Bottlescrew Bill's Old English Pub
Taps: 26 / Bottles: 300
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 13 | Reviews: 13
4.28/5 rDev +8.6%
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
4.28/5 rDev +8.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$$
This place is behind my work so find myself hear occasionally.
Has a bar, a room with coaches and two other rooms for private parties as well as a heated patio. Pretty sick sitting outside with a t-shirt when it's -20 C outside.
The beer menu is massive, 80 beers from around the world categorized by country. Ideal for someone who reviews beers on BA, although some beers can be pricey. Their
Servers usually come around often and are friendly, sometimes when it's busy I find myself going to the bar for drinks though. Their house beer is pretty good to. Haven't tried the food yet.
A must try for beer reviewers.
01-02-2011 04:29:27 | More by CrazyMike
4.13/5 rDev +4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
A favourite to visit if you are ever downtown Calgary.
I like to sit at the back part of the place. Pool table and big screen, lots of brewery signs, posters and memorabilia. The best is the shelf running around the entire room, stacked high with bottles and cans of all kinds of beer. I am constantly catching myself staring up looking at all the containers. Past and present, foreign and domestic, I've tasted that, that one looks neat, cool old stubby bottle..., you get the idea.
For Calgary, the best selectioin of bottled beers from around the world (see "Around the world in 80 beers" club). Always a good selection on tap as well.
Bottlescrew's does it's part for the beer world too. They host a yearly Beerfest Tasting and also hosted our Beer Can Collector's Meeting.
Decent service, attentive, fairly knowledgable.
Pub-type food, nothing spectacular, but very good.
Advertise 150 beer selections, have 10-12 taps with good variety including their house brand Buzzard's Breath. Usually have a featured Beer of the Week.
09-10-2005 19:30:44 | More by BigBry
4.03/5 rDev +2.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
dec28 2009 I went there with my girlfriend who's not a BA at all but she found a few beers she liked(aprikat and pump house blueberry) so I was happy she was happy. It was very dark with a few tables of drunk collage kids who were pretty easy to ignore. Huge beer menu (for Calgary) had a Yukon Midnight sun served ice cold, good beer after it warmed up, a Tree hop head on tap and a small bottle of La Fin Du Monde. I will admit I was very pleased with the beer menu and could have drank all day happily. My only compliant was all the wasted taps with macro's but that's the way it is in these parts. I enjoyed my dry ribs appy and my fish n chips was good but small in size and my lady had some bison ravioli that was OK but overpriced. Our server did quite well until her friends arrived distracting her with mindless babble, no lost points with service because the owner came to our table with some free drink tickets. I will return here for some brews again and that says it all.
12-29-2009 02:43:39 | More by wordemupg
3.98/5 rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
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
3.98/5 rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | $$$
Had a visit to this establishment while I was in Calgary for the beerfest.
I quite like the atmosphere of this bar. The crowd wasn't too young, yet not too old either. There is a nice looking area with couches and then the rest was wooden tables and chairs. It was quiet enough to talk, and the music was all decent. Overall the place had a good feel to it.
The decor was nothing special in this bar. Around where I was sitting they had all the plaques for their around the world in 80 beers clubs. Mostly wooden furniture that I saw as well. Nothing overly eye catching.
Service was alright. I can't say I was impressed nor unimpressed. It was Saturday night and the place was relatively busy as well so service wasn't expected to be amazing.
This bar had the best selection or beer I've seen at a bar in a while. Comparable to the globe in Edmonton. I was happy to see a lot of Canadian stuff coast to coast as well as a few of my favorite Belgian, German, and English Imports. Very impressive.
Although the beer I drank wasn't expensive, I did see some high prices on some imports and premiums. Some of the prices could be lowered.
All in all I had a good experience at Bottlescrew Bill's. I will probably visit it again when I go back to Calgary.
05-15-2006 06:13:17 | More by Orrshow
3.98/5 rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
When i first discovered this place, i thought it was amazing. It is true, it's a decent place to get a beer, however, I'm now finding their beer selection, as big as it is, lacking in overall quality. I found it pretty fun to go in and try a new beer every time. It's a good starting block for people who wish to experience new beer. You can join their "around the world in 80 beers" which awards you with stuff as you go, like a free appetizer after you've completed so many of the beer on the passport. Once a year they hold their own beerfest which is cramped but great. It's a far better value than the beerfest held at the roundup center. You can have a good time and try a lot of beer with just the initial beer tickets you get with your admission of $25 at the door. Obviously it's a lot smaller, but also a lot more fun. The food is also very tasty.
04-12-2009 04:26:28 | More by BiologySean
3.98/5 rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
Upcoming place with 20 something taps, nearly half with craft. They claim 350 bottles, and at least a dozen I haven't tried though only a handful I would. Very nice, clean, with two patios, a small-medium bar, great staff and I am told above average food. Music was not too too loud so that the four of us could talk comfortably, wifi, and everyone happy. In busy area, though we lucked out with parking space a few yards away (warning: parking tickets are the highest in Canada). One of the hot spots designated to get Big Rock one-offs on tap. No cask, but that's typical for Alberta.
05-13-2011 13:20:02 | More by Sammy
New Brunswick (Canada)
3.93/5 rDev -0.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Went here twice last week while visiting the city, once on a Tuesday night and again on Friday afternoon, so it wasn't too busy either time.
I liked the atmosphere... we sat in the smaller room out front where the bar was... nice wooden tables, a few booths, and a fairly large bar with a pretty good selection of taps. They shine on their bottle selection, as the name would indicate... lots of locals beers, and a really good selection of beers from BC, Unibroue, and Dieu du Ciel! They have a 'Beers of the World' menu, but aside from some good Belgians, most of these beers are easily ignored.
Service was spotty... first time we were there out server was very friendly; next time, however, the server we had was a little rude and stand-offish.
Worth stopping by for a few beers, for sure, especially if you enjoy a really good Canadian selection of craft beers.
09-29-2010 03:12:56 | More by berley31
3.83/5 rDev -2.8%
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
Bottlescrew Bill's Old English Pub in Calgary, AB, Canada
89 out of 100 based on 13 ratings.