Best Pubs in Calgary
The best places to come together for drinks, food and boisterous socializing.
A bucket of fried chicken and beer at Home and Away.
Photograph by Jared Sych
*Listed in alphabetical order.
Hockey, thoroughbred racing, soccer, football — when there’s a sports-competition of any kind, Home & Away is Calgary's latest rallying point. It's the kind of place where you order a bucket of chicken — served with honey, hot sauce, slaw, pickles and macaroni and cheese — and settle in for a rowdy, community-based viewing of whatever game is on. There are burgers and sandwiches and pub-type offerings including macaroni and cheese, flank steak, and fish and chips. The appetizer menu has crispy cauliflower, tuna tostadas or chorizo corn fritters, and there are more than 20 beers on tap to wash it all down with.
1331 17 Ave. S.W., 403-455-9789, homeandawayyyc.com
This local pub chain boasts three locations in the heart of the city, as well as one out in the Westhills area. Each location offers a familiar yet individual experience thanks to shape, size and amenities. Once you’re done having a beer and playing some Ping-Pong at National on 10th, you can head upstairs for a great cocktail at Bourbon Room, or maybe head downstairs for bowling and some tacos at National Bowl. Or on a sunny afternoon, hit the patio on 17th Avenue S.W. for lunch and hope you have an understanding boss when you don’t make it back to the office that day.
Four Calgary locations, ntnl.ca
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
Regulars were crushed back in fall of 2014 when it was announced that The Unicorn, our city's oldest pub, was closing its doors because its home — a heritage building on Stephen Avenue — was sold. But if you know anything about unicorns, it's that their legend always lives on. And so it has, reincarnated as The Unicorn Superpub, a multi-level pub that offers three separate concepts on different floors: Celtic Cellar, Classic Calgary and Sports Cantina. Each floor has a totally different vibe, with decor and menus unique to the individual themes, so check one out or check them all out.
223 8 Ave. S.W., 403-265-3665, superpub.ca
Big and occasionally boisterous, Wurst remains the premier beer hall experience in the city and one of the only contemporary German beer hall concepts in the entire country. From the gorgeous upstairs interior to a downstairs full of lively patrons at plank tables, that delicious chili bacon calamari and the big glass steins perfect for clinking, this five-year-old spot won’t be going out of style any time soon.
2437 4 St. S.W., 403-245-2345, wurst.ca
[Correction: This story has been updated to reflect the correct names of the floors at The Unicorn Superpub.]