Parties may usually be reserved for the weekends, but good drinks and cocktails are an everyday affair. That is, as long as you can find a place to go every night of the week. These are the bars we like to hit up when we’re in the mood for a good nightcap.
Monday: Milk Tiger
With a definitive hole-in-the-wall look to the average eye, probably about 75 percent of Calgarians don’t have a clue that Milk Tiger exists. In fact, the bar doesn’t even have a proper name sign, just a small white tiger-esque image above the unassuming brown door. The modesty in their exterior has no reflection on the quality of their drinks, and it definitely hasn’t stopped them from winning many awards for Calgary’s best cocktails, as well as a spot on the Condé Nast’s Greatest Bars in the World list in 2015. The cocktail gods have definitely been putting in a good word for us since Milk Tiger is open until 1 am on Mondays.
Tequila Tuesday, as we like to call it, is best spent sipping margaritas late into the evening. For that, there’s no better than Añejo which is open “late” — usually as long as there are people. Here you’ll find margs for every mood. Feeling spicy? The Coconut Chili is the perfect added kick to your Tuesday. On a health kick? The Cucumber Cilantro is just the combo you need to convince yourself that you’ve made a good choice. In the mood for something different? The smoky Mezcalarita is made for you. For those feeling fancier than a margarita, Añejo also offers a solid list of cocktails, which even includes a tequila Old Fashioned.
Wednesday: Wednesday room
One of Calgary’s restaurant newcomers, Wednesday Room is busy stirrin’ and shakin’ up some top-notch cocktails. You’ll find twists on some old favourites, like their take on a G&T, the BGnT, made with Tanqueray, Grand Marnier, and a blackberry tonic. You’ll also find some completely innovative mixes, such as The Traveller, made with whiskey, yellow chartreuse, and Jaegermeister — did you see that coming? — with maple and apple to tie it all together. The bar closes based on volume, but that leaves the possibility of getting drinks well into your Wednesday night!
Thursday: Bridgette Bar
Calling itself a chef-driven bar, Bridgette excels on both the food and the drink front, with the latter being served until 1 am. The cocktail list is modest but expertly curated. The beer list is filled with lots of delicious craft choices from around the world. The wine list is extensive and the servers can recommend the perfect pour for your meal. True connoisseurs will particularly appreciate the reserve list that Bridgette has, featuring bottles such as the 2011 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon from Columbia Valley, USA — perfect for a special evening out.
Friday: Betty Lou’s Library
Flashback Fridays were made to be spent in Betty Lou’s Library, a 1920’s Prohibition-inspired speakeasy. Just one catch, you’ll have to figure out how to get to this secret space in depths of the Cavendish Building. Gin lovers will be in awe over F. Scott Fitzgerald’s bibliography, a collection of 5 elaborate gin and tonics. Literature lovers and cocktail connoisseurs alike will enjoy the remainder of the libations, which are all named after famous female writers and poets. The head librarian at this hidden bar welcomes guests until 2 am on Fridays.
Saturday: Ricardo’s Hideaway
You don’t have to leave the city to escape to the tropics this winter. Ricardo’s has just what the doctor ordered, with a huge selection of island-inspired drinks, from pina coladas and daiquiris to sours and mai tais. This locale is a rum lover’s paradise with over 100 different rums, and the large selection also makes this the perfect spot to get educated if you can’t tell difference between a gold and an aged rum. Cha cha cha all the way to Ricardo’s until 1 am every Saturday to cure your winter blues.
One of Calgary’s front-runners in the cocktail scene, Proof is around for your quality drink needs until 1 am. You’ll find a massive list organized by type of liquor, making it easy to find a drink based on preferences. Those who like to walk on the wild side of flavours can find some unexpected combos, like Mesopotamian Homesick Blues which combines espresso and lime with bourbon. We’re here to say that no matter how unusual it may sound, you’re in good hands. Not sure exactly what you’d like? The servers and bartenders are extremely knowledgeable and will be able to help you pick the perfect drink for you.
By Michelle Pijanowski