12 cheap places to pre-game near the Stampede grounds

Jul 6 2022, 7:00 pm

If you want to enjoy some reasonably priced drinks before you hit the Calgary Stampede grounds, we’ve got your pre-game covered.

Stampede is fun and all, but it can get a little costly, especially if you plan to visit the midway more than once, eat all your meals there, or attend a separately ticketed event like the rodeo.

Luckily, there are a few ways to make the Calgary Stampede a little easier on your wallet, besides hitting up the free pancake breakfasts and barbecues that go on all event long.

Here are 12 places to grab a beverage before heading to Stampede Park.

First Street Market

Described as a “space to enjoy the very best of your city, from our local eats and libations to sidewalk and city sights,” First Street Market boasts an open-concept eatery just a few blocks from the Calgary Stampede grounds.

There’s also a happy hour that runs from 5 to 7 pm, which most places take part in, as well as the bar.

Address: 1327 1st Street SW, Calgary


South Block Barbecue & Brewing Co.

Calgary’s hotspot for BBQ and beers, often featuring live music, has happy hour specials from 3 to 6 pm from Monday to Friday. This Mission brewery is ideal for filling up on North Carolina-style eats and whisky before hitting the Stampede grounds.

Address: 2437 4th Street SW, Calgary




View this post on Instagram


A post shared by National on 17th (@ntnl17)

With four locations in Calgary (and one massive tent), including three within walking distance from Stampede Park, National is the perfect spot to pre-game for your night of Yahoo-ing.

National offers a Tuesday to Friday happy hour from 3 to 6 pm that includes half-price drinks and three 16-inch pizza options for $20.

Address: 341 10th Avenue SW, Calgary

Address: 550 17th Avenue SW, Calgary

Address: 360 – 225 8th Avenue SW, Calgary

Address: 180 Stewart Green SW, Calgary


The Unicorn


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Unicorn (@unicorncalgary)

Calgary’s super-pub brings three storeys of Stampede specials to the city.

With their Stephen Ave patio and tons of indoor seating, you’re going to want to take advantage of the 3 to 7 pm and 9 pm to close happy hour, with all the food and drink specials that your heart desires.

Address: 223 8th Avenue SW


The Ship & Anchor


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Ship&AnchorPub (@shipandanchorpub)

This low-key 17th Avenue watering hole brings Calgarians daily specials, a laid-back atmosphere, and a lineup of excellent rotating taps for those who want to try craft beers before making their way to the Stampede grounds.

Address: 534 17th Avenue SW, Calgary


Cold Garden

Cold Garden serves up 18-ounce pints of locally crafted beer for $5.95 with the added bonus of visiting with some four-legged friends in this dog-friendly establishment.

As one of Calgary’s breweries in closest proximity to the Stampede grounds, this is a fun spot to hit up for some budget-conscious bevies before the main event. You’re also allowed to bring your own food, which means lunch can be as cheap as you make it.

Address: 1100 11th Street SE, Calgary


Blanco Cantina

With locations in both Kensington and 17th Avenue, Blanco is the ideal eatery to get your Mexican food and margarita fix before making your way to ‘Pede.

The cantina offers up daily “halfy-hours” from 2 to 5 pm and 9 pm to close, with half-price tequila, $3 tacos, and $6 margaritas and beer.

Address: 723 17th Avenue SW, Calgary

Address: 100 – 1140 Kensington Road NW, Calgary

Address: 8545 Broadcast Avenue SW, Calgary


Local Public Eatery

Local boasts a 2 to 5 pm happy hour from Monday to Friday, along with drink specials from 11 am to 2 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Stephen Avenue hotspot and new Eau Claire location make for the perfect establishment to grab some cheap bites and sips before, even on the weekend.

Address: 310 8th Avenue SW, Calgary

Address: 201 Barclay Parade SW, Calgary


Greta Bar


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by GRETA Bar YYC (@gretabaryyc)

Home to arcade and bar games along with global street food, Greta is a fun spot to pre-game and get hyped for your Calgary Stampede experience, especially if you want to practice to win an epic midway prize.

The bar offers daily specials, with different options each day of the week, such as $10 fried chicken Tuesdays, $6 Shaft on Draft all day on Friday and Saturdays, or all-day happy hour on Wednesdays.

There’s also a late-night snack menu available when you need it the most.

Address: 213 10th Avenue SW, Calgary


Chemical Steve’s Beer Joint

Just a 10-minute walk from Stampede Park, Chemical Steve’s features all local craft beer, shots, and yummy snacks for $6. The beer joint also runs a 3 to 7 pm happy hour from Wednesday to Saturday, with $5 draft, highballs, and wine, plus the “beer and a shot” offer for $8.

Address: 718 17th Avenue SW, Calgary


College Bar

Self-described as “a spot where drinks are budget-friendly, the lighting is just a little too dark,” College Bar boasts “F, D, G, P”: food, drinks, games, and patios.

The Mission bar is open from 11 am to 2 am throughout Stampede week, with a heavy honky tonk theme. This is an excellent spot to pre-game Stampede or hit it afterward.

Address: 1919 4th Street SW, Calgary


Melrose Cafe


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Melrose | Calgary (@melrosecalgary)

Melrose Cafe was a fixture at the Calgary Stampede and now reopened in the Cowboys Casino; it can be again. Located beside the grounds, while many nearby establishments raise prices, Melrose will keep its prices the same as it always is on the menu.

Address: 421 12th Avenue SE, Calgary


With files from Elle McLean

Hogan ShortHogan Short

+ Dished
+ Booze
+ Restaurants & Bars
+ Stampede
+ Specials & Deals