Free House: Inside the elevated craft beer hall in Calgary

Jan 17 2023, 8:02 pm

Free House is one of the most well-known neighbourhood spots for the people of Kensington.

It’s a community gathering spot, with incredible food, plenty of beers on tap, events, features, and rotating food features.

It’s a pub with pub food, but the portions are large and pretty much everything is made in-house. And it’s not just burgers and fries here either. The menu has items like hummus with roasted garlic, pickled vegetables, and rustic toast, as well as hand-stretched burrata, served with charred eggplant, walnut, pomegranate, and flatbread.

It’s an elevated menu in every sense without ever losing the comfort food feel.

It’s a beautifully decorated space with a great craft bar feel and just enough TVs to stay intimate and sporty all at once. It may be a craft beer hall, but it’s also one of theĀ best restaurants in YYC.

Dished recently had the opportunity to sit inside the hip space surrounded by plants and conversations and try some of the delicious menu options, including what might be the best charcuterie platter in YYC.

The menu is split into distinct categories here that create an amazing a la carte dining experience whether you’re ordering for yourself or the table.

There is a huge list of meats and cheese to order, and you just pick the ones you want to build your own charcuterie platter.

Free House

Dished Calgary

We went for the everything approach which included it all: applewood smoked cheddar with smoked olives, oak with candied pecans and syrup, air-dried bison with grainy mustard, cranberry walnut salami, prosciutto with mustard melon, landjaeger, candied salmon, duck rillette with cranberry compote and rosemary crackers, and smoked duck breast with sour cherry.

Each one came with its own accompaniment and was entirely unique from the next. It was an amazing spread that you can get for a large group, or only order a few things if there’s just a couple of you. Deciding what to try is most of the fun and a great idea on a date.

That was more than enough to start us off, but we had to also try the Arugula Salad (portabella, almonds, smoked cheddar, lemon vinaigrette), marinated beets (goats milk feta, dill, pumpkin seeds), and charred broccolini (ginger sesame vinaigrette, chili flakes).

Free House

Dished Calgary

The mains we ordered took inspiration from all types of cuisines but feel ideal for a pub menu, especially since each dish was made with such care.

We tried homemade pirogies, a pizza, and a burger. We also had to get the feature hot dog (also made in-house) that the kitchen team comes up with every Thursday. It was all fantastic, especially the Dirty Magnum PI pizza, topped with speck, cambozola, pineapple, arugula, and chili. We recommend getting a side of hot honey for this one.

Free House

Dished Calgary


Dished Calgary

There is also a fantastic Cubano sandwich on the menu here, which is not your average pub sandwich. It was one of the best dishes we tried all year, made the classic way with smoked pork belly, ham, swiss, beer mustard, and pickles.

This is a craft beer hall, but there is also an amazing list of cocktails, like the Maddy’s Ginger Mojito with rum, mint, ginger syrup, lime, and ginger beer, or the Emily’s Elixir with rosemary-infused Campari, whiskey, and red vermouth. We tried them both.

The next time you’re looking for a pub menu you can count on and be surprised by, check out Free House in the community of Kensington.

Free House

Address: 1153 Kensington Crescent NW, Calgary


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