A nice, open bar in downtown Calgary with a varied tap selection and some pretty good appetizers (poutine). The service was prompt and attentive without being aggressive. A second National Beer Hall location has opened next door.
Great bar with multi-level seating, lots of open space that screams beer hall. Staff are often unaware of seasonals, promo, and generally lack craft beer connaissance. Tap list is as long as it is mundane. Food is exceptional.
The only reason I gave this anything other than the lowest score is because the beer selection is okay, so I had to leave room for a similar place with bad beer selection to get an even lower mark. I just don’t understand why they bother carrying decent beers since the demographic they are appealing to couldn’t care less what they are drinking as long as it makes them utterly drunk as soon as possible. The music is shitty pop dance music in poor taste. I don’t need Britney Spears with my beer. It’s too loud to even yell in your partner’s ear. Is it better during the day, I have no idea, but all I know is don’t come here on a Saturday night.
New review: This place is dreadful on a Saturday night. I hear it’s better at lunch, but drinking beer is a thing that tends to happen in the evening, so I think it’s fair to assess it on that basis. Who the hell thought a beer nightclub would be a good idea? The music is so loud you cannot even talk, the clientele is entirely early 20s douchebag/frat boys and drunk bachelorette parties. I don’t think there was a single person over 22 in the whole place. None of whom seemed to care at all about beer or know anything about it. This is NOT a place for beer geeks. I’ve been here a couple times and I’m done with it. Never again. They do have 100 beers on tap but very few I had never tried before and lots of macro.
Review from 2012 and 2013: Odd concept - a beer nightclub. I can’t knock the sheer volume of taps, but at least half of it is filler. Still, that leaves a lot of good taps, even if none of it is rare/amazing. The atmosphere is obnoxious. Ropes, bouncers, drunks on the sidewalk outside, music so loud it’s hard to talk. The people here don’t seem interested in the beer really. Regardless, it’s probably worth visiting in Calgary just for the sheer volume of taps.
Visited on a rainy Sunday evening in August. Admittedly my rating is slightly skewed, since that was the end of ’Caskapalooza’ day (20 cask beers from Alberta and BC brewers in addition to the normal lineup). So, trying to bar that aweseomeness from the review:
It’s a little cavernous, but not uncomfortably so. Big windows, tall ceilings, lots of wood. Atmosphere inside ranged from happy and jovial to utterly hammered and jovial (as noted - all day Cask tastings - some folks had been ther the duration :) )
Every bartender was super-knowledgable (and I had very little exposure to Western canadian beers, so it was well-received) and generous (to a fault) with small tastes.
I really enjoyed Craft and will return whenever I’m in the area.
Was very impressed with this bar. Only draft beer available with some nice european beers available. Service was excellent and the food was good. Dropped in on a Sunday afternoon and was not disappointed. My partner, who is more a wine drinker than a beer drinker also enjoyed it. Definitely worth a visit if you are in Calgary.
I’m very fond of this bar. I like the décor, I like the ambience- loud but not too much, I like the food and I like the beer.
There’s an excellent selection of beers with usually over 100 on tap at any time and most styles are well-represented. I’ve never had an "off" pint here, so I can only assume they’re looking after the beer and cleaning their lines properly.
I’ve ordered food a few times and it has consistently been delicious and reasonable portions.
It’s a large basic beer hall, so the atmosphere isn’t exactly what you might call intimate or sophisticated, but that suits me just fine.
One minor problem is that it tends to get very busy. There are usually plenty of staff working the floor but it’s possible to get overlooked by your server when it’s particularly packed. Most of the staff seem knowledgeable and friendly and will often stop and have a chat at your table.
I think if you want to see it at its best. then avoid Friday and Saturday nights as those appear to be the busiest nights, with a long queue outside the front door.
Price is an issue. It could be because it’s a city-centre bar or because their popularity allows them to get away with charging higher prices, but I’ve often found that their beers are $1-2 more per pint for the same brew than in other establishments- $9 for Shocktop is a bit excessive- although they don’t have the same amount of choice. Perhaps the opening of National next door might force them to be a bit more competitive with their prices.
A bit of a "Calgary hipster" bar, very loud but with several decent selections, including De Ranke Saison with Michael and his wife, the agent. After a few of these beerhalls, my ears were ringing. I guess you come earlier in the day to escape that.