5 Best Pubs in Calgary

Calgary is home to many bars, clubs, retaurants that turn into bars and restaurants that turn into clubs. But what about when you want a casual, friendly atmosphere and a pint? You're looking for the time-honoured pub, and here are a few of our favourites.

Drum and Monkey

The Drum and Monkey caters to an interesting mix of clientele including corporate types and bike messengers, so it’s a great spot for people watching. The waitresses are heavily tattooed, friendly and very efficient. The drinks are cheap and plentiful and so is the food. The Monkey Burger is a juicy combination of Spolumbos sausage and ground beef and it comes with a heap of crispy fries for $9. It’s one of the only places in the downtown core where you can get a meal and a beer for less than $20 with tip. (1201 1 St. S.W., 403-261-6674, drumandmonkey.ca) — M.B.

Hop In Brew

Located in what was once someone’s house in Victoria Park, the Hop In Brew, which baldly proclaims itself a “PUB” with a handwritten sign in a second-storey window, has a cozy, casual, downscale hipster vibe. This is a mellow place to spend an evening, and you and your friends will want to stay all night. If you're hungry, order one the satisfying, cheesy pizzas off the menu and split it with your group. (213 12 Ave SW, 403-66-2595) –J.W.

The James Joyce

This friendly Irish pub on Stephen Avenue feels about as close to the real deal as you’ll get one ocean and a continent’s distance away from Dublin. And “feel” is everything, because ambiance is the first priority for a pub. Located in the old Molson’s (TD) Bank building, the James Joyce has character to spare, with its superb architectural detail and authentic Irish decor. The food is a hit, too, as the menu features traditional Irish stew, bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie and Irish potato boxty. Makes you wish it was St. Patty’s every day. (114 8 Ave. S.W., 403-262-0708, jamesjoycepub.com) –J.W.

Kensington Pub

Patterned on the classic English pub in a charming brick-faced faux-Tudor building, this Kensington institution is a favourite with locals and feels like it with its casual atmosphere. The meandering layout offers any of dozens of spots to park yourself and enjoy pint after pint of fine brew. You’ll feel like you’re in your own living room, but better. (207 10A St. N.W., 403-270-4505, kensingtonpub.com) –J.W.

The Rose and Crown

This British pub is located in a former 1920s funeral home and only minor changes were made in the 1980s to turn it into a functional pub. On the third-floor is the original wallpaper and artifacts, and the staff swear the building is haunted. Paranormal activity aside, you’ll find a cozy atmosphere, a great patio and live music Thursday to Saturday. There is also a wide selection of ales on tap and British-pub food favourites. (1503 4 St. S.W., 403-244-7757, roseandcrowncalgary.ca) —S.S.

The Ship and Anchor

You can’t talk pubs in Calgary without mentioning the Ship and Anchor. The 17th Avenue institution isn’t pretty, but it’s home for the city’s unpretentious rock-and-roll crowd, who sit shoulder-to-shoulder at the picnic tables on the dual-lobed patio on sunny days. With soccer (sorry, “football”) games on weekend mornings, roots, rock and rockabilly jams on Saturday afternoons, raucous Tuesday-night punk-rock bingo games and a constant flow of characters cycling through the double doors, you don’t know Calgary until you’ve stumbled out of the “Ship.” (534 17 Ave. S.W., 403-245-3333, shipandanchor.com) —S.A.

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