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Turning 18 in Calgary - Pubs, steak house?

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Hey guys,

I'm going to be turning 18 in a bit here and my parents have offered to take me out anywhere I want for my birthday. Won't be a heavy drinking affair obviously, that will be saved for when I go out with my friends. Anyway, I was thinking of going out for a Steak maybe, but I'm not entirely sure where to go. I know Hys has shut down, but have they found a new location yet?

Chicago Chop House? Vintage? Ruths Chris?

I know steak is sort of standard fair in Calgary, and that I could have searched but forgive me for that one.

2 - I'm also on the look out for a pub, I love nachos, not too big on wing's but some of my friends are. I was thinking of the Drum and Monkey or maybe Ship and Anchor.

But I'm also on the look out for a Pub with a larger beer selection, maybe some local beers? I know Bottle Screw Bills has that "Around the world in 80 beers" but from the outside BSB doesn't look like much. Maybe I'm wrong.

thanks guys!

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  1. Caesar's steakhouse is a classic Calgary steak house. If you liked Hy's you'll like Caesar's I think. Very old school. The Drum and the Ship are both great downtown pubs. The Hop in Brew (around the corner form the Drum) has a good beer selection and a good crowd.

    1. And the Hop in Brew has nachos too. I'm not sure what place I would recommend for nachos in town- I eat a lot of them and none really stand out.

      1. Hy's hasn't reopened but apparently they're hoping to have a new location soon - http://www.hyssteakhouse.com/hys-calg... As for steak I'd suggest making the drive out to Bearspaw and go to the Bear's Den: http://www.bears-den.ca/menu.asp well worth the trip :)

        1. The Ship and Anchor has decent pub food, but I haven't had anything good to eat at the Drum and Monkey in a while (though the UK-style curry chicken on fries used to be good).

          1410 and 1610 have a good selection of beers: http://www.1410bierhaus.com/

          Hop in Brew has good pizza (meh nachos), and most of the local Wildrose Brewery beers on tap.

          Bottlescrew Bill's is as underwhelming as it looks on the outside. The food's not good, and they have expensive bottled beer you could just buy at the liquor store. It's also freezing in the winter time.

          Edit: Brewster's has some good locally-brewed beers too.

          1. Well, if it were my 18th birthday out with my friends, I'd go where the action is; Melrose for all the "scenery". Overpriced, somewhat indifferent service, etc... but it is where the pretty people hang out.

            20 Replies
            1. re: tex_in_yyc

              Perhaps venture down to 4th Street and have dinner at Mercato. The atmosphere is great and their steak (Bistecca alla Fiorentina) is even better. Then walk down (or up) the block to either Wildwood or Original Joe's for some after dinner pints.

              1. re: DeeDub

                If this is a no holds barred anywhere you want then I would suggest Ruth's Chris, it is the type of place you will not be going back to in a long time. Very expensive, but the reviews on the steaks are really good, other than the price. I have been to Bear's Den and thoroughly enjoyed the steaks there. Not a fan of Vintage or Chop house unless they have changed over the years, more hype and snootiness (especially if you are not in a suit) than good product. Ceasars I have not been to in years, but I used to really like, definitely old school, but nothing wrong with that.

                BTW if you truly get to order whatever you want, consider trying Wagyu beef, I am pretty sure Ruth's has it on their menu. It is not worth spending your own money on, but someone else's....go nuts, again a total splurge, something everyone should try once!

                1. re: cleopatra999

                  I've been to both Vintage and Chicago Chophouse recently. Chicago Chophouse is certainly better than I remember Caesar's being (although it's been a few years). The steaks were perfect, and the sides aren't an afterthought as at Caesar's.
                  At Vintage with a party of 12, service was glacial and the steaks were often a little over- or underdone. It was also pretty expensive.
                  Caesar's is certainly an experience, and who knows how much longer they'll be stuck in the 70s (both decor and menu!). You should go at least once.

                  1. re: cleopatra999

                    Personally wouldn't recommend ruths. Unless you want a $50 steak + $15 mashed potatoes smothered in a lake of butter + whatever other $15 al la carte side. Better off getting a decent steak at Joey`s or Earls to be honest. I`d go to Ceasars for the cheese bread, but don`t expect to see any talent in there. Just a bunch of stuffy 65yr old male servers.

                2. re: tex_in_yyc

                  Of course, it depends on his crowd. I've seen lots of 18-year old art student types at the Hop in Brew (yes, I do feel a little out of place there now :P)

                  1. re: 23skidoo

                    Can't beat Hop n Brew. The Palomino's begun to hit its stride these days too. (Pretty decent nachos and a MUCH improved local beer list.)

                    RE Ruth's: I'm probably missing the point, but isn't there something treasonous -- not to mention vaguely unsustainable -- about ordering US beef in AB?

                    1. re: bookley

                      Calgary Ruth's, ever so mindful of AB beef sensitivities, offers US and AB beef, so treason is optional. As to sustainability, well, many tofuistas would argue no beef is.

                      1. re: Scary Bill

                        Even tofuistas would agree that grass-fed beeves pose nowhere near the threat to our planet that beeves stuffed with corn, which is undigestible for ruminants, and antibiotics with a nice patina of antibiotic-resistant E-Coli that comes with good ol' US industrial beef. Ruth's Chris should be run out of town for this and that's not about patriotism.

                        I'll never eat US corn-fattened beef anymore. Ever.

