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Nightlife in Banff, Alberta

by K Gordon Schultz

Top 3 Nightlife Hotspots in Banff, Alberta

Ah the trials and tribulations of being a Banff Park Ranger. Staying in fancy hotels, reviewing the best restaurants in the Canadian Rockies and sometimes having to drink a beer or two to check the nightlife scene. Life can be hard. It must be admitted, if there is one thing I can recommend about Banff, it is the nightlife. The only problem was cutting the options down to my three favourites but as far as my messy notes and memory go, here are my three favourites.

St James’s Gate Olde Irish Pub

Often when it comes to Irish bars, you can feel a little let down. A ragged tricolour in the corner doesn’t necessarily make it Irish. St. James’, however, has the exact atmosphere that you would expect. Decorated with posters, photos and memorabilia, charm literally flows from this bar. The food is good traditional pub grub but more importantly the drinks menu is something else. To name but a few, there are 10 Irish whiskies, 32 draft beers, and 55 scotches. Don’t try to get through all in one night. The central bar is absolutely huge and a great hang out place with old friends or new friendly Banff local friends.

Tommy’s Neighbourhood Pub

Whereas St. James Gate attracts a mixture of visitors and locals, Tommy’s is a typical Banff local hangout. Old fashioned and Canadian, it often feels like you are in a beer commercial as you sip a cold beer at the wooden bar. Decorated loosely with photos, vintage model cars and license plates, it is beautifully unorganised. Tommy’s also has great drinks specials from Sunday to Wednesday. The food selection is basic but excellent. Traditional pub fare is served with some delicious daily specials. Tommy’s is a great place to get the night started.

The HooDoo Lounge

When you want to continue your night into the wee hours of the morning, there are several great options. My personal favourite is The HooDoo Lounge, sister of the hip Aurora nightclub. Throughout the year, there are some world class DJ’s and the place is always full of fun-loving dancers. Keep an eye on the website as there are some great drinks specials and theme nights. The party goes on deep into the night so expect to be strolling back into your hotel in the late hours of the night.

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