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Sipping Through the City Calgary's Top 15 Downtown Bars Unveiled

Sipping Through the City: Calgary’s Top 15 Downtown Bars Unveiled!

I jaz gt bukc form a tap (oops sorry, gimme a sec)—OK, I just got back from a top-secret mission: bar hopping in downtown Calgary. Let me tell you, it was quite an adventure. 

From drinks that tasted like a sweet symphony to some that hit my taste buds like a freight train, I experienced it all. Don’t worry, I didn’t go on a five-night bender (my liver and I have a good understanding). 

Some bars were so much fun that they warranted an Advil the next morning. But hey, it was all in the name of research, right? 

And because I’m not one to gatekeep, I’m letting you in on the juicy details of my “research.” So grab a friend, set a date, and get ready to discover the coolest bars in downtown Calgary. But remember to pace yourself and drink responsibly!

Home and Away

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Address: 1207 1 St SW

Contact details: +1 403-455-9789

Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday: 11:00 AM – 12:00 AM; Friday to Saturday: 11:00 AM – 2:00 AM

Pricing: $$


So, you gotta check out Home & Away YYC—it’s the spot for catching the game, grabbing some awesome eats, and sharing a few laughs with pals.

Their menu? It’s not your usual pub grub, trust me. They’ve got everything from funky tacos to killer burgers, pizzas that hit the spot, and even some epic mac and cheese. And on the weekends? Well, let’s just say things can get pretty wild in there.

Oh, and if you’re up for dancing your socks off, head downstairs to Shuffle Club. It’s got all kinds of tunes, shiny disco balls, and even a shuffleboard court. Basically, it’s where the party’s at.

Pro tips:

Hit up their socials or website and get in on taco night—it’s a total steal at $16 per person for all-you-can-eat tacos (sauce not included, though). Tuesdays are the hot ticket, so better book ahead if you want in on the action!

Cannibale Bar & Barbershop

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Address: 813 1 Ave NE

Contact details: +1 403-454-5808

Opening hours: Monday to Thursday: 3:00 PM – 11:00 PM; Friday: 3:00 PM – 1:00 AM; SAturday: 11:00 AM – 1:00 AM; Sunday: 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM

Pricing: $$ 


So, imagine this: there’s this place in Bridgeland called Cannibale. It’s not your average joint—it’s part bar, part restaurant, and get this, part barbershop (speakeasy-style). Yeah, you heard me right.

From the moment you walk in, you’re greeted with friendly smiles and leave feeling like you’ve joined a secret club—it’s a cool vibe.

Their menu has everything from chipotle spareribs to pork carnitas nachos and Yucatan chicken tacos. They’ve got a wide selection of beer, cider, and wine, but it’s the cocktails that you’ll really fall for at this hidden gem in Bridgeland.

Oh, and outside? They’ve got this sweet patio with a brick fireplace and high walls for privacy. Perfect for chilling out after knocking back a few drinks.

Pro tips:

Heads up, they don’t have a dedicated gluten-free menu, but they’ve got plenty of gluten-free options if you ask the staff. Cannibale is mainly a cocktail bar, but the cool thing is their food menu is about 95% gluten-free. So, you’re pretty much covered!

The Ship & Anchor

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Address: 534 17 Ave SW

Contact details: +1 403-245-3333

Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 11:00 AM – 2:00 AM; Saturday to Sunday: 10:00 AM – 2:00 AM

Pricing: $$


This spot on 17th Avenue is pretty chill, offering daily specials, a relaxed vibe, and a solid rotation of craft beers on tap for those who are into that.

But let’s talk about the food – it’s surprisingly good for the price. Seriously, you won’t be disappointed. And if you’re up for something different, try the deep-fried pickles—and I must say, they’re strangely addictive.

As for the drinks, they’ve got a nice variety on tap, with the Wildrose ones being a safe bet. And the prices for drinks? They’re way more reasonable compared to some other places in Calgary.

Plus, they’ve always got something going on, like live music. Just check out their website or socials to see what’s happening. Plan your visit around one of their events for the full Ship and Anchor experience.

Pro tips:

If you’re looking to dodge the crowd, keep in mind that Friday and Saturday nights tend to turn this place into the local hipster hangout. But if that’s your vibe, swing by because it’s a blast (but be prepared for potential line-ups).

