Attention wine enthusiasts living in Cowtown: your struggle to find the city’s chicest wine bars is about to be over faster than you can say “pour me another glass of Pinot Grigio.” These charming locales are pouring up a plethora of delicious wines from around the world, from the rolling hills of Austria to the deep valleys of France. So whether you’re more into an Aussie blend of Mourvèdre, Shiraz and Grenache blend or a Retsina from Greece tickles your tastebuds, these are the best wine bars in Calgary for your next bar hop. And to discover our faves from Vancouver to St. John’s, click here.
Find it: 4th St. SW, 8561 8A Ave. SW, vinroom.com
The atmosphere: Your choice of Vin Room location definitely depends on your wine bar aesthetic, but one of its two chic spots is sure to fulfill all of your needs. The Mission location is very bold with the abstract paintings and eye-catching tiles, while the West location is for the minimalist with geometric light fixtures, white brick walls and neutral colour palette.
Prices: $3 to $67.5 per glass, $18.75 to $37.75 per flight, $38 to $1196 per bottle
Must sip: The Milamore from Argentina, which is made in an Amarone style that leaves the grapes out to dry for a longer period of time, creating a fruity and juicy red wine
The fare: Cheese and charcuterie platters, happy hour eats and a tapas menu equipped with finger foods fit for any palette and wine selection, including crab cakes, calamari and some delicious dips
Find it: 1131 Kensington Rd. NW, winebarkensington.com
The atmosphere: A hint of French bistro, thanks to a chalkboard menu, exposed pipes and a plenty of leather and wood accents. This urban wine bar is located on the lower level of Brasserie Kensington for your next late-night wine fix.
Prices: $9 to $15 per glass, $39 to $250 per bottle
Must sip: Kechribari’s Retsina from Thessaloniki, Greece, a white with notes of pine that’s made using the ancient tradition of storing the wine in a clay pot with pine resin (a tree sap) to make it more palatable
The fare: A from-scratch tapas-style menu just begging to be shared with a group of your closest girlfriends. Try the truffle cheese fondue for a decadent treat or go the classic route with the chef’s selection of cheese and meat
Bar Von Der Fels
Find it: 1005A 1 St. SW, barvonderfels.com
The atmosphere: This minimalist wine bar has been opened for a little over a year and it still remains an under-the-radar gem in the Beltline. With bare grey walls, a steel bar and an open kitchen, the focus is all on the delectable wine.
Prices: $45 to $1,475 per bottle
Must sip: Georges Descombes Morgon’s “Vieilles Vignes” from Beaujolais, France, a red wine with a tart aroma of cherry and black raspberry and an acidic, yet earthy taste
The fare: A fusion of European-Asian eats with a gourmet touch. Standouts: the escargot doughnuts topped with leek and labneh (a Middle Eastern cheese) and the cauliflower with sea urchin and gremolata (an herb-based Italian condiment)
Find it: 306 17 Ave. SW, pigeonholeyyc.ca
The atmosphere: Contemporary-meets-old-fashioned at this colourful wine bar. The green tiled bar and bright orange seats feel so right now with the white tiled ceilings and sleek wood floors.
Prices: $11 to $50 per glass, $60 to $290 per bottle
Must sip: BK Wines’ “Springs Hill” from McLaren Vale, Australia, a red with lots of bright and deep notes made from the blend of Mourvedre, Shiraz and Grenache grapes
The fare: Small, shareable and incredibly unique tapas-sized plates, like the rave-worthy ricotta dumplings with brown butter and black truffle or the duck pancakes with a peanut remoulade (a French aioli), scallions and slaw
Frenchie Wine Bar
Find it: 618 17th Ave. SW, frenchieyyc.com
The atmosphere: This 15-seat bar takes the word intimate to a whole new level. The maroon leather seating, tiled floors and dark wood make this cozy wine bar an ideal spot for a romantic date.
Prices: $11 to $24 per glass, $250 per bottle
Must sip: Meinklang’s “Graupert Pinot Gris” from Burgenland, Austria, an orange or “skin contact” wine, meaning the white grapes’ skin is left on. It smells like honey, pear and almond and has lively acidity and buttery, creamy texture at first sip.
The fare: A French selection of artisanal meats and cheeses. Try Le Grand Crème, a soft cow’s cheese with the salty Beef Bresaola