Shhhhhh....did you know Calgary is home to so many hidden speakeasy style cocktail lounges?! Yes! Right here in Calgary. Visiting this type of trendy and unusual establishment was previously only available when on a trip to a large metropolitan city (think New York and Chicago). But times have changed and Calgary is upping its cool factor. I feel like this is something we can point to and say "we've arrived." I love it. Seriously though, these small and elite venues are the best places to take out and impress out of town visitors.
If you're into living that luxury life, then hit up YYC Sociables for the coolest stuff happening locally that you don't want to miss out on.
I used to dye my hair brown. We've all made mistakes in our past.
I would describe Shelter's decor as "mildly deranged" and I mean that in the best way possible. Where this bomb shelter theme came from, will forever keep me up at night (just kidding, I sleep like a baby). But seriously, the decor includes gas masks and sandbags, making it odd, but at the same time classy and old school. Note the venue is TINY and the couch seating means you need to be prepared to get cozy with your neighbor. Hopefully they're attractive. Opened mid 2017.
This champagne lounge is elegant and pretentious, in a good way, Hey we need some of that in Cowtown. For real though. If you like quiet party vibes. low intimate seating, chandeliers, and lots of opulent gold decor you'll want to visit for some bubbly. I'm trying to remember what it's like late at night but I'm thinking there's gotta be a DJ. I am also unsure on dance floor situation. clearly I need to revisit. Opened early 2017.
Of all Calgary's speakeasy lounges, Betty Lou's is the most true to prohibition era history. Betty Lou's is legitimately hidden (no signage, no clues) and to enter you require a password. Don't worry, you don't have to join the mafia to get the code, they email it to you when you make a reservation. (I'd personally still like to see you try to join the Mafia though.) Betty Lou's Library is small, dark, intimate and has a luxurious 1920's decor. Check them out Tuesdays or Thursdays for live Jazz or Wednesdays when they host burlesque! Opened late 2016.
Sub Rosa probably has my favorite decor of all the speakeasy's. Although that is a tough call to make...it's like picking from my prohibition era children. It is important to note that Sub Rosa becomes a club on Saturday nights. So if you are looking for a speakeasy feel, that is NOT the time to go. I think their Friday crowd is still pretty tame for those looking for good drinks and conversation. But if you want that club feel, Saturday is your night, you go girl! Opened late 2016.
Extra tiny and cute, Frenchie Wine bar is hidden behind Una on 17th (oops that was a spoiler, I think you knew that though). I believe it only seats about 12 people. So pick your 10 closest friends and that 1 coworker you hang out with sometimes and head on down. They serve appies, fondue, and dessert. The decor is not so much 1920's as it is rich and old school, kinda like being in a secret society library. Opened mid 2016.
The Bourbon Room, with its higher ceilings and larger space makes it one of the bigger speakeasys in town. Spoiler alert - its upstairs in National on 10th (again, you knew that). This creates a different atmosphere because you'll find people go from National up to the Bourbon room and vice versa. So it tends to be a more lively crowd compared to some of the quieter speakeasys. They used to have a backdoor from the alley that served as a secret entry, not sure if that exists anymore... Opened early 2014.