Calgary may be best known for its famous Stampede, but there is more to this Canadian city than horsing around. Its bar scene has quietly got on with creating a real reputation for diversity and quality.
Probably Canada’s most underrated region, Alberta offers riches – both hedonistic and cerebral – in abundance. Yet the regional capital, Calgary, is rarely on anyone’s travel bucket list, and indeed, it cannot claim to be North America’s most beautiful or iconic city. But, paradoxically, its relative anonymity is its secret weapon. It is rare to find such a vibrant metropolis that has remained ‘off the radar’, and therefore utterly unspoiled and almost free of tourists.
Calgary will surprise you with its dynamic cultural scene, diverse nightlife and long, worthwhile to‐do lists. Best of all, you’ll have those surprises (largely) to yourself.
There’s plenty of cutting‐edge nightlife too, as well as rodeo and sightseeing. After the sun goes down, party animals head to Downtown Calgary to sample the city’s more raucous side – there are steak houses and bars aplenty, including honky‐tonk venues that specialise in country and western music. But Downtown is no one‐trick pony; located west of Victoria Park is Calgary’s bourgeoning cocktail neighbourhood.
After a slow start, Calgary is giving Vancouver and Toronto a run for their money in the mixology department, largely thanks to the influx of raw talent that has spread across the city in recent times – both domestic and imported. Calgarians aren’t known for their modesty; it’s their boundless energy and optimism that makes them such enthusiastic and passionate bartenders. Calgary has diverse offerings that include nooks by a fire, dive‐bar karaoke venues, Irish pubs, upmarket wine bars, throbbing dance music, and much more.
If you tire of the city centre, the urban villages of Kensington and Sunnyside have a smattering of relaxed pubs and lounge bars. The up‐and‐coming hipster paradise Mission district is even further off the beaten track, while 17th Avenue SW, between 2nd and 14th streets, boasts the city’s largest concentration of upmarket clubs. The longer you stay in this undiscovered gem, the more there is to surprise you.
Click through the following pages to see our top bars in Calgary, Canada.
*Some of these bars may be temporarily closed due to government restrictions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic