Welcome to Calgary’s premier nightlife guide.
On this page, you’ll discover the vibrant and varied nightlife scene in Calgary. You’ll find the perfect venue for you and your preferred night out. Whether you want to go all-out clubbing or if you’d like a more laid back dinner and drinks with a view, we’ve got your covered.
An Intro to Calgary
Situated at the confluence of the Bow river and the elbow river in the south of the Alberta province, in an area of foothill and prairie, this city is the largest city in the province of Alberta. It is also the third largest city in the whole of Canada and is home to more than 800 headquarters second highest in Canada.
The economy of Calgary includes activity in the energy, financial services, film and television, transportation and logistics, technology, manufacturing, aerospace, health and wellness, retail, and tourism sectors. It is ranked the fourth most liveable city in the world. And the diverse population of the city has given rise to a very happening nightlife.
A good number of bars, pubs, bar restaurants and nightclubs have opened in this city to cater to the growing cosmopolitan crowd and tourists who throng the city in millions each year. We will be seeing more about the best amongst these places in the article.
Nightlife in Calgary
Calgary stampeded which is almost synonymous with the city of Calgary is one thing that people instantly think when mentioning about the city. But trust me there is much more to the nightlife and nightclubs of Calgary that the city has to offer. The city’s nightlife is not just about country music and western culture it has lot more than that to offer. The nightlife options range from traditional pubs and hip spots to sports bar and buzzing clubs. The locals are friendly and always festive. And the city parties hard on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. But, stampede is the time when the city transforms into a party monster.
Best areas of Calgary for Nightlife
Let us look at some of the best areas of Calgary where one can enjoy the nightlife:
This area has a stretch of art galleries and contemporary furniture showrooms along 10th, 11th, and 12th Avenues SW that make up The Beltline community known as the design district. This area has plenty of options for people to eat, visit and drink.
17th Avenue Street
17th avenue street is at the centre of Calgary’s nightlife scene. The place is marked by a large number of retail boutiques and one can also catch some live European football action at this area. There are numerous events happening in 17th avenue and it is the place where the locals come to play.
This is the most multicultural location in the whole of Calgary and the area is marked by a large number of events that take place in this locality. This place offers the most international experience with a huge range of restaurants offering dishes from all the 6 continents of the world.
For a lot of people visiting Calgary, this is the first stop in the city. And rightly so! On busy weekdays one can see the local business crowd mix with the street performers while they grab a drink and unwind post a busy day. The area is also home to some of the top-notch brands of the world and offers unique stores. So, one can indulge in shopping, eating and drinking all at one place.
Eau Claire is the festival district of Calgary because of a long list of events and festivals that this area hosts. It sits on the banks of the bow river and hosts exciting events. Also, one can catch a movie at this venue to have a perfect downtown experience.
All these areas are unique in their own special ways and offer something for everyone. Few other prominent areas for nightlife and nightclubs apart from the ones mentioned above are:
- Marda Loop
- East village
One can never stay away from all the action when near one of these areas. So, when you are in Calgary make sure you are in one of these party hubs.
Best Bars of Calgary
If bars are what you are looking for then don’t worry because there are tons of bar options available in the city of Calgary. The sports bars offer some amazing sporting action be it the ice hockey from Canada or European football that you are looking for, the beer bars offer a wide range of beers from all over the globe and there are also traditional country bars which offer great country alcohol and country vibes. Let us have a look at some of the best bars of Calgary:
Commonwealth Bar and Stage
This place is located in a converted warehouse, Commonwealth Bar & Stage was founded by local DJs and producers passionate about music. “The Commonwealth concept grew from the need for a mid-sized nightclub that would introduce creativity and discerning music to the standard nightclub model.” The nightclub’s two floors are the perfect place to be on Friday and Saturday nights, when club goers have a choice between top 40 and old rock and dance, or hip hop versus the classics.
A popular destination for party goers since the 1980s and located within the Coast Plaza Hotel, Jimmy’s Nightclub is the city’s oldest nightclub. There are three bars inside to cater to the 600-capacity crowd. DJ Newboy spins the best hip hop and reggae music on Fiya Fridays. On Saturday nights, expect DJ Gemini to get the crowd dancing to hip hop, electro, reggae, and top 40 hits. Open Friday and Saturday from 8:00pm to 2:00am.
“In the heart of downtown Calgary, The Eden Nightclub brings a vibrant, exclusive, and upscale 21+ nightclub environment to the city.” The Eden has two club rooms, a VIP room, and a rooftop patio. The small patio has a circular bar in its middle, and always seems to be a popular choice with locals in the summertime. Customers can enjoy daily drink specials on Forbidden Fridays, Temptation Saturdays, and S.I.N Sundays.
