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Your guide to YYC’s most unique cocktail bars

By Tori Taylor, September 24 2019 —

This city has more than cheap beer and half-bottles of wine to offer your thirsty adult palate. Google can be your best friend when it comes to finding a place for a fun night out. As school picks up, it can become necessary to squeeze in a night or two of casual drinks with friends. Balancing your social life with your studying is not easy but it definitely is needed in order to stay happy. Calgary has many eclectic bars with out-of-this-world hand-crafted beverages. There are a lot of passionate entrepreneurs who have dedicated their time to amping up this city’s bar industry. 


This cocktail bar tops the charts for top-quality drinks. Proof is founded on the belief that “good food and drink is a fundamental human experience and instrumental to the well-being of a community,” as their uniquely-designed website details. Their flexible cocktail list is inspired by favorite literary pieces and characters. I will say a farewell to (sober control of my) arms — and legs once I stand up — in the name of Hemingway any day. 

Model Milk:

With top priority placed on finding the best local and regional ingredients, Model Milk strives to support farms, fisheries and vineyards that are natural, sustainable and responsible in their practice. Model Milk believes in preparing cocktails as simply as possible so that the natural flavors and aromas can be showcased. They have a wine program that goes above and beyond to support organic and bio-dynamic wine production. 

When it comes to their delicious cocktail list the line-up is drool-worthy. From the “Tom and Cherry” with creme de cassis to the “Black Manhattan” with chocolate bitters, Model Milk is a local spot that should not be missed.


This small homey-vibed bar uses a combination of pre-prohibition style cocktails with fresh modern-mixing technology to produce a seasonally rotating drink menu. They strive to create a place for people to enjoy quality company and drinks in a private hub of rare throw-back art and decor. Their drink menu prides itself on individuality and true mixing skill.  Each cocktail recipe is tried and tested with especially unique ingredients paired for mixology perfection. There is a cocktail called “Love on L.S.D.” that uses rose-infused botanist gin, lemon bubbles and rose water. By the description alone I feel motivated to relax and breathe deeper.


If I open up a drink menu and come face-to-face with a beverage called “the antidepressant” listing mezcal tequila as the first ingredient — I am about 15 minutes away from some real regrettable texts to the guy I’m trying to play it cool with. Cleaver has a lineup of cocktails that will make your toes curl. There is a cocktail called “Christ on a Bike” that mixes J&B, gingerbread syrup, espresso and gingerbread infused whipped cream. That’s the kind of saviour that I savour. And it only feels natural to migrate towards anything “G-spot” related when you’re almost 30, divorced and dropped fresh back into the dating world — especially if said pleasurable drink consists of gin, guava and passionfruit. Cleaver is well worth a visit for anyone who is passionate about hand-made authentic cocktails. 


This is one of Calgary’s hotspots for margaritas. They have over 200 kinds of tequila to offer and as of 2018 rated YYC’s best margarita. I am a huge fan of the chili coconut margarita.  Anejo is an authentic-styled Mexican restaurant that adds a modernized spin to their cocktails. They use the state of Jalisco as their full inspiration and avidly pay homage to their Mexican cultural roots. If you enjoy mezcal then Anejo has a few different margaritas that mix the smokey taste with spicy or sweeter flavors for a perfect blend. Anejo has their full selection of margaritas on for six dollars during happy hour — making it the happiest group of hours ever because… tequila.

Next time you need a night to laugh off mid-term mayhem or bond with your besties try hopping over to one of these amazing cocktail bars.

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