Inside Prosperity Bar, a New Tiki-Inspired Bar in Calgary’s Chinatown

Prosperity Bar blends classic tiki-style cocktails and bar culture with Chinese-influenced dishes.

Photo by Chris Landry.

New life has taken root in the former space of the iconic Golden Inn Restaurant in Chinatown. A bright red and yellow sign beckons all into the newly opened Prosperity Bar, which brings a mixture of classic tiki-style cocktails and fun, fusion-style Chinese dishes to the Calgary dining scene.

This new tiki-bar/fusion-restaurant is the latest from Nhi Tran and Tanner Ennis, owners of the ever-popular basement bar a few doors down, Paper Lantern. When they saw the much-loved Golden Inn restaurant was closing its doors, they saw an opportunity to continue a legacy for the space, and bring a vibrant new concept to Chinatown’s already varied restaurant choices.

In many ways, Prosperity Bar feels like the next evolution in Tran and Ennis’ restaurateur careers. It serves as a place to expand beyond the Vietnamese roots of Paper Lantern, and explore the couple’s love for tiki bar culture — one of the things they first bonded over.

“It’s kind of a forgotten culture, but it’s one of the friendliest bar cultures. Everyone is always welcome at any tiki bar we’ve ever been,” says Tran. “We wanted to bring that here.”

Nhi Tran and Tanner Ennis. Photo by Chris Landry.

And while Paper Lantern’s modern Vietnamese concept naturally led to a menu of experimental tropical drinks — Vietnam is a tropical country, after all — Prosperity Bar is very deliberate in its choices. The bamboo-lined walls, tropical decor, surf rock music, and yes, even a special-effects set-up that periodically injects smoke, flashes of lightning and rumbles of thunder into the space, all contribute to the hospitable, laid-back island vibe that a good tiki bar needs.

The drinks are classic, strong tiki cocktails, heavy on fruit juices, coconut creams and other tasty tropical ingredients — think Mai Tais, Zombies, Singapore Slings and daiquiris, served with fun tropical ceramics and glassware, and, of course, tiny umbrellas.

The Zombie, along with assorted dishes at Prosperity Bar. Photo by Chris Landry.

For food, Tran and Ennis continue the theme of a classic tiki bar, which means Pan-Asian and Polynesian classics, but updated for a modern crowd. The menu includes some really fun Chinese-North American fusion dishes like deep-fried Big Mac egg rolls and BLT fried rice, as well as tried-and-true Chinese favourites like pan-fried dumplings (sourced from Deng’s Dumplings), garlic broccoli and Kung Pao chicken.

Ultimately, Prosperity Bar is a place for Tran and Ennis to experiment outside of Paper Lantern’s Vietnamese concept while bringing new life to a beloved Chinatown space.

“It was a pretty big opportunity when the space came up — it’s kind of the perfect space for us,” says Tran. “We’re excited to bring the tiki bar to Calgary in its purest essence.”

107 2 Ave. S.E., 825-540-1232, prosperitybar.ca, @prosperitybar

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