St James Gate Olde Irish Pub

Your Rating: None
Very Good
6 Ratings

Type: Bar, Eatery

207 Wolf St
PO Box 2498 Stn Main
Banff, Alberta, T1L 1C2

(403) 762-9355 | map

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Added by Cwrw

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6 |  Reviews: 5
Reviews by Cwrw:
Photo of Cwrw
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

For me, a stay in Banff feels somewhat incomplete if I do not make a stop at St James' Gate pub. I immediately was taken with the atmosphere of the place: it almost compared to some actual British/Irish pubs I had been to in the UK. Purportedly the bar itself is a 100+ year old piece brought directly from a pub in Ireland. A rather low level of lighting, dark wood everywhere, private booths, the walls adorned with old pictures of pubs, glass windows with advertisements for all sorts of early 20th century British products, and a clientele base there simply to enjoy a few pints without getting too loud. Also, you are likely to find Australians, Brits, Japanese and Chinese, Germans, and a mass of other nationalities, come to visit the Alberta Rockies. This makes it easy to start up a warm conversation. Most weekends there will be a musical group playing around 7 to 12 or so. When we went last it was a Calgary funk band named "Urban Divide." Celtic music is also played here quite regularly. The quality of the place and the beer is excellent. The waitresses are attendant and friendly, and every time I have gone, it has always been a waitress; I am not sure if there are any waiters, only behind the bar. They are quick to notice your empty glass and quick to bring your refill. The selection is very good, with 30 to 40 draught beers, including Arctic Red from the Yukon, and 3 or 4 Wild Rose brews, and extensive import craft beers. Most definitely the largest on-tap selection anywhere in the Banff National Park. They also do their best to serve a beer in its proper glass, though usually this means a pint glass. The food is not exactly traditional pub food all round, although they do specialise in some form of Irish potato dish. I have never had a bad meal, or appetizer here, and several of the appetizers, like the green beans in some sort of hot sauce, were extraordinary. Definitely above-average pub food. This makes a perfect place to stop when you have been walking through Banff all day, and it is located in the centre of town; ideal, if you are staying the night. This is the perfect place to end your day in or around Banff, if you have been boarding or skiing, or simply visiting the city.

 2,221 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of Mlkluther
3.81/5  rDev -4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

I loved this place.

The beer selection is solid - but fairly heavy on the major distribution beers. If you're looking for an IPA or something hoppy you're basically out of luck.

I had the liver and onions. Awesome.
My wife had the prime rib sandwich and she really enjoyed it.

The service was adequate - but it was good we were not in a hurry.

It was , overall, a very enjoyable experience one afternoon in Banff. I'd definitely go back again.

 452 characters

Photo of Bunman3
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.25

Before Banff Avenue Brewing opened, this was a standard stop when we visited Banff. It is still in the regular rotation, but we don't necessarily go out of our way to visit. The atmosphere is great - it's usually busy, and akin to most Irish pubs you find here on this side of the ocean. They have a quality selection of beer, including several nice craft taps from Alberta and B.C. The highlight of St. James is the quality of the food. The menu "pub grub plus" - lots of pies, stews, and particularly delicious boxtys. St. James Gate is family friendly and has been going strong for about 20 years. It's a Banff institution and well worth a visit.

 649 characters

Photo of Alex-Boston
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of IronDjinn
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

In the beginning for me a stop off in Banff was always topped off by a pint at the second storey Rose & Crown, down the street from this establishment. These days however, if I'm craving a pint after a hike, or during a jaunt out to Banff, the St. Jame's Gate is my regular stop, and where I steer most people to when asked, especially the small horde of visiting relatives of my local British friends.

The atmosphere is a similar layout to most higher end Irish-type pubs owned by the same people in Calgary, and in Edmonton as well I'd suspect. Wood finish, lots of different sections which breaks up the establishment into different parts, but keeps it feeling like a large space in the end. The huge bar in the centre also contributes to maintaining a nexus to the whole lay-out, a long row of identical taps along the east and west sides of it to cater to a full house with ease. The best draught selection to be found in Banff, that's for sure. They also take pride in their selection of whiskey's as well.

The beer selection is average for the province, yet great for a pub in a National Park, and typical for the type of establishment and what you'll find at a place with the same owners anywhere's else. The usual British Isle's imports, a few Continental European imports, and some regional micros's as well, along the lines of Big Rock, Wild Rose, Sleeman, and the rare Yukon Brewing's Arctic Red Ale tap in Alberta. That's what I usually get, or a Kronnenberg from France if I'm feeling like a lager.

The quality of the food is well above average for pub fare, I've enjoyed everything I've sampled there for the past 7-8 years or so, and also taking into consideration the transient nature of employees within Banff National Park. The service and knowledge of beer, on the other hand, is hit and miss due to the same circumstances. Servers come and go at a more accelerated rate within Banff, and I've found on many occassions that knowledge of their bar stock, let alone professional courtesy and service, runs the spectrum at times. Depending on where you sit it may take quite a while before you get noticed and attended to, so try to stay out in the open and in plain sight (wink wink). Actually that's my game plan for any pub laid out like this.

If you find yourself in Banff for whatever reason and are craving a pint, this is the place to end up at.

 2,381 characters

Photo of banker
4.13/5  rDev +4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I was here on two weeknights in late May. Spacious dark wood pub in downtown Banff with a laid back atmosphere and good beer selection. 30+ on tap, mix of standard Canadian beers plus some British & Irish stuff along with a few micros (like Wild Rose). Lighting was kept pretty low with Celtic style music playing at reasonable level that still allowed conversation. A few TVs scattered about around the bar. Ate at the bar one of the nights. The service was attentive and the food was rather tasty (some Irish potato dish). Definitely my favorite place to kick back with a pint in Banff.

 588 characters

St James Gate Olde Irish Pub in Banff, AB, Canada
Place rating: 3.97 out of 5 with 6 ratings
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