Local on 8th Ave

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Address: 310 8 Ave SW

Contact details: +1 403-264-7808

Opening hours: Monday to Thursday: 11:00 AM – 12:00 AM; Friday: 11:00 AM – 1:00 AM; Saturday: 10:00 AM – 1:00 AM; Sunday: 10:00 AM – 12:00 AM

Pricing: $$


Check out Thirsty Bear Kitchen and Bar for locally microbrewed beers on tap and a mouthwatering menu So, Local on 8th Ave is awesome if you’re just in the mood for a chill night out. Picture this: kicking back with your buddies and grabbing a beer.

And let’s talk about their patio—it’s a total gem, especially when the sun’s out in full force. Perfect for kicking back, people-watching, and soaking up those rays. 

Now, the menu? Classic pub grub all the way—burgers, wings, fries—the usual suspects, but always hitting the spot. And it’s exactly what you need to decompress after a hectic day on the grind. 

Bonus points for the friendly staff and speedy service—they’re all about making sure you’re having a blast. So whether you’re swinging by for a quick one or settling in for the long haul, Local on 8th Ave is your go-to. 

Pro tips:

They’ve got gluten-free burgers and even a dedicated fryer for the fries. The staff knew their stuff and mentioned the dedicated fryer before I even asked. It’s also celiac-friendly.

The Guild

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Address: 200 8 Ave SW

Contact details: +1 403-770-2313

Opening hours: Tuesday to Wednesday: 11:30 AM – 10:00 PM; Thursday to Friday: 11:30 AM – 11:00 PM; Saturday: 12:00 PM – 11:00 PM; Sunday: 12:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Pricing: $$$


You’ve got to check out The Guild when you’re feeling like stepping it up a notch but still keeping it laid-back. They’re famous for their top-notch steaks and killer cocktail selection. 

It might be a bit pricey, but worth it for a fancy night out. The vibe inside is so cozy with all those wood accents—it feels like home. 

And their food is incredible, and you get plenty of it. Whether you’re there for dinner or just grabbing drinks, it’s always a treat.

Also, their rooftop patio is a must-visit in the summer for a perfect mix of good food, drinks, and views. And don’t even get me started on their weekend brunch menu—it’s a game-changer.

Pro tip:

Here’s a little insider tip: ask about their off-menu specials—they sometimes have some hidden gems that aren’t listed. If you’re into whiskey, they’ve got a great selection, and the bartenders can whip up something amazing if you tell them what you like. 

Lulu Bar

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Address: 510 17 Ave SW

Contact details: +1 403-930-5707

Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday: 11:30 AM – 12:00 AM; Friday to Saturday: 11:30 AM – 1:00 AM

Pricing: $$$


Lulu Bar is one of those places in Calgary that just stands out. The environment they’ve got going on is like stepping into a tropical oasis right in the heart of the city. 

Their cocktails? Seriously impressive. They’ve got this knack for creativity that always makes each drink a hit. And when it comes to the food, they’re serving up Asian and Hawaiian-inspired dishes that are perfect for sharing. Think dumplings, skewers—the works.  

But what keeps me coming back is the atmosphere. It’s so alive and vibrant that you can’t help but get caught up in it. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve gone in for a quick bite and ended up staying way longer than planned. 

Pro tips:

If you’re planning an event with fewer than 50 guests, you can email them directly. But for groups of 50 or more guests, you’ll need to fill out the form for event bookings on their website.

Lonely Mouth

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Address: 528 17 Ave SW

Contact details: +1 403-990-5094

Opening hours: Sunday to Wednesday: 11:30 AM – 12:00 AM; Thursday to Saturday: 11:30 AM – 1:00 AM

Pricing: $$


If you haven’t heard of it, “kuchisabishii” is a Japanese term that means “lonely mouth”—craving something tasty to munch on, eh? 

Well, right in the heart of 17th Avenue’s bustling scene, you’ll find Lonely Mouth, one of Calgary’s latest Japanese-inspired hangouts. Come evening, it’s the spot for grabbing a bite and some drinks.

