Shake it up: Bars with dance floors in Calgary

Calgary’s nightlife is livening up with new restaurants, pubs and nightclubs presenting live music and DJs. Visiting your favourite watering hole for pints and pub grub with pleasant company is always satisfying, but sometimes that tune’s so good you’ve got to get up and show ’em what you got. These cool pubs and lounges feature dance floors with room to shake it to some great live and recorded music.

Rose & Crown Pub

1503 4 St SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0Y3

Previously a small, raised platform enclosed by a hand railing, the dance floor at this historic Brit pub just off busy 17th Avenue Southwest has been dropped to floor level and adjoins the main bar. The expanded area encourages even more patrons to put down their brews and shake it. The Rose and Crown features live music on its wee Guinness Stage with local bands performing everything from your favourite ’80s hits to sweet soul music each and every weekend.

Rio Bar & Grill

100-800 6 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 3G3

Put on your best dancing shoes and head downtown to Rio, the place to be for novice and experienced Latin dancers. This spot features a small dance floor, but the energy is always on high with a glistening, Latin-music-loving crowd that includes some serious bachata dancers (derived from the Cuban bolero). Weekly dance nights include salsa Thursdays, Latino DJ Fridays and a Latino band performs live every Saturday. To help put you in the dancing mood, this spot offers weekday happy hours from 3 pm to 7 pm.

Commonwealth Bar & Stage

This warehouse-turned-bar in the Beltline features music and dancing on two levels, with a huge dance floor on the main level and a smaller one below. The owners are musicians and music producers, so it’s natural they bring in some killer live bands and DJs every week. Check out weekly music nights such as 10 at 10 to jam to live hip-hop performances. As well, Modern Vintage Saturdays features new DJ sounds such as Top 40 mixes, old-school funk and ’90s hits.


315 8 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 4K1

If you’re dying to groove to some old-school R&B, hip hop and funk, this is the place to do it, especially on Fridays when it’s busiest. Located on Stephen Avenue Walk adjacent to Earls Bankers Hall, this upscale lounge features an intimate but fun evening dance floor that attracts a well dressed, downtown crowd. V’s small size makes it easy to slip off the dance floor and into a comfy booth for some dangerously delicious vodka martinis with friends.

The Palomino Smokehouse

109 7 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 0W5

The Palomino is a key venue in the downtown music scene. Its cool lower-level, cement-bunker performance space features live alternative music by local and touring bands throughout the week. Dance to everything from punk and alt country to folk and garage rock on the petite dance floor from which you can practically reach up and touch the band. And of course, don’t leave without trying the venue’s famous smokehouse barbecue cuisine served on the main floor.

The Trop

1501 34 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2T 2B1

This casual neighbourhood pub in Marda Loop serves great food, and its energetic, mature crowd is especially lively on weekend live-music nights, which feature local bands. Its smaller dance floor gets you up close to the performers, where you can dance the night away to everything from funk and soul to roots and rock.

Back Alley Nightclub

4630 Macleod Trail Sw, Calgary, AB T2G 5E8

This nightclub and beer hall is located in the old Back Alley space. It combines a laid-back restaurant and bar done up with vintage famous-musician photos and an adjoining nightclub area that heats up in the evenings. It brings in great multi-genre musical acts as its more rugged predecessor did, including local bands, big touring acts and well-known DJs. The large, dimly lit dance floor is often shoulder-to-shoulder packed beneath a cool ceiling strung with low-hanging microphones.

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It’s always nice to unwind with a cold brew after a long day. But instead of parking your seat on the couch or a barstool all night, recruit a friend or three and head to these laid-back, pool-table-equipped watering holes. Fun, friends, food and drinks: what more do you need to unwind?
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