If you have a night of cocktails on the mind, Calgary won’t disappoint.

From quiet nooks by a fire to throbbing dance music overload – and everything in between – you should be able to easily find a spot that meets your needs on a Friday night. Or a Tuesday night, any night really… nobody’s judging.

The following areas are well known for after-hours activities:

  • 17th Avenue SW, between 2nd and 14th streets, 17th Ave has a high concentration of clubs, pubs and lounges, for the tie-wearing or the flannel-clad
  • Mission is your spot if you’re looking for dive-bar karaoke, upscale Irish pub, local sports establishment or well-heeled wine bar
  • Kensington/Sunnyside has great neighbourhood pubs as well as moodier and fancier lounges 
  • Downtown Calgary has loads of great pubs, lounges and popular nightclubs

That’s not all of course, every neighbourhood has its share of local pubs and nightspots. There’s also a lot of music being played in Calgary on any given night: check out our local music venues listing.

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You can have a lot of fun exploring Calgary’s diverse culinary landscape: the days of it being restricted to steakhouses and pizza parlours are long gone. In fact, Calgary has received increasing national exposure for it's impressive dining scene, with restaurants like Pigeonhole and Model Milk landing among Canada's Best.

You’ll find many great restaurants and bistros serving European fare like French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Spanish and Greek, while Asian cuisines – like Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Middle Eastern and Korean – are also very well represented. And no, South America and Africa haven’t been left out, they’re here too.


Where to Go

The following communities have award-winning restaurants as well as more hidden, lesser-known gems:

  • For a taste of Asia, hit downtown’s Chinatown
  • Inglewood has a range of cafes and restaurants, including award-winning French and Italian bistros, as well as a café that specializes in dessert
  • Mission has a trendy range of international fare, from Japanese to Italian to Indian
  • Kensington/Sunnyside is also a hot spot with a variety of fine dining establishments and hipster cafés
  • With a name like International Avenue there are obvious culinary adventures to be had – there are some fantastic ethnic restaurants here
  • Downtown Calgary & 17th Avenue have a number of lovely fine-dining spots and bistros

That is just a sampling of communities of course, there are great meals to be had throughout Calgary’s neighbourhoods.


To conduct some more research, John Gilchrist is a local trusted restaurant connoisseur whose reviews appear in the Calgary Herald newspaper or listen in to hear Sabrina de Ben's reviews on CBC Radio.

Zomato and Yelp are community-driven websites with thousands of Calgary restaurant reviews.

Local lifestyle magazine, Avenue also celebrates the Best of Calgary restaurants each year, view the 2019 winners.

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