Calgary has a lot of incredible bars, but in our opinion, the best ones are underground. Your new favourite spot might just be tucked behind your old favourite spot. Heck, maybe it’s in an alleyway, or even behind a bookcase! Calgary has some incredible hidden bars and speakeasies. Finding them is half the fun, staying at them is the rest.
Here are 8 hidden Calgary cocktail bars you have to check out.
Model Citizen is a refined speakeasy hidden underneath Model Milk on 17th Ave. Their ‘parlour’ is an intimate experience, with an excellent rotating cocktail menu, weekly features and snacks from the Model Milk kitchen.
Where: 300 17th Avenue SW, Calgary
This is one of our favourites. Nothing is cozier than a dark room, velour chairs, and the smokey scent of bourbon. Climb through Betty Lou’s secret bookcase entrance and enjoy an evening of soft jazz music and 20s glamour.
Where: The Devenish Building, 908 17th Avenue SW, Calgary
Pfft, walking through a door? That is so 2019. At Ajito, which literally translates to “a hidden safe place”, the magic begins before you’re even seated. In order to enter this place, customers actually have to locate the Coca-Cola fridge at the back of Sho Sushi and climb through. If you’re in the mood for sushi, authentic rice and noodle bowls, and incredibly inventive cocktails, this is your place.
Where: 7212 Macleod Trail SE, Calgary
Tucked behind UNA Pizza on 17th Avenue, Frenchie Wine Bar is one of Calgary’s best-kept secrets. This spot is an ambient speakeasy where intimate is the word. We’re not going to lie, it’s a tight squeeze on a busy night, but it’s all totally worth it. If you’re lucky to get one of the 15 seats in the bar, you won’t regret the wait. The drinks are fun and inventive, and their fondue is to die for.
Where: 618 17th Ave SW, Calgary
You might not remember it all on Sunday morning, but Saturday nights at the Bourbon room are classy. You’ll find this vintage-style tavern through the crowd at National on 10th, just up the stairs. The vibe here is laid-back, cozy and cool as all hell.
Where: 341 10th Ave SW, Calgary
Cannibale sweeps most competition with its choice prohibition front. The BAR-bershop is one part salon, one part saloon. The food here is great, the drinks are cold, and you can also get a haircut while you’re here. Sounds like a win, win, win to us!
Where: 813 1 Ave NE, Calgary
Man, are you in for a treat! Sub Rosa is underground and all glitz, all party, all colour! The drinks at Sub Rosa are wild and their menu goes on for pages. We’d definitely recommend checking this place out on both nights of the weekend. On Fridays, Sub Rosa is more hip hop & R&B focused. Then, on Saturdays, their resident DJ spins chill deep house tracks. It’s an incredible time.
Where: 200 8 Ave SW, Calgary
Located in a Chinatown basement, you’ll find the contemporary speakeasy-style lounge, Paper Lantern. With amazing-looking Vietnamese tapas, subs, bowls, and a super unique, tropically inclined drink menu, you might not be able to hop on a plane right now, but you can definitely trick your tastebuds into thinking you’re on vacation.
Where: Basement – 115 – 2 Avenue SE, Calgary
There you have it! Enjoy checking out these hidden Calgary cocktail bars, we promise you won’t regret getting lost finding them.