Habitat Living Sound
Habitat Living Sound has been a DJ-owned and operated Calgary nightclub since 2008. The ownership team have over 75 years of music industry experience between them. They are also the creators of Studio Social, which is about developing and enriching the local electronic music community. Habitat Living Sound is a boutique microclub specialising in techno and house music. “You will also find live electronic performances, and off the beaten path genres of electronica.”
Since opening in 2004, Broken City says it’s Calgary’s “foremost home for music and art.” Weekly events away from the dancefloor include comedy and pub trivia nights. However, there is also live music on Thursdays, and hip hop-focused DJ sets on Saturday nights. Broken City’s rooftop patio is known as their hidden secret, where a lot of fun nighttime events happen.
You will get your favourite drinks in these bars at a fair price. You can enjoy a lot in these bars with your friends and special ones. And one can also choose to visit multiple bars in a night through club hopping to get a taste of different bars. But whatever you choose don’t miss out to visit these amazing places.
Best Bar restaurants of Calgary
Sometimes after a long day at work or after a long day of sightseeing, one needs to feast on some mouth-watering food along with a few drinks to unwind for the night and prep for the next day. And what better place to do so than a bar restaurant. The restaurants in Calgary offer a truly international experience when it comes to food offering cuisines from all over the globe and drinks that complement them. Here is a look at some of the best bar restaurants of Calgary:
Betty Lou’s Library
You’ll need to request a special password to access this hidden speakeasy (hint: reservations are recommended). Located in a historical brownstone, The Devenish Building, your only clues to its existence are a stacked bookcase, a velvet rope, and an old fashioned telephone. But once you find and enter this amazing place get ready to be amazed. The place offers some good finger food along with innovative drinks. This place truly is a hidden gem!
Escape the ordinary and enter a world of luxe glam where gilded gold and shiny brass décor surround banquets of tufted leather seats. Then there’s the ornate wallpaper, gender-neutral bathrooms, and flaming cocktails that will keep you chatting all night long. The entrance to this secretive club, which is hidden below The Guild, can only be spotted by the neon glowing triangle that sits above its doors.
No need to board a plane and fly halfway around the world to take in the culture of Germany; just head to this Bavarian-style beer hall. While the top floor is a calm, casual restaurant for enjoying German cuisine, the basement is a lively, boisterous spot. On Saturday nights test your beer stein-holding strength to win some pretty great prizes, or dance on the communal wooden tables as the live oompah band riles up the crowd. This place is a thriving restaurant during the day and turns into a party spot during the night.
The Country Clubs
If one is looking to party like the locals then this is the place to be. When in Calgary, do as the cowboys and cowgirls do! A crowd of city slickers come together at Cowboy’s Dance Hall to drop it low with Drake and kick up their boots to T-Swift and Garth. The crowd is young and ready to party, and spontaneous line dancing happens along the way. Cowboy-hatted people of all ages head to Ranchman’s Cookhouse and Dancehall for line-dancing, a playlist comprised solely of country tunes, and barbecue grub.
The home of one of Calgary’s first hidden spaces can be found cloaked behind rich velvet curtains high above the popular beer hall National on 10th. This speakeasy looks like a page out of Hugh Hefner’s personal photo album and specializes in the namesake brown liquor, while National also includes additional secret spaces like a hidden private dining room that very few locals even know about. See if you can find it! This place indeed plays hide and seek with its visitors but trust me the reward at the end is all worth it.
Canadians love to drink with the food in the lunches and dinners. And Calgary has the arrangements for people to enjoy the fine dine at the superb places along with drinks. The bar-restaurant of Calgary are of high-class and elite standard. Celebrities love the food and drinks of these restaurants. The roof-top restaurants though very cold during the winters offer great experience during the warmer months. One must try at least a few of the bar restaurants when in Calgary.
Major events happening in Calgary
The city’s major events include film, jazz, art, music, wine, food, artisans and much more. Street festivals like the eclectic Fourth Street Lilac Festival attract thousands of locals, while the world-famous Calgary Stampede is attended annually by millions of Calgarians and tourists alike.
Calgary celebrates the movies at the Calgary International Film Festival, while its annual summer Folk Festival brings in hundreds of renowned musicians from around the world.
That’s just the tip of the glacier though, explore the various Arts Festivals, Cultural & Community Events and Music Festivals to discover some of the excitement Calgary has to offer.
