Bottlescrew Bill's Old English Pub
Taps: 26 / Bottles: 300
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 14 | Reviews: 13 | Display Reviews Only:
3.53/5 rDev -10.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2.5 | $$$
Visited Bottlescrew's on a Saturday night while visiting friends in Calgary.
The pub is attached to a restaurant (I believe it's called Buzzard's) and tucked behind a bit. There are 4 main seating areas: dark wooden booths by the bar itself; another room filled with plain tables and chairs but with a nice set of 4 leather wingback chairs by a gas fireplace; family restaurant style booths and plain table and chairs in a room with pool tables; and the deck. This give a bit of a dis-jointed feel to the bar as everything is broken up into small rooms and there really isn't a definite style. No real flow. Also, it seemed a bit run down to me.
While there may be alot of places with better atmosphere, there certainly isn't a better place to experience the selection or quality of beer. You do have to pay a bit to get some of their offerings, but when you can't get it anywhere else, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. A vast selection of bottles from around the world of varying styles and countries. This is highlighted by their "Around the world in 80 beers" club. Drink one of each of 80 different beers (from around the world obviously) within the time span of one year and you get a special prize (fleece vest this year) and your name on a plaque.
Now, if all you want is a great variety of good beers... this ends the review.
However, if you want good service... well... you're getting a mixed bag at Bottlescrew's. Our server was friendly, but lacked basic bar knowledge (let alone fine beer knowledge) and was forgetful and inattentive. I asked for a glass with my first beer when I recieved the bottle (I had assumed a place like this would automatically offer a glass with a bottle) and had to wait for 15 minutes before the waitress appeared again (without a glass) to ask for a glass again. They were offering a new beer on tap and when I went to ask her about it she had no idea what kind of beer it was (or even what it was called!) She went to the bar and returned saying that it was called Erdinger Weiss, but still couldn't describe the style. Well... enough about her. We did talk to another waitress that indeed did know her stuff and gave good insight to some of the beers. Why couldn't we have gotten her as a server instead? Be prepared for either end of the serving spectrum.
The food is little more than basic pub grub. I was the only one out of the five of us that felt the menu item I ordered was well prepared, tasty and/or large enough. You would think that being attached to a restaurant that they could offer a better menu.
Bottlescrew Bill's is definitely worth visiting while in Calgary, but I would advise that you should have supper somewhere else first, then hit the pub. Then be prepared for your server to be anywhere from excellent to "atleast she tried hard".
08-24-2005 03:54:48 | More by Noxious26
3.83/5 rDev -3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
There is two parts to Bottlescrew Bill's, one side is the restaurant and the other side is the bar. One night we tried the restaurant and it had some wonderful food. I had the buffalo and my wife had the steak, and both were very well prepared and plated. The food is "cowboy cuisine" but I was expecting enameled tin cups and plates. They were plated like 5 star meals but at 1/4 of the cost. They have a large selection of beer from around the world, mostly lagers from the popular importers, and the local selection is nice. This is the only place you can get the Buzzard's breath ale now brewed by Ally Kat brewery. We had a good meal and nice drinks that night.
Another night I stopped in the bar and had a local barleywine. I was shocked to get a brandy snifter with my beer and I didn't even have to ask. They have the typical sports on the TV and Big Rock drinking crowd but it was very nice to see good interest in trying new beers. They even had beers around the world sampling that weekend, but my plane left a day to early. If every in Calgary this is a good place to stop by for a few rounds.
03-14-2005 03:22:45 | More by rhoadsrage
3.98/5 rDev +0.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
I visited here about a year ago, and have not had the opportunity to return, yet. I will, though. I was pleasantly surprised with the atmosphere of Bottlescrew Bill's. Some old English-style booths, darkened lighting, and an older clientele base there simply to enjoy the beer, not to become intoxicated. Cosy, conversation-inducing, though there was a large tv near the bar. What this place could use is some knowledgable beer servers. I ordered an Alba Pine Ale from Scotland, and they brought it to me freezing cold, when, clearly stated on the bottle itself, it should be room temperature. I am not normally one to complain at a restaurant. Indeed, I usually hate picky restaurant goers, but when it comes to a beer, at a pub that specialises IN beer, I had to ask for a warmer version. The waitress who served us was somewhat of a typical bar-girl, Molson drinking girl; but I cannot complain, she was friendly and helpful, though a little lacking in the finer aspects of beer appreciation("I've heard it's gross," she said as she set down the Pine Ale.) Oh well.