                        1. re: John Manzo

                          JM, not being a farm boy, you've made me do some homework.

                          It is the outer cellulose covering that is indigestible, hence its reappearance some time later, no matter who or what eats the corn. The inner starches etc. are digestible. Smaller ruminents who chew whole grains get the nutrition. Larger runinents like cows apparently swallow most grains eaten whole, hence digestion of corn is incomplete and quite in the unsustainable category.

                          But I do agree with your assessment of grass fed vs corn fed and having an awareness of what you are eating. I will admit that while I read labels thoroughly, I'm not always as particular about source as I should be.

                          1. re: Scary Bill

                            I never thought about it until read The Omnivore's Dilemma.

                            1. re: John Manzo

                              Isn't that what silage is all about? I thought the corn 'aged' and became more digestible. But then, I'm Canadian and raised on grain fed.

                      2. re: bookley

                        i agree with the others who have recommended the hop in brew. awesome beer selection, awesome pizza, awesome atmosphere. the only drawback is that it's in the ghetto... but it's definitely worth it.

                        1. re: nonlinear

                          It's not in the ghetto. There are dealers in front of the Beltline Gym, yes, but it's also near luxury condos and Hotel Arts.
                          (And I'm pretty sure the Gravity Room has been closed for a while)

                          1. re: nonlinear

                            Yeah dude, that is not the ghetto. Type in "brutal new york" in google and then tell me if 12th ave is the ghetto.

                            1. re: nonlinear

                              Haha, the ghetto? Grab a seat on the coveted upstairs balcony at the Hop and watch the deals happen. (Now my alley in Vancouver, that's a totally different story... more deals happen within the sight of my balcony in an hour than would happen in a whole night on 12 Ave.)

                              The Hop is probably my favorite place in downtown Calgary for a pint. Great beers, great atmosphere.

                              1. re: peter.v

                                perhaps I will be dating myself here, but what about the Ship & Anchor? I always enjoyed it there in my younger days....still around? or one of the Irish pubs? What is the one on 4th called? How is the new Ceili's?

                              2. re: nonlinear

                                please look up "ghetto" and educate yourself. Please.

                                1. re: John Manzo

                                  john, don't tell me you're growing out of touch with modern english...

                                  1. re: nonlinear

                                    No, but even with its modern usage to call that area "ghetto" suggests somebody who's pretty sheltered...

                                    1. re: John Manzo

                                      No kidding. My first drive years ago through Harlem was eye opening. It made Detroit look prosperous even when downtown was Murder City. And neither could compare I'm certain to the real, and thankfully no more, ghetos.

                        2. Very interesting, healthy discussion. You will soon find out what types of bars you like. I'm going to guess it won't be Melrose, but maybe it will. The Ship is a right of passage. You will need to be in there at 2:10am pleading for a pint at some point, and you'll also probably have to develop a crush on one of the service staff. The older bar crowd are all going to Local 510 these days. Food there is pretty good and it's very nice inside, but it's all Molson products on tap (except for a couple Big Rock beers). For local beer I have never been at all impressed with Brewsters, especially the terrible food, but for some reason I like to have meetings there. Big Rock and Wild Rose are our main local breweries. I love Wild Rose beer, but not that many places in town carry it. I agree that Palomino is hitting it's stride a bit more now. The Marquee is kind of fun, they sometimes have really good shows and they make an effort to carry some interesting beers. I own a bar in town with sometimes inconsistent food, but pretty good draught selection called Broken City.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Mawson Plan

                            Good pub menu design, Short with creative aspects. I'll try it sometime soon.

                          2. Thanks for the tips guys. About the whole fireball whiskey...long story whatever, my bad. The internet is a bad place to lie. My bad. Forgiveness please.

                            Anyway, I'm thinking of going to Caeser's for my b-day. I'm thinking like, 3 martini's, a new york strip, a double wide piece of cheese cake, and a fat Montecristo before I head home for a nap.

                            Maybe throw a caeser salad in there for good measure.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: wmp.dll

                              Dude,the internet is the BEST place to lie, you just have to be better at it :)

                              Happy birthday, young chowhound.

                              1. re: wmp.dll

                                I think we all remember wanting to be "legal" (18, 19, 21 whatever the age was where we were living)...you're forgiven. (this time) ;)

                              2. Perhaps venture to The TRIB on stephen ave. Sit in the lounge, rather than the dining room, it's more lively. Good drink list, even better lounge nibblies (truffle wings...mmm). They also offer the full dining room menu. Not overly expensive either, for a steak house.

                                1. Guys, I'm wondering if I can walk into Ruths Chris in a nice pair of jeans and a nice shirt? I'm really not one for dressing up too much.

                                  Ruths Chris vs Vintage? Anyone?

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: wmp.dll

                                    I think you could do jeans and a nice collared shirt (not your very best band tour tee) think dress shirt/golf shirt at Ruths Chris, for Vintage you might be able to do jeans in the bar but not on the restaurant side imho you'd feel out of place in jeans at Vintage either way...unless you do it up with dress shoes, nice jacket, sweater and dress shirt then maybe. (plus Mom & Dad would be so darned proud) ;)

                                    1. re: wmp.dll

                                      It's Calgary. You can wear jeans anywhere. If they're dirty, ripped and you look like you're just 18 and can't pay the bill they might say they have a dress code but it's not really because you're in jeans.

                                      You may have to be more concerned about mom and dad's view of whether they will take you than whether the restaurant will let you in if you're wearing jeans.