunshine Coast’s cocktail scene is well-balanced, indeed. From upscale restaurants serving up modern twists on the classics to specialty eateries slingin' staples like margaritas alongside zero-proof mocktails, we’ve got the details on where to imbibe for the next time you fancy a drink.
The Pink House Bistro, Gibsons
Caesars at brunch, margarita happy hour, negroni with dinner—there's no rhyme or reason when cocktails can be sipped. But there is something extra special about a cozy, intimate space where you can indulge in craft cocktails in the company of a loved one. The Pink House Bistro is that spot in Gibsons. Tucked off Gower Point Road on the second floor of an unmistakable pink-hued building, this charming bistro serves up an extensive drinks menu, a warm space featuring low-lit lighting and luxe textures, and for those warm summer evenings, a patio with views of Gibsons Harbour. The bistro is known for their Middle Eastern focus, which is also evident in the drinks list. There's za'atar syrup, mixed into the Sababa Margarita; a cumin, ginger and honey balsamic syrup, which adds spice and sweetness to their Mumbai Mule; and orange blossom water and rose and date syrup, found in their Signature Rosé Sangria and It’s Pronounced Bouquet Sour, respectively. A line of zero-proof fauxtails remove the booze, but keep the same gorgeous flavours Pink House is known for.
El Segundo, Sechelt
Transport yourself to a tropical destination at El Segundo. Situated in the heart of Sechelt's downtown, this fusion restaurant serves up a cocktail menu that's all about fresh flavours, new takes on old classics, and bold spirits. Sipped outside on their patio, or inside the restaurant's fun and colourful space, you'll see why they're all about "good vibe dining" (or drinking). Their cocktail menu changes frequently, based on what's available and in season—though you'll find familiar options like margaritas year-round. In summer, you could be sipping on refreshing drinks like their Watermelon Sugar High Spritz or the Fraise Shift, a strawberry version of the classic shift. Keep things on-theme and share a tropical fishbowl with your friends, or opt for a mimosa for Sunday brunch. No matter when you visit, you're sure to find a thoughtfully curated cocktail menu. Bonus: the restaurant is all ages, so if you're out for family dinner and feel like kicking back with a drink, you can.
Shinglemill Pub & Bistro, Powell River
Powell Lake is a crown jewel of the qathet Regional District. At 50-kilometres long, this lake is a favourite for recreators in the area, including boaters, kayakers, and hikers tackling the Sunshine Coast Trail. It's also home to the Shinglemill Pub & Bistro , a taphouse-style eatery that serves a top-notch weekend brunch, elevated pub fare, and wickedly good cocktails. The classics menu is short and sweet, with options for a caesar,
Tom Collins, Dark and Stormy, and a negroni. Their signature drinks list infuses local flavours into simple syrups, like a cedar syrup shaken with bourbon, triple sec, orange juice, and soda. The rosemary margarita is a savoury take, while the mojito mixes lemon balm, rum, and lime juice. Grab a spot on the outdoor heated patio, drink in hand, and check out the action on Powell Lake.
Hyper-local Brassica puts the same spin on their drinks as they do food. You can expect to find highly creative and inventive cocktails, including the Don't Think Twice, which infuses rum with ginger, lime, and hoppy beer and is finished with a seaweed spray for an umami kick. The Bangarang uses clarified milk, chardonnay, rhubarb, and lemon to round out this bourbon drink. Spruce tip, a local botanical favourite, makes its way into their Luck of Sprucien, a pineapple gin drink shaken with vermouth, orange bitters, and a grapefruit twist. And that's just the (spruce) tip—Brassica's cocktail menu can, and does, change, depending on what the restaurant has cooking. Special dinners, featuring guest chefs and curated menus, will tailor the drinks to match, so keep your eyes peeled in anticipation of these nights.
Wobbly Canoe, Davis Bay
Call us biased, but we think cocktails are infinitely better when sipped in view of the ocean. If the Wobbly Canoe's busy patio is any indication, others agree. This popular eatery is located along the Davis Bay parkway in Sechelt, just steps from the beach. It's one of the best places to take in the sunset, with its west-facing location, and its wide and spacious patio is a popular spot for happy hour. Their lineup of signature cocktails make them a worthy addition to the list of great sipping spots on the Coast. The mango margarita, made with premium and smoky-forward mezcal, is a highly crushable option for summer days. A take on a sour features Victoria-based Empress Gin, housemade lavender syrup, and vegan-friendly aquafaba. Swap Long Island for the Sunshine Coast with their take on a hard tea, or opt for a caffeinated creation, the Wobbly Shaft, an espresso-based drink with vodka, coffee-based liqueurs, and a cinnamon sugar rim. Unlike your classic apres-ski drinks, this one is served cold and over ice.