What’s the deal with Lonely Mouth? Think vibrant sushi hand rolls, slurp-worthy udon noodles, crispy tempura, and all sorts of creative dishes. 

They’ve got it all, from house-made noodles to a killer sake lineup. It’s an experience in itself, and hey, you can toast to that, too!

Pro tip:

Here’s the scoop: make sure you try every single hand roll—they’re all worth it. And even if you’re feeling stuffed, do yourself a favour and snag some sweet potato donuts for dessert—you’ll thank me later, I promise.

Mikey’s On 12th

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Address: 918 12 Ave SW

Contact details: +1 403-452-8060

Opening hours: Sunday to Tuesday: 12:00 PM – 12:00 AM; Wednesday to Saturday: 12:00 AM – 2:00 AM

Pricing: $$


If live music is your thing, Mikey’s On 12th is the place to be. With its classic dive-bar vibe, it’s all about laid-back vibes and a warm welcome.

The bands they showcase? Absolutely top-notch, highlighting some seriously talented local acts. It’s just the perfect spot to kick back and groove to some awesome tunes.

What’s even better? The drinks won’t break the bank, and the energy in the air is always electric. Seriously, you can’t help but get caught up in the crowd’s vibe—it’s infectious.

And don’t forget to keep an eye on their schedule for upcoming gigs. Who knows? You might just discover your new favourite band.

Pro tip:

Just a heads up: they tack on an extra $5 when they’ve got an artist up on stage. It’s not a big deal, but it’s good to know ahead of time so you’re not caught off guard when you roll up there.

The Imperial Tap

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Address: 503 4 Ave SW

Contact details: +1 403-452-0539

Opening hours: Monday to Thursday: 11:00 AM – 1:00 AM; Friday: 11:00 AM – 2:00 AM; Saturday: 4:00 PM – 12:00 AM

Pricing: $$


The Imperial Tap is located in the heart of downtown Calgary, right at the corner of 4th and 4th SW. Talk about a prime location, right in the thick of things, with easy access to the Plus 15 Network.

But that’s not all that’s cool about this spot. They’ve got a killer selection of booze—liquor, wine, and beer galore. And get this: 28 taps, mainly pouring local craft brews from Western Canada. 

Not to mention, they’ve got a game room where you can shoot some pool, throw some darts, or get competitive on Golden Tee. It’s the ultimate hangout spot downtown.

Pro tip:

Oh, and one more thing: their happy hour runs from 2 PM to 6 PM, Monday through Friday. Just thought you should know.

Shelter Cocktail Bar

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Address: 1210 1 St SW

Contact details: +1 403-233-7730

Opening hours: Tuesday to Thursday: 5:00 PM – 12:00 AM; Friday to Saturday: 5:00 PM – 2:00 AM; Sunday: 7:00 PM – 12:00 AM

Pricing: $$$


Alright, let me spill the beans about Shelter Cocktail Bar. It’s like stumbling upon a hidden oasis in the city—a cozy spot with killer cocktails and a vibe that’s dark and moody in the coolest way possible. 

Picture gas masks on the walls and a jaw-dropping light fixture with over 5,000 bulbs. It’s the perfect spot for a chill date night or catching up with pals.

Now, I won’t sugarcoat it—it’s not the cheapest joint around, but trust me, the experience is worth every penny. Their bartenders? Total mixology masters. They whip up drinks that are not only Insta-worthy but also seriously tasty.

Shelter’s all about mixing old-school cocktails with modern flair, and they’re always shaking things up with themed nights and special events. It’s the kind of place you’ll want to keep coming back to for a taste of something new and exciting.

Pro tips:

Here’s the deal: their waitlist can be a bit of a hassle since they don’t take reservations. You either need to show up early or stick around and wait for your turn, and if you leave, you risk missing your 10-minute window to claim your table when they call you.

Lounge Eighteen

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Address: 1005 17 Ave SW

Contact details: +1 403-454-7143

Opening hours: Sunday to Wednesday: 1:00 AM – 1:00 AM; Thursday to Saturday: 1:00 PM – 2:00 AM

Pricing: $$


Alright, let’s talk about Lounge Eighteen. This spot’s all about that speakeasy vibe, channelling the prohibition era with a modern twist on classics.