Cultural and Communal Events
- Afrikadey! earns its exclamation mark with an exuberant celebration of African culture
- The Calgary Dragon Boat Race & Festival see competitors stroke their way across the Glenmore Reservoir
- The Calgary Stampede, the grand poobah of Calgary festivals, it’s the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” attracting over a million visitors each year with the world’s greatest rodeo
- Carifest is the best Caribbean party you can find north of 49thparallel
- The Fourth Street Lilac Festival rejoices in the arrival of Missionlilacs with a jammed street-long party
- GlobalFest is a fireworks competition and international festival of diversity
- Marda Gras is Marda Loop’s annual community event that embraces the culture and cuisine of New Orleans
- Once Upon a Christmas is Heritage Park’s annual frontier Christmas event
- The Sun and Salsa Festival pays tribute to hot weather and hot food in Kensington
- Sunfest is Inglewood’s sweet renaissance block party
- Taste of Calgary is a one-stop sampling party of the cuisine of Calgary’s restaurants
- Winefest is all about the fermented grape – it happens every February
- Calgary Folk Music Festival is a fantastic international presentation of music held every year at Prince’s Island Park
- Calgary International Blues Festival is a four-day event with some of the best local, national and international blues musicians
- Sled Island brings sweet independent music to Calgary every summer
- Chasing Summer, Western Canada’s largest outdoor electronic music festival
- Reggaefest, this family event has become the premier summer Reggae Festival in all of Canada
- Country Thunder, while new to Calgary, this premier country music festival has been booking the biggest names in country music for over 20 years
- Honens International Piano Competition takes place every three years in Calgary and celebrates the world’s best young concert pianists
From the high culture of classical music and fine art to the pop culture of movies, professional sports and rock ‘n’ roll – and everything between – it’s all here in Calgary.
Best Nightclubs of Calgary
If dancing all night is on your mind, then nightclubs are what you are looking for in Calgary my friend. The nightclubs offer a wide range of diverse experiences for its spectators. From little known happening country music to leg breaking electronic disco music to the chart top 40 the clubs offer it all. These places also vary in terms of interiors and food that they offer inside. Overall, the nightlife experience in Calgary is incomplete without visiting at least few of these places.
Let us look at some of the best nightclubs of Calgary:
If you are looking for live music, dance club and art gallery then this is the place to be. The Hifi Club “blurs the lines between live music venue, dance club, and art gallery.” Along with regular DJ sets, the Hifi Club has hosted many leading local and international acts, such as Calvin Harris, Diplo, Dillon Francis, and Jamie XX. Their weekly events are a mixture of sounds, with Thursday being Western Canada house and techno, Friday featuring classics, and Sunday being all about soulful house music.
Club zone says Knoxville’s Tavern is where Calgary goes to party. It’s easy to see why, with weekly ladies’ nights, as well as student nights that feature draft beer for a ridiculous 75 cents. The resident DJs at Knoxville’s Tavernare well-known in Calgary for spinning the best top 40 mashup music. During the Calgary Stampede, the tavern has a large party tent that hosts touring musicians, and even a shuttle bus that collects partygoers from around the greater Calgary area.
Located at the Stampede Park gate, Cowboys is a staple in Calgary traditions, and the originator of where “playboy meets country.” During the Stampede, you can expect to see some world-renowned music acts inside their tent, like Diplo, Big Sean, The Chainsmokers, and Fetty Wap. Once the Stampede leaves the city, the party is still going at Cowboys. Ladies Night is on Wednesdays, Thursday is Student Night, Friday is all about live country music, and Saturday is “the most fun you can have with your boots on.”
Bespoke is home to one of only six Function One Sound Systems in Canada. The management team have spared no expense when it comes to creating a nightlife experience like no other; featuring international music acts and producers, and premium bottle service. Friday is a unique mixture of house music, mash ups, and hip hop, while Saturdays include rap, old school, and R&B music.
Twisted Element is Calgary’s premier gay nightclub. It hosts some interesting events in the early evening, before it’s time to hit the dancefloor. These events include karaoke, Classi-Queen drag queen shows, an open variety show on Saturday nights, and the Twisted Follies and Dance show on Sundays. There’s definitely never a dull moment at Twisted Element in Calgary.
So, what are you waiting for? Decide what you want to do on your evening in Calgary and see what you are looking for then pick a place that offers you that. Grab a drink, meet the locals, eat some food and burn the dance floor. The night is young and full of fun in this city.
What time does nightlife peak in Calgary?
The Canadians winters are known to be harsh and even during these harsh Canadian winters the city of Calgary does not forget to party, that shows the nature of the city party goers. The nightlife typically begins around late evenings and go on till late nights. Most places close around 3:00am on weekends and a little earlier around 2:00am on weekdays. And the party typically peaks around mid-night when the club is filled with people up to the brim and the music is the loudest.
The restaurants and bars which are open through the day offer a mild, mellowed down experience during the day. They serve food and drinks and would be ideal for a business meet or just a casual catching up meet. The same places transform almost unrecognizably into party hubs during the night. The night is when the city is on the dance floor and full of fun. Make sure to dress well or get ready to be denied entry at a few places.
Calgary located in the Alberta province of Canada is the third biggest city in the country and the is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. It is home to several headquarters of organizations.
The city has pubs, bars, bar restaurants, nightclubs which make an interesting nightlife for the city. These nightlife options are diverse and provide good food, great drinks and amazing music for its visitors.
The nightlife peaks around mid-night and goes on till the early hours of the morning. Overall, this is a city that needs to be visited at least once for its off beat and diverse experiences that it offers!