The Buckingham
By YP Contributor

No Pretensions

It can be difficult to find your niche when opening a bar on Whyte Avenue because there are so many nightlife choices for bar-goers. The Buckingham has done it by being inclusive, eclectic and a little bit silly. “On a street like Whyte, you’re in such close proximity to other bars. There is a bit of a cannibalistic atmosphere,” says Ben Sir, one of the bar’s owners. “People are focused on what everyone else is doing but, for us, we just put our head down and do what we do. I just want to focus on making sure when people come here they’re having fun and they see we don’t take ourselves particularly seriously.”

That lack of pretension has been the key to their success. When coming up with an identity for The Buckingham, known as The Buck to the regulars, the owners used their own personality as the business model.  “As far as I’m concerned, we’re just a bunch of jackasses that somebody thought it wise to let run a bar and we found out we had a knack for it,” says Ben. “The biggest thing is we’re nice. I don’t care what you’re into, but if you’re a nice person, we want to get to know you and we want you to have fun here.”

The biggest thing is we’re nice. I don’t care what you’re into, but if you’re a nice person we want to get to know you and we want you to have fun here. - Ben Sir, co-owner
The Buckingham is a friendly, welcoming neighbourhood bar that hosts live music events and serves delicious vegan cuisine

Live Music and Fun

Music is a major component of The Buckingham but it’s not solely a live music venue. “We went with the approach that anything we believe in or we think is funny or stupid, or is a band that we really like, then we’ll do it,” says Ben. “We have a little more flexibility because we’re not reliant on that music traffic, we just do it when it makes sense. We try to play a pivotal role in offering a place that is welcoming to musicians.”

Every Monday, The Buckingham brings in eight bands to play three songs for a chance at some prizes. The Rocking for Dollars event is one way The Buck combines its support of music and its effort to be a fun place for all. “At the end of the night, we have constructed an obnoxious wheel. The bands spin the wheel and can win some money,” says Ben. “It’s kind of goofy and fun. We get them to do funny stuff. We’ll tell a death metal band to cover a Backstreet Boys’ song because it’s fun. We see ourselves as a place that can bring musicians together.”

The Buckingham hosts live bands every Monday night for the chance to win some prizes

Vegan Menu

The Buckingham menu is also different from other bars along Whyte – it’s 100 per cent vegan. “It’s gone really well,” says Ben, who is vegan. “From a managerial perspective, it was sweet to have a menu I believe in. It was nice to harmonize our belief system and business, but we don’t want to be the loud mouth berating someone for their choice in diet. It’s just good food.”

The Buckingham is a friendly neighbourhood bar located on Whyte Avenue, in the historic Old Strathcona district
Close menu