Big Fish and Open Range in Marda Loop

Some of our Favourite Happy Hour Deals

The concept of happy hour didn’t start in bars and restaurants, and didn’t even necessarily involve drinking. The practice developed from a naval military custom for soldiers to enjoy their leisure time once a week. But, the basic idea of enjoyment and relaxation after a hard day’s work remains.

“It’s five o’ clock somewhere” is a frequent justification to drink earlier than one maybe should. But we think (sometimes) it’s okay to forgo the semantics and start a little earlier — say, between the hours of 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.? And with the way prices are rising around us, we all need a drink — and a cheap one at that. So, is it any wonder happy hours are so popular right now?

Happy “hour” is a bit of a misnomer — typically, the average happy hour offer lasts at least two hours. Across Calgary, as a general rule of thumb, happy hour begins as early as 2 p.m. Monday to Friday, running until as late as 6 p.m., sometimes starting up again at 9 p.m., and even running all day Sunday at some spots. 

There’s a wide variety of happy hours in the city; some have great afternoon snacks; some have great deals on handcrafted cocktails; some have a coveted location and a great atmosphere; some have all three. 

Here are just a few of our favourite happy hours around the city for every occasion.

For the heated patio in winter — Bottlescrew Bills

Head to this pub for heated, covered and dog-friendly patios operating all year long. Happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday; $5 Bottlescrew Bill’s brews and hi-balls; $6 Caesars, Jameson’s and tequila; $7 wine by the glass.

140 10 Ave. S.W., 403-263-7900,

For the sunny weather patio and great deals — Central Taps + Food

This bar has excellent deals on food and drinks during Big Happy Hour daily from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and again at 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. Deals include $5.50 house beers, $8 Central Mules, $10 margherita pizza, $15 burger and fries and more.

110, 224 12 Ave. S.W, 403-984-6200,

For the food deals — Blanco Cantina

Head to one of three locations in Calgary for $3 classic tacos from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close, daily. Also included — $6 frozen and classic margaritas and Mexican lager, and half-price tequila. Three Calgary locations,

For a late-night deal — Big Fish and Open Range Marda Loop

The second location of Big Fish and Open Range opened in Marda Loop just over a year ago. From 2 to 5 p.m. and again from 9 p.m. to close every night they offer $12 doubles and $13 house cocktails and martinis as well as $7 house wines and $6 premium highballs as well as $2 off all bottled beer and premium draft. 

2018 33 Ave. S.W., 403-454-0014,

For when you’re feeling fancy — Hawthorn at the Palliser Hotel

The lobby restaurant and bar at the Fairmont Palliser Hotel exudes the nostalgic luxury of rail travel. While the Hawthorn doesn’t offer a traditional happy hour, you can take a quick trip to a more glamorous life, if just for just a couple hours with one of their regular specials. Splash out on “Wine Wednesdays” with half off all bottles on the wine list. Or kick off the weekend with the “Flute Friday” deal to get a glass of Veuve Cliquot (regularly $31) or Moet et Chandon Champagnes for $20. On Tuesdays couples can take advantage of TuesDATE Night experience from 5 p.m. on to get a prix fixe meal with dessert, bottle of wine and valet parking for $109 per couple.

133 9 Ave S.W., 403-260-1219,