Coastal Cookery, Powell River
This Powell River institution has an extensive spirits menu, offering everything from sours to tonics to mules—not to mention their enticing featured creations. It's a great spot for those curious about cocktails, or those who love sampling a variety of classics (all done with Coastals’ unique twist), and are looking for a fun spot to hang out in that's—bonus—within walking distance of downtown shops and hotels. Where possible, Coastal Cookery features local and Canadian spirits, including gin from Victoria and vermouth from Vancouver. Likewise, the Salish Caesar is made with Canadian craft caesar mix, Walter's, plus vodka, a cedar-smoked rim, liquid smoke and seasonal pickled veg for a local take on a staple. Prefer something lighter and more refreshing? Opt for the Turmeric Tonic, made with gin, fresh orange, ginger and soda, or the River City Breeze, done with basil and lemon, aloe juice and soda.
Lunitas Mexican Eatery, Gibsons
Margaritas: what's not to love? A cocktail that is equal parts conjurer of past vacations and harbinger of good times. It's half the reason why margaritas are so popular and beloved. Complex, well-balanced, and infinitely customizable, they're perfect for savouring on patios in the sunshine, just about anywhere. Plus, it's hard to make a great marg at home (and we're not talking the blended kind, either). Garnished with botanicals, dried fruits, and flavoured salted rims, they're not easy to replicate. This is why Lunitas is the ideal stop for the margarita lover. This Mexican restaurant, located in Gibsons overlooking the marina and Keats Island, dedicates most of their lineup of signature cocktails to this concoction. There's a lengthy list of staples that make the menu year-round, but watch for their features that use seasonal ingredients, such as a spruce tip and rhubarb margarita. Prefer to sip your agave spirits straight up? They offer mezcal flights, too. No matter what version you choose, you can expect housemade bitters, syrups and garnishes, premium agave-based spirits, and a great patio with ocean views.
Costa Del Sol, Powell River
Latin-inspired Costa Del Sol packs a punch with their cocktail menu. Sure, there are excellent margaritas, but you'll also find red wine sangria, a highly sippable happy hour drink, a pisco sour done with fresh cucumber and lemon, a Rum Bo that mixes Mexican sugar cane cola and spiced rum with muddled mint and lime, a smoked elderflower mule, and Mexican Kool Aid, a rum-and-brandy-forward sipping drink blended with chilled hibiscus. Sip on tequila or mezcal by the copita, or non-alcoholic coolers and limonadas if you prefer to keep things booze-free. If you can, snag a spot on the patio under the restaurant's signature hanging wisteria, which blooms in May and June.
Zero-Proof Cocktails and Sodas
Whether you’re sober-curious, the designated driver, or a health-conscious traveller—zero-proof drinks let you have all the fun without the booze. At most restaurants and cafes you’ll find virgin options to your drinks, but bartenders—and Gibsons cider makers—have taken this a step further, creating highly sippable and delicious drinks that just happen to be low ABV.
Brassica uses zero-proof spirits in a handful of their signature sodas, including the Enfante, a grapefruit drink made using simple syrup and lemon and the Virginia Spritiz, a refreshing sweet tea concoction. On the Northern Sunshine Coast, Coastal Cookery serves up their take on zero-proof sodas, subbing spices and botanicals like turmeric, anise syrup, rose, and more in place of spirits. Both Costa del Sol and Lunitas Mexican Eatery have some seriously good mocktails—made with botanicals, fresh juices, and house made syrups—the only things these cocktails skimp on is the booze. El Segundo and The Pink House Bistro also offer a delicious lineup of fauxtails too.
Gibsons' cideries are always a good time to hang out in, and if you're avoiding booze, you'll now find non-alcoholic sodas at both Banditry Cider and Sunday Cider. Banditry makes their own, which you can order individually or in one of their new non-alcoholic flights, and at Sunday, they stock the seriously delicious range of sodas from popular brewery 33 Acres in Vancouver.
Bonus: Build Your Own Cocktail
Looking to take a taste of the Sunshine Coast home with you? You can pick up all the ingredients you need to make a delicious drink reminiscent of your trip.
Find your base—whether it's gin, vodka or even something unique, like cream-based liqueur Advocaat—at local distilleries, including Bruinwood Estate Distillery, One Foot Crow, and Salish Sea Spirits. Want to taste these spirits first? Stop by distilleries Bruinwood and One Foot Crow for samples, and head to Seasider Bistro + Wine Bar + Patio in Powell River, which exclusively uses Salish Sea Spirits in their Seasider signature libations.
Farmers' Markets across the Sunshine Coast have local honey, botanicals, and even shrubs, vinegars and syrups, all ideal for mixing into cocktails. In need of glassware? Snag a new set at boutiques and home goods stores.