For those of us who are Calgarian, it is often said that Stampede is better than Christmas. For those of you who aren’t from Calgary, this is a strange concept to understand.
Ten days of debauchery in cowboy boots, drinking caesars while baking in the sun watching cattle get wrangled, and riding on school buses from bar to bar—sounds horrible right? WRONG. This is the Stampede that I love. The city shuts down to celebrate everything country and everybody’s into it. And if they aren’t into it, they’ve fled the city not to be seen until July 15.
But this guide is not for Stampede. This is to help you for the moments you stumble out of Nashville North in search a break. Or when you wake up post pubcrawl and all you want is greasy bacon. So for those moments, this is a Meredith Gillies guide to Calgary:
Note: This guide has taught me that I only like to eat and drink but I think I’m okay with that.
The best place for hungover breakfast: Red’s Diner on 4th Street
The line may always be long on weekends (but if you’re from Toronto you’re already used to that) but the brunch is worth the wait. If you’re feeling really country, try the streak and eggs with a side of sausage. Bold, I know.
The best place to get out of town: Coyotes Grill in Banff
The drive to Banff is seriously beautiful. It looks like the set of a film and it was the set of the famed Brokeback Mountain. Only an hour away from Calgary, Banff is a must-see and Coyotes is a must-eat. The lunch half sandwich/soup combination is perfect and the potato and corn chowder keeps me driving back all the time just for meals.
The best place to party that’s not country: The Hifi Club
Now, I’ve been going to Hifi since I was not even legal. Every Thursday for as long as I can remember, me and everyone I know meets at Hifi. The music is always amazing (read: electro and loud) and the drinks are reasonable. Ten points if you wake up in the morning with a pocket full of toonies and loonies because that’s truly a Hifi experience.
The best vegetarian: The Coup
If you’re a vegetarian, you’re going to be in heaven. If you’re not a vegetarian, you’re going to be in heaven. Just go. That’s all.
The best place to grab a coffee: Phil & Sebastian
Phil & Sebastian’s coffee is such a treat. The store gives you a big city vibe that barely fits into Calgary but it’s the perfect place to catch up with a friend and get a coffee that isn’t from Starbucks.
Best place to grab dinner: Blue Star Diner
The hamburgers here are stupidly good. They are meaty and moist and everything you need or want from a burger. Get your Alberta beef fix in here. They also have tacos, and I love tacos. Everyone loves tacos.
Good luck if you’re attempting to brave the insanity that is the Stampede. Keep hydrated and don’t bother packing your morals. All you need is denim and a solid pair of cowboy boots and a good YEEEEHAW.
~ Meredith Gillies, @murrrdiff