The selection, obviously is exceptional. There are other pubs in Calgary with a bigger draught selection, but when it comes to sheer variety in bottles, Bottlescrew's has all them beat. Yes, occasionally they may be out of one beer or another, but how many other pubs in Calgary can you go to that even know what Artvelde Trippel or Chimay Blue IS, let alone have it available on their menu? Yes, selection is the reason to take your beer-loving friends here. Most of the beers are generally available throughout many Calgary liquor stores, but if you are planning on going out to eat anyway, why not attend an establishment with over 150 beers? They also have their own beer brewed exclusively for them and their neighbouring restaurant, called Buzzard Breath Ale. A very decent ale by all rights. The food was quite good as well. I will be returning soon.
12-11-2004 09:04:35 | More by Cwrw
4.28/5 rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4
Just realized I hadn't reviewed this place yet, even though I'd put it in the database over half a year ago. A travesty, really, because this truly is THE premier beer bar in Calgary, and pretty much all of Alberta. It's in an unasuming enough locale, across the train tracks and under the overpass from the swanky Palliser hotel in downtown Calgary, and tucked in behind Buzzard's, the restaurant that it is connected to and a part of. However once sought out and found, it is like beer Nirvana, especially for the uninitiated.
Let's not beat around the bush, the beer menu is massive, ranging around 150 offerings, perhaps even more, I've never bothered to count (please check the website link for exact details). The menu is broken down into domestic mircos by region (along with the occassional mention of their macro cousins where applicable), and all imports--which make up the majority of the list--are categorized by country. Bottlescrew Bill's strength doesn't lie in their draught selection (they carry some local micros, and the usual Canadian macros and imports), but in their bottle inventory.
The local pub best known for putting on a couple of beer festivals a year, they are also best known for their "Around The World In 80 Beers". This is where a swarthy individual applies to participate, recieves their very own Bottlescrew Bills beer passport, and is inclined to sample the 80 beers the pub has chosen on a particular list that represents beers from every region that they have in stock. One then records each beer in this passport, along with notes on the beer's profile. The catch is there is a one year time limit (boosted up from a frantic 3 month time limit from year's gone by) in which to do so. The lucky traveller upon completion receives some schwag from the pub, as well as their name engraved upon a plaque showing the world that they too had managed to go around the world in 80 beers within the time limit. I'm currently participating and have about 37 more to go in order to bask in the glory.
The pub itself is cozy enough, the bar room itself offers comfy little booths as well as tall tables spread about in the open space between the booths and the bar. There are two more rooms, one containing a pool table and a fireplace, both with ample seating.
Service has always been good in my experience, but knowledge of the beers seems to be hit and miss with some of the new waitstaff I've encountered. However the veteran staff there know their stuff inside and out. Food has also been good quality, my favorite is the bison burger, the food menu has a more "Western" flavour and motif to it. Hell, this is Cowtown after all.
For draught selection I still recommend the Ship and Anchor as the best spot in Calgary to go, but for overall beer selection, and an establishment that goes out of its way to promote an exceptional beer experience, Bottlescrew Bills is a landmark in that regard. My only complaint is that out of their vast selection, there is nothing they offer that I can't find on my own if I hunt enough around the beer stores in this city, no rare finds to draw me in. Still, I'd rather sample something here if I'm iffy about it rather than buy a 6 of it. All in all, the beer mecca of Alberta in my opinion.
02-27-2004 05:06:59 | More by IronDjinn
Bottlescrew Bill's Old English Pub in Calgary, AB, Canada
89 out of 100 based on 14 ratings.