Think you’ve been everywhere in Calgary? Well, think again! Here are eight pubs and restaurants that you may not have been to, drove by or even heard of before – and they’re all worth a visit.
Alright, so calling this place a restaurant is a stretch. A big stretch. But if you want to be transported to an alternate dimension of kitschy dueling piano players, bachelorette parties and hi-balls, then Aussie is worth a visit on a Friday or Saturday night. Come with no expectations and leave with Piano Man stuck in your head. And don’t worry – the food is decent pub fare and includes the always-yummy mini Yorkshire puddings stuffed with prime rib ad horseradish mayo. That pretty much sums it up!
1002 37 St. S.W., 403-249-7933, aussierules.ca
The Bear and Kilt
The (former) Unicorn, Libertine and Below Deck seem to rule the roost on Stephen Avenue in terms of pub life, but don’t forget to give this basement pub some love should you find yourself downtown. More of an industry hangout than anything, don’t be surprised if you bump into some of the kitchen team from surrounding restaurants like Blink or Catch once dinner service is done for the night.
Also, random fact: It is one of country singer LeAnn Rimes’ favourite spots in Calgary.
110 8 Ave. S.W., 403-232-8442
Perhaps the most obscure location of them all, you’ll find this old house-turned-pub just a block or so off of Macleod Trail S. Folks active in the city’s live music scene will probably have been here more than a few times to catch some tunes (there’s live music Thursday to Saturday nights), but it remains mostly unknown the rest of us. Come warmer weather though, the Duck has a cute little patio where you’re almost always guaranteed to find a seat.
5340 2 St. S.W., 403-253-2489, thedogduckpub.ca
Located in the southwest neighbourhood of Altadore, this pub is frequented by nearby residents, but not by many other Calgarians. The menu is pub fare through-and-through with a little more attention to care and quality of ingredients than your average spot. After winning second place in the category of “thick crust” for YYC Pizza Week, I’d hope that any self-respecting pizza fan has popped in for taste test already.
2040 42 Ave. S.W., 403-243-4483, garrisonpub.com
A short walk from Market Mall heading north on Shaganappi Trail will lead you to this classic family restaurant and lounge. All of the basics are here like pastas, salads and steak, but go for the classic pizzas. A few too many toppings, lots of cheese, a bit greasy to the touch, it’s just the kind of comfort one looks for in a pizza when you’re looking to shake a Sunday morning hangover.
4625 Varsity Dr. N.W., 403-286-3133
Unless you’ve driven to the S.E. city limits of Calgary, you probably haven’t seen this two-level eatery in the Seton area, just kiddy corner to Starbelly. The cornmeal-crusted calamari with serrano and bell peppers is, admittedly, fairly tasty. Yes, they’ve got plenty of crispy, salty dishes like fish and chips or fried pickles with sriracha aioli to go along with your cold pint of beer.
19489 Seton Seton Cres. S.E., 403-726-6330, tommyfieldgastropub.com
Definitely the most dynamic of this list food-wise, Tropical is a really easy spot to miss on a very popular street. You’ll find this cozy little space sandwiched between The Pint and McDonald’s on 17th Avenue S.W. With an emphasis on Latin cocktails and small plates, you can eat your way through dishes like arepas, grilled shrimp and pineapple skewers, margaritas and more. Perhaps a tequila shot or two, as well!
1424 17 Ave. S.W., 403-453-1214, tropicalon17.com
On the corner of 6th Avenue and 10th Street S.W., literally thousands of people will pass by this second level pub every day, but if you don’t live in the vicinity, chances are you’ve never stepped inside. There’s a little bit of everything on the menu from chicken fingers to lobster grilled cheese sandwiches and even weekend brunch. Who knew?
1104 6 Ave. S.W., 403-452-5450, upperdeckon6th.com