5 hottest bars in Calgary
Don't miss these awesome cocktail bars. The hottest places to unwind after dark.
Old World and New World meet, not only in the glass but also in this wine bar’s interior artistry. Two locations emanate two different sensibilities, one a converted 1905 home and then bicycle shop re-imagined as a highly contemporary space that still shows its roots. The other venue is equally modern but in a more sleek manner, as if Mondrian, Dali and the Bauhaus school had sat down over a bottle of wine and tried to come up with a concept. The interiors are as intriguing and as captivating as the wine selections that are housed in Enomatic wine dispensers and make over 100 wines available by the glass. Equally tempting are the food offerings from the fabulous charcuterie platters featuring artisan meats, smoked fish and cheeses to tapas selections including their very popular eggplant chips and braised pork short ribs. Both locations demand a visit just to drink in and drink up the swanky and fun aesthetic.
Tel:+1 403-457-5522 www.vinroom.com/home
The Oak Room
Palatial is really the only word that comes to mind when you step into this lobby lounge and bar. Deep carpeting, plush seating and ceilings high enough for a trapeze act to perform but this place is more elegant and reserved than that. They like to bill themselves as the spot where “the martini crowd mixes with the Microbrew crew,” but there’s lots of room for the single malt mob and wine lovers too.The menu offers plenty of tempting food to go with your classic cocktail or brew from a roast beef pretzel sandwich to a Cobb salad to Ahi tuna crudo. To aid digestion and soothe your soul, check out the live jazz, mellow pop and R&B on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings featuring local musicians.
Tel: +1 403-262-1234 www.fairmont.com/palliser-calgary/
Kasey Wilson is a food and travel writer, broadcaster and author. She is editor of Best Places Vancouver; executive producer and co-host of AM650¹s Best of Food & Wine and author of ten non-fiction books. Wilson was inducted into the British Columbia Restaurant Hall of Fame and is a judge for The World¹s 50 Best Restaurants.
By Kasey Wilson
Tel:+1 403-206-9565 www.hotelarts.ca/
Raw Bar by Duncan Ly
Sleek, chic and boasting what chef Duncan Ly calls a decidedly modern Vietnamese vibe, the Raw Bar has changed its colour hue from red to blue for a more subdued but no less vibrant atmosphere. That change is also reflected in Mr. Ly’s Viet-Modern menu with offerings like a ginger-caramel sablefish hotpot, beef short rib steamed buns or lemongrass coconut braised chicken curry. On the drink side of things, the bar team has won a host of cocktail competitions and the art and science of their mixology expertise is evident in every one of the bar’s creations. For those who are wooed by wine, there’s an excellent wines-by-the-glass program and beer drinkers can delight in some unique and offbeat micro-brew selections. And if the weather’s warm enough, you can enjoy all this poolside.
Tel:+1 403-261-5009 http://milktigerlounge.ca/
Milk Tiger Lounge
I think the cocktail list here is bigger than the long narrow room that attracts both hipsters and refined drinkers alike, all looking for a classic mixed drink to add a little pizzazz to their night-life. And classics are what this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it place does best from the Manhattan to the Old Fashioned to the Suffering Bastard and that’s just the tip of the cocktail iceberg offered up. This is really an education in mixology, both old and new. As for the nibbles, the selection is pretty small but what they do offer is gluten-free. The meatball sandwich is popular along with the pretzels and accompanying nasal-clearing mustard, or try the cheese platter with condiments and crostini. Great music all add to this joint’s eclectic vibe. Forget the hair of the dog and try the milk of the tiger instead.
Tel:+1 403-265-0699 www.cowboysnightclub.com/
The phrase “when in Rome” is an apt philosophy for this Calgary institution. Nothing will give you a quicker crash course in local saddle-sore culture than Cowboys. It’s a mega-bar, dancehall, country music venue, DJ-spinning extravaganza and more. It’s a non-stop party and the well-soused headquarters of the Calgary Stampede. Paris Hilton even made a guest DJ performance here recently as did Kim Kardashian and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who showed up to play keyboards with Herringbone, a Canadian band. Food? Who cares. Drinks? By the bucketful. This is the kind of joint that, if you stay long enough, you’ll end up doing tequila shots out of a cowboy boot.