Golden delicious: Whisky bars in Calgary

Brown liquor is here to stay, with bourbon becoming a staple on drink lists and rye on its way into the spotlight. What was once considered your grandfather’s drink is now one of the most popular libations among both men and women. So when you want to reach for a sweet bourbon, smooth Scotch or a home-grown rye, here’s where to go in Calgary.

Buchanan's Chop House & Whiskey Bar

1
738-3rd Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 0G7

One of the oldest steakhouses in the city, and one of the few places where you can order a coarse-ground sirloin burger at medium-rare, Buchanan’s knows its whisky, too. It has what’s likely the most extensive selection in Calgary. With about 300 whiskies, covering rye, bourbon, Irish, Japanese and Scotch, this is the perfect place for whisky connoisseurs as well as beginners looking to find their favourite style.

Brasserie Kensington

2
100-1131 Kensington Rd NW, Calgary, AB T2N 3P4

As a partner with the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, an organization that bottles single cask, single malt whiskies chosen from 130 malt whisky distilleries, this French bistro offers rare gems that you can’t find anywhere else. In addition to classic French fare, Brasserie is also known for its participation in notable whisky events in the city.

Model Milk

3
308 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2S 0A8

If you’re a fan of Anthony Bourdain, you’ll know that he praises Pappy Van Winkle as his drink of choice. And if you’re a whisky fan, you’ll know how hard that is to track down. At Model Milk Bistro, one of the highest rated restaurants in the city, the bar is stocked with high-end bourbons, including the elusive Pappy. Although the restaurant is well known for its food and robust cocktail program, the selection of rare bourbons you might find will surprise you.

National on 10th

4
341 10 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0A5

With a name like the Bourbon Room, you know it doesn’t mess around when it comes to bourbon and bourbon cocktails. In the laid-back, cozy space above National Beer Hall, you will find not only some of the best cocktails in the city, using premium liquors, but more than 60 different bourbons – and that’s just bourbons – a healthy selection of rye whiskies, as well as other varieties of brown liquor.

The Beltliner

5
243 12th Avenue SW, Calgary, AB T2R 1H7

Considering a Corona is $7 at the average pub, rare and high-quality whisky for $5 an ounce is a steal. Beltliner is a contemporary diner that’s as good for classic brunch as it is for a dinner of comfort dishes like meatloaf and chicken and waffles. Its whisky list focuses on quality over quantity. This selection includes about 30 carefully selected whiskies that are not your typical Jack Daniel’s or Jameson’s, plus more rare finds on the shelf.

One 18 Empire

6
110 9th Ave Se, Calgary, AB T2G 5A6

Another partner with the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, this whisky bar and restaurant in the heart of downtown Calgary offers over 100 ryes, bourbons, Scotches and other whiskies. For whisky beginners, the restaurant offers regular tastings and workshops to help you become more comfortable with the liquor.

Cannibale

7
813 1 Avenue NE, Calgary, AB T2E 0C2

A one-stop lifestyle destination, Cannibale is a full-service barbershop, cocktail bar and restaurant featuring appetizers and sandwiches, all rolled into one. With about 14 bourbons and 17 single malt Scotches, plus a selection of quality rye whiskies on the list, it’ll be a tough decision between ordering them on their own or as an ingredient in Cannibale’s cocktails.

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