The Beltline is one of the trendiest and oft-touted neighbourhoods in YYC, but most Calgarians focus on the 17th Avenue stretch starting at 1 Steet SW and ending well before 14th Street SW. Let’s call that the East Beltline. We wanted to send some love to the up-and-coming section of the neighbourhood that already has the hidden gems to compete with its eastern half. You guessed it: the West Beltline.
1. Galaxy Karaoke
If you’re a shower singer ready to break into the big time but aren’t ready to subject all of Calgary to your … ‘talent,’ then Galaxy Karaoke has your back. With 11 different rooms of varying capacity, you can serenade your friends or suprise your co-workers (pleasantly or otherwise) during some corporate bonding.
1324 1 Ave. SW, galaxykaraokebar.com
2. Monki Bistro
What neighbourhood is complete without a prime brunch spot? Monki is tucked away in the north part of the West Beltline. It’s a chocolate lover’s dream and also features one of the most under-the-radar patios in the city. Feast on waffles, eggs benny or go all out and order one of the four varieties of fondue on the menu.
1301 10 Ave. SW, monkibistro.ca
3. Heritage Posters & Music
Everything old is new again at Heritage Posters & Music and vinyl, cassettes, and even CDs are going strong. Flip through the bins at this West Beltline and score rare and out of print vinyl or pick up the latest pressing from some of today’s hottest artists.
1316 11 Ave. SW, heritagepostersandmusic.com
4. Pig & Duke
The West Beltline location for this pub with a Celtic flair boasts 2000 sq. ft. of reclaimed barn, farm fence and mason brick from surrounding areas of Calgary. In true pub fashion, the Pig & Duke is a social experience with large communal tables and regular pay-per-view events. The pub boasts a menu with amazing daily specials, but you don’t want to miss Raging Wednesdays for $5.50 pounds of wings and $7 frog legs.
1312 12 Ave. SW, pigandduke.ca
5. Pomp & Circumstance
The owners of Pomp & Circumstance, designer Jeffrey Riedl and architect Robert Pashuk (of Robert Pashuk Architecture), bring in the goods and design they like from the people and brands from around the world. This West Beltline spot is a font of inspiration when it comes to design and specializes in custom furniture, upholstery, and drapery so you know you’re unlikely to run into anything quite like what you pick up here. Hot tip: wallpaper is a thing again, but this ain’t your mama’s wall treatment. We suggest visiting Jeffrey and Robert to find out why.
1204 12 St. SW, pompandcircumstance.ca
6. Twisted Element
The West Beltline is home to one of Calgary’s few LGBTQ watering holes and it truly runs the gamut of queer entertainment. Catch the latest episode of Rupaul’s Drag Race or, better yet, check out some of YYC’s own premier drag talent. Get your regular dose of Cher, Beyonce, ABBA — really any of the greats that you can dance to at this West Beltline spot. If you’re feeling ambitious, enter their amateur strip contest or visit on the first Thursday of the month for a ’90s Throwback party.
1006 11 Ave. SW, twistedelement.ca
7. Cluck N Cleaver
Cluck N Cleaver is a family affair with deep Calgary roots and a passion project revolving around chicken. Owned by sisters Francine Gomes and Top Chef Canada All-Stars winner Nicole Gomes, this little fried chicken takeaway restaurant cemented 14 St. SW’s status as Calgary’s Chicken Strip when its doors opened in 2016. Hot tip: battle hunger pangs by ordering online.
1511 14 St. SW, cluckncleaver.com
8. Boyd’s Lobster Shop
A true Calgary institution, Boyd’s Lobster Shop combines decades of experience with a variety of seafood. The business opened in over 30 years ago and has been serving the West Beltline and all of Calgary for two decades in its current spot. Hot tip: The months of May and June are lobster season, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop in to sample some exotic (to Calgary) seafood. Boyd’s serves up both fresh and frozen options.
1515D 14 St. SW, cluckncleaver.com
Houseplants are the hottest millennial addiction and Peaseblossoms is your West Beltline dealer. Pick up an exotic orchid or fill your condo with hanging spider plants and succulents (that you’re less likely to kill) until you need a machete to hack your way through. If you’re not blessed with a green thumb, we love what a small bouquet of fresh-cut flowers can do to a space and Peaseblossoms gives us the power to make it look like we know what we’re doing.
1417 11 St. SW, peaseblossoms.com
10. Peacock Boutique
Two words: Shop. Dog. Need we say more? OK. Peacock Boutique is packed with vintage treasures, fringed vests, beautiful boots and floral dresses for days. This little consignment boutique boasts the titles of 2018 Best of Calgary’s Best Consignment Store and Best Vintage Store — and it lives up to both titles with ease. Visit Monday through Friday for a chance to meet the aforementioned shop dog Moe who you might find manning the cash register. He’s great at math, but all paws.
1415 11 St. SW, peacockboutique.ca
11. Galaxie Diner
Perfect for hangovers or afternoon breakfast cravings, Galaxie isn’t the perfect retro diner Calgary deserves, but it’s definitely the one it needs. Omelette lovers beware, you won’t want to buy breakfast anywhere else after you experience Galaxie’s Omelette of Choice — a build-your-own option with unlimited toppings and unlimited hash browns to with it.
1413 11 St. SW, galaxiediner.ca
12. Myhre’s Deli
History and food don’t often meet unless you’re digging deep into your refrigerator, but lover’s of both will appreciate the eats, vibe, and decor at Myhre’s Deli. Serving Montreal smoked meat, Calgary style, Galaxie’s sister restaurant works to revive local history through the restoration of furniture, photographs and even the mahogany paneling from The Palace of Eats, a vintage lunch counter that operated on Stephen Ave. from 1918 to 1964.
1411 11 St. SW, palaceofeats.ca
13. Kalamata Grocery
Do yourself a favour and pop into Kalamata Grocery before your next house party. Their outstanding selection of hummus, olives, cheeses and other delights make your hosting skills legendary. Big bonus here is the lively atmosphere. There’s never a dull moment when food and passion collide.
1421 11 St. SW
14.Thomson Family Park
This recent addition to the neighbourhood (it opened in 2016) has everything you could need for a day spent in the company of Mother Nature. There’s a playground (that makes our childhood park look like a bunch of 2x4s with rusty nails) and picnic area for the kids, walkways, public artwork, and a seasonal outdoor skating rink for a fun winter night with friends. During the summer, lounge in the grassy areas or strike up a casual game of frisbee and take it easy.
1236 16 Ave. SW
15. Gravity Pope
For those who bemoan Calgary’s lack of cool indie fashion boutiques, we give you Gravity Pope. Housed in a ’70s-era building-turned shopping oasis, this Alberta-based retailer sells hard-to-find brands such as AMI, Acne, Comme des Garçons, Kitsuné and Isabel Marant, just to name a few. And once you’ve finished shopping for the outfit, the fun has just begun — Gravity Pope’s shoe department is legendary, as is their jewellery and toiletries selection.
1126 17 Ave. SW, gravitypope.com
16. Caffe Beano
If you want to find the most hipster coffee experience in Calgary, look no further than Caffe Beano. It’s the type of place you might see a bearded man writing a novel on a typewriter or a lively discussion about Russian literature between two university students wearing berets. What you’ll definitely find at Caffe Beano is outstanding coffee and delectable treats. Take a book (we suggest some light Bulgakov), grab an Americano and while away the afternoon.
1613 9 St. SW, caffebeano.ca
Want to explore more great Calgary neighbourhoods? Why not check out Calgary’s OG Main Street: Inglewood.