The Gauntlet / How to happy-hour your way through YYC - The Gauntlet
Mariah Wilson

How to happy-hour your way through YYC

By Tori Taylor, September 25 2019 —

Happy hour specials in this city are wild. The sheer volume of tacos, wings, nachos and craft beer that are available for considerable discounts from 3-6 p.m. and then again after 9 p.m. will overwhelm you in the best of ways. Calgary has hundreds and hundreds of happy hour deals. I’ve curated a list of my personal favorites based on quality, venue vibe, and price point. Turn off the kettle, put down the Ichiban and put your pants back on — grab a buddy and head out for a budget-friendly meal.

Blanco Cantina:

This is my personal all-time favourite place. The servers are real and have great personalities. There are no employees suffering in tiny black skirts or ridiculous heels. The dining is casual and the mood is “gimme-that-big-ass-burito.” Blanco does #halfyhour from 3-5 p.m. and 9 p.m.- close every day of the week. There is a blend of high-top tables, low-top tables and comfy booths. The “make-your-own-nachos” and wide selection of classic margaritas make this place my paradise. They offer vegan protein and cheese selections. The chili coconut margarita is the reason I get up in the morning. Drinks are $6 and at half-off a huge plate of nachos, I am able to leave with a $20 tab more nights than I’d like to admit. 

Cleaver:

This is an awesome venue with a vibe that is unmatched anywhere else in the city. With menu selections like duck-fat fried fries and toblerone and oreo cheesecake — only the happiest of bellies leave the building. From Sunday to Thursday, happy hour runs before 7 p.m. and after 9 p.m. Wine and unreal hand-crafted cocktails are on for $8. Their wide selection of sliders are the main feature at $4 a piece. When you come face-to-face with a slider list that includes matcha mushroom, soft-shell crab and chipotle chicken there is no scenario in which you leave with your pants still buttoned. 

The Kilkenny:

This is where you go for wings. On monday nights the wings are 24 cents. This is about all that needs to be said. Monday nights are for huge, well-sauced wings at the bumpin Irish pub right near campus. It’s a big venue with tons of tables and booths for large groups of friends. Sports games are always playing and loudly participated in. Wings are not the only reason to go to The Kilkenny. They have a menu made up entirely of everyone’s favorite comfort foods — chicken pot pie and top-notch fish and chips to name a couple. 

1410 World Bier Haus:

Located on the Calgary’s famous red mile, 1410 is a busy upscale pub-style place to grab reasonably-priced beer and appies. This bar is a haven for socialites and foodies. From 36 p.m. and 9 p.m.close they offer $5 glass of house red and white wine. My personal highlights are the $9 calamari and the $11 deluxe pizza. I order both because they pair really well with my $5 red wine. If you aren’t an avid squid enthusiast like myself then I recommend the $4 parmesan truffle fries and $10 sabroso nachos to feast your heart out on. And if wine isn’t your jam then you can choose between an assortment of $5 craft beer.  

Leopold’s Tavern:

This pub has two locations — one in Bowness and one downtown. The feature next-level poutines that rotate weekly. My Instagram was recently graced with a mouth-watering image of one of their specialty poutines. Game changer. If the buffalo ranch chicken poutine doesn’t grab your taste-buds then the Philly Cheesesteak or vegan mushroom one might. They announce their weekly poutine via their Instagram account. Happy hour runs from 3:30-5:30 p.m. on weekdays with drink specials like $6 Ceasars and pints of local beer. On Monday, Leopold’s offers $6 buckets of bacon and happy hour drink specials run all day. Tuesday features tacos and tequila just like every Tuesday should. Get yourself a few $3 tacos and a big margarita to really live your best life. 

Happy hours are wonderful gifts that we should all take better advantage of. Food can be super expensive. Social eating and drinking is where I hemorrhage my dollar bills. But with a little bit of education on restaurant specials I have been able to enjoy going out again without having to call 911 from financial-bleed-out after every dinner date. 


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