9 cocktail bars to grab a drink at in downtown Calgary

Sep 14 2021, 11:51 am

Experience Downtown is a collaboration between the City of Calgary and Daily Hive. Together, we’re turning the spotlight onto the local businesses, unique venues, and hidden gems that make up Calgary’s vibrant city centre.

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Going out to your local pub is great and all, but sometimes you just want a little more selection than beer and basic mixed drinks.

Or maybe you’re looking for somewhere fancy to take a date, for a girls’ night out, or to celebrate a special occasion.

Luckily, Calgary is home to a number of cool spots to go out that boast creative drinks and unique decor, from hidden speakeasies to trendy lounges, all serving up incredible beverages in upscale atmospheres.

Here are nine cocktail bars to check out in and around downtown Calgary.



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SHELTER combines pre-Prohibition-style cocktails with cutting-edge, modern mixing technology to create a seasonally rotating cocktail list, so you’ll always find something new. The 1st Street SW hideaway also offers an extensive selection of wines and spirits, and sharing plates combining both local ingredients and international flavours. The cocktail bar is home to several very Instagrammable design elements, including an artfully arranged wall of gas masks and a light fixture that has over 5,000 individually hung bulbs.

Address: 1210 1st Street SW
Phone: 403-233-7730

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Proof is maintaining classic cocktail culture while remaining dedicated to old-fashioned service. The bar crafts a variety of beverage offerings with inspiration drawn from literature, paying tribute to the characters, themes, and prose within select masterworks, along with small plates to pair with your libation.

Address: 1302 1 Street SW
Phone: 403-246-2414

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The Derrick Gin Mill & Kitchen

If you’re looking to match a heartier meal with your beverages, The Derrick is the perfect spot! The eatery’s food menu is made up of traditional classics and seductively smoked meats that are locally sourced and affordable, and the spirit menu has an emphasis on gin. If the clear liquor isn’t your thing, The Derrick also has cocktails made with rum, tequila, and more on their roster. The cozy atmosphere makes for an ideal place to enjoy an evening of good food and drinks.

Address: #102 620 8th Avenue SW
Phone: 403-475-7226

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Betty Lou’s Library

This Prohibition-style speakeasy requires guests to know the secret password in order to gain entry through a “bookcase” door into the venue. Betty Lou’s delivers an intimate vibe, small plates, and both classic cocktails and their own creations, with names like “Zelda Fitzgerald,” “Flappers and Philosophers,” and “Anais Nin.”

Address: 908 17 Avenue SW
Phone: 403-454-4774

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Sub Rosa


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Hidden beneath the heritage building at the corner of 8th Avenue and 1st Street, you’ll find the entrance to Sub Rosa underneath a triangular neon sign. This exclusive establishment advertises “bottle service, dancing, and DJs,” and it’s one of the hottest places to spend a night on Stephen Avenue. The cocktail bar also hosts intimate weddings and private events.

Address: 200 8th Avenue SW


Ricardo’s Hideaway


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This Caribbean-themed hideaway focuses on all things rum, but if you’re into other spirits, Ricardo’s has a few other drinks up their sleeve. The bar features daiquiris, a mezcal cocktail, and Dark and Stormys, along with their own concoctions like “Lights Out,” “Jungle Bird,” and “Hawaiian Ryan.”

Address: 1530 5th Street SW
Phone: 587-349-2585

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Untitled Champagne Lounge


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In addition to a huge selection of Champagne and sparkling wines, this sophisticated lounge in downtown Calgary boasts artisanal Champagne-based cocktails, created using progressive techniques and carefully curated spirits. Untitled also serves up elegant eats to enjoy with your bubbly beverage.

Address: #104 620 8th Avenue SW
Phone: 403-475-7226

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Bar Annabelle


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Located on Stephen Avenue, Bar Annabelle offers a menu of Japanese whisky, gin, cocktails, digestifs, beer, and wine, along with a tapas menu. To add to the atmosphere, the venue’s design includes brass, onyx, and warm lighting combined with vintage records.

Address: 109A 8th Avenue SW
Phone: 403-457-9884


Lounge Eighteen

Lounge Eighteen’s menu is composed of modern fusion cocktails and cuisine reminiscent of the Prohibition era. The Al Capone-inspired hangout shakes up some incredible handcrafted drinks, such as “The Key To Life,” “Sombreros and Sunshine,” and “This Ones For The Birds.”

Address: 1005 17 Ave SW
Phone: 403-454-7143

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Elle McLeanElle McLean

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