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.
Shelter has a unique bomb shelter theme. Decor includes gas masks and sandbags, making it odd, but at the same time classy and old school. Its a small venue and the couch seating means you need to be prepared to get cozy with neighboring visitors. Opened mid 2017.
Elegant and pretentious, in a good way, Untitled Champagne lounge has quiet party vibes. (Although it does tend to get fairly busy as it gets late.) Low intimate seating, chandeliers, and lots of gold decor create opulence you'll want to be a part of. Opened early 2017.
Of all Calgary's speakeasy lounges, Betty's Lou's is the most true to its story. They are legitimately hidden (no signage, no clues) and to enter you require a password. It's small, dark, intimate and has a luxurious 1920's decor. Opened late 2016.
Sub rosa probably has my favorite decor of all the speakeasy's. It is quite lovely. 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. Opened late 2016.
Extra tiny and cute, Frenchie Wine bar is hidden behind Una on 17th (oops that was a spoiler). I believe it only seats about 12 people. 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 lawyer's library. Opened mid 2016.
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. This creates a different atmosphere because you might find people go from National up to the Bourbon room and vice versa. This makes for a more lively crowd compared to some of the quieter speakeasys. Opened early 2014.