One of the coolest things? The servers have an uncanny knack for remembering your order, even if you’re hopping from table to table. Plus, they can split the bill for your group, so you don’t have to do any math at the end of the night.

By day, Lounge Eighteen has a laid-back charm, but come nightfall, it transforms into a lively, upbeat spot. It’s a unique experience that you won’t find anywhere else. Trust me, you’ll love it.

Pro tips:

During Happy Hour from 1PM to 6PM, they offer half-price glasses of wine. And on Thursdays, you can get half-price bottles.

One Night Stan’s Bar Room and Divery

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Address: 520 17 Ave SW

Contact details: +1 403-452-4407

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday: 2:00 PM – 2:00 AM

Pricing: $


This joint is famous for its epic party nights and for being the first dog-friendly patio on 17th Avenue. Step inside, and you’re hit with all those retro vibes—think coloured plastic lights, neon signs, and a classic wooden bar with a few TVs thrown in. 

From classic mac and cheese and buffalo chicken caesar to mouthwatering juicy lucy and grilled cheese, not to mention the wrapper’s delight—this place has got your cravings covered with a menu that’s always served up hot and fresh.

It’s the ultimate spot for a good time in Calgary. Plus, they’ve always got something going on, from regular events to themed nights, so you’ll never run out of reasons to swing by again. 

Pro tip:

Just so you know, from 2 pm to 6 pm every day (happy hour), you can score $5 beers, wine, and highballs.

Betty Lou’s Library

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Address: The Devenish Building, 908 17 Avenue Southwest

Contact details: +1 403-859-2388

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday: 8:00 AM – 8:30 PM

Pricing: $$$


Hey, when you’re wandering around 16th Avenue SW, keep an eye out for this cool glowing red lamp. It’s kind of subtle but definitely stands out. That’s your signal that you’ve found this awesome American Prohibition-style speakeasy. 

Spot the old 1920s telephone nearby, pick it up, and a “librarian” will ask you for the password. Once you’re in, you’ll be guided past a red velvet rope and through a hidden door. 

Inside? It’s a whole vibe. Think sultry burlesque shows and groovy jazz performances. And the cocktails? They’re classic, expertly made, and totally focused on quality and style. It’s a hidden gem you won’t want to miss.

Pro tip:

Alright, let’s keep this between us, okay? The whole password thing might sound a bit underwhelming because they actually send it out via text message in the afternoon of your reservation.

Frenchie Wine Bar

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Address: Through UNA Takeaway, 616 17 Ave SW

Contact details: +1 403-476-3615

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday: 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM

Pricing: $$


Alright, so picture this: Frenchie Wine Bar. It’s like a fresh take on a classic French spot tucked away in this swanky setting. 

You walk in, and it’s all cozy vibes with around 15 wines by the glass, covering everything from bubbly to bold reds. Grab a bottle and chill for a bit—they’ve got something for every budget.  

And, none of that over-the-top stuff—just delicious, original cocktails that pair perfectly with their tasty food, like cheese fondues.  

Honestly, it’s the kind of place where you can just unwind, have a good time, and enjoy some top-notch drinks and bites.

Pro tip:

Tucked in behind Frenchie is Small Frenchie—a 16-seat private bar. It’s the perfect spot for hosting small groups or private events.

Ricardo’s Hideaway

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Address: 1530 5 St SW

Contact details: +1 587-349-2585

Opening hours: Wednesday to Thursday: 5:00 AM – 11:00 PM; Friday to Saturday: 5:00 PM – 12:00 AM; Sunday: 5:00 AM – 11:00 PM

Pricing: $$


Welcome to Ricardo’s Hideaway—a little slice of the tropics right in the heart of the city. Their rum-based cocktails are seriously on point, with a menu that’ll have you feeling like you’re lounging on a beach somewhere. 

And let’s talk about the food—it’s Caribbean-inspired and downright delicious, perfect for sharing with your crew. Plus, if you’re a sucker for tiki bars, trust me—this place is a winner.

Pro tips:

You’ve got to try the Trinidad Sour and Keylime Surprise cocktails—they’re seriously well-crafted. The Keylime Surprise tastes just like Keylime pie, while the Trinidad Sour has this awesome spicy kick to it. 

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