The Unicorn

Your Rating: None
Very Good
8 Ratings

Type: Bar, Eatery

304 8 Ave SW
Calgary, Alberta, T2P 1C2

(403) 234-8816 | map

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Added by IronDjinn

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Ratings: 8 |  Reviews: 7
Photo of schnarr84
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of CrazyMike
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

Located on Stephan Ave behind conveniently near a C-Train.

Basement pub with lots of tables and TV's and a private area for parties. Not a high end bar by any stretch, but it's great to go after work to watch sports, as Flames Central is usually packed or has private parties. Staff is friendly and they come around often to get orders/refills.

Beer selection is average, they have a good selection of Big Rock and Wildrose though. House beer isn't to bad either. The menu is mainly pub food, but they have a huge selection of Wings (over 30 flavors).

Overall, it's a great pub for convenience. Not a huge selection of beers or anything, but worth a try if you work or live downtown.

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Photo of Duckmancgy
4.13/5  rDev +9.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Always decent place to drop by. I enjoy headin in with a group after work. They have a good selection on tap and a nice selection in bottles. Wings are hot.. I would warn against anyone trying to show how manly they are, as friends have ended up in the street emptying their stomachs after the wings not the beer.
Nachos are good, with good beer you can't go wrong. Their "house" beer isn't too bad they have a nice amber ale that goes down smooth (almost too smooth). Overall a nice place to hang out with friends and have a cold brew.

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Photo of presario
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Interesting place with an interesting history. Claim to have Calgary's hottest wings. In addition to the hot wings on the menu they have three "hidden" levels of spice. The hottest of which may require you to sign a waiver. Good selection of beer. Willing to add new taps. Downstairs on eight avenue. Once owned by the Irish Rovers. After it was sold the name changed. The most recent owner has restored the historical name. Lots of private little rooms. Lots of sound options, TV and soccer/EU football.

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Photo of Xadoor
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4

I met my sister her for lunch while in Calgary on business (I used to live in Calgary) and discovered that they had free WiFi access and wrote this review while in the bar (I know, huge geek!).

Great pub downstairs of an old building in downtown Calgary. Its only a block away from the C-train and located on the the pedestrian mall, so it has easy acces for lunch and drinks after work. I've heard stories that the bar used to be owned by the Irish Rovers (have to be Canadian to know who they are) but I don't know if thats true.

Beer selection is pretty much the usual for a Calagary pub with nonthing out of the usual except for the Twisted Horn Cream Ale, the house beer.

Food is pretty good with a few unique dishes on the menu.

The wait staff are all friendly and come around often to check if you need anything.

Overall, this is probably a place that I'd come back to often if I still lived in Calgary.

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Photo of BigBry
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

Located just a couple of blocks from where I work downtown, this is a favorite for Friday Happy Hour. Easy to get to, close to the C-Train, but limited parking because it is right on Stephen Ave.
It is downstairs in a dark but cozy traditional feeling pub. Lots of tables around the perimeter or sit at the bar. Lots of TVs if you want to watch sports (including big projection screen - located on the stage area where live bands set up), but still enough hidden corner booths if you want a quiet spot.
Staff (waitresses and bartender) has always been happy and friendly, and quick to offer a re-fill.
Good selection of draft, but nothing really exotic - Molson, Labatt, Stella, Keith's, 1516, Big Rock, etc. Personal favorite is the Twisted Horn Cream Ale, brewed specially for the pub by Alley Kat in Edmonton.
Good pub-type food, with lots of choices. I usually stick with the appetizers, but full meal options look good as well. The traditional fish and chips wrapped in newsprint was excellent last time I was there (not sure if it is still on the menu).
Prices are reasonable considering it is right downtown, especially if you catch a Happy Hour special.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.28/5  rDev -13%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3

The Unicorn boasts the claim to fame as being Calgary’s first bar and it is in the basement of the main strip in downtown Calgary. As you walk down the stairs you get the feel of a cozy little pub that is dark with sports on the TV and the local meeting place for going out. It has a nice pub grub menu that as a few trendy dishes and a good row of taps. Nothing really uncommon but it is the only pace to get a pint of twisted horn their own cream ale with more hops that you would expect in a cream ale. It is a nice place in that it is central to downtown and has Wi-Fi so you can work and have a few pints aswell.

It's a nice place to pop in for a pint while on a shopping trip or on your way to another event but not a place to make a night out of.

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Photo of IronDjinn
4.14/5  rDev +9.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

This used to be one of my old haunts back when I first moved to Calgary and was in college. My main mode of transportation was riding the C-train then, and The Unicorn was conveniently a couple blocks away from my stop downtown for my long walk home or connecting train (I moved places a lot back then). So number one I should point out that it is easily accesible by public transportation, which is good, because parking in downtown Calgary sucks these days, hence why I have avoided the pubs downtown for so long after I got a set of wheels. Yet for anyone visiting Cowtown on business and staying at a hotel downtown, it is an ideal location for walking distance and access.

The place had gone through a fair amount of renovations since I had last been there, meeting an old friend from college I hadn't seen in a while (rooba, rooba!). It was actually in this establishment the last time that we had been there that he had managed to get me a couple of glassblowing commissions--ahhh, at a time where I actually made money off my artwork.

Enough reminiscing though. The Unicorn is found on the Stephen's Avenue strip in downtwon Calgary, a block or two away from the C-train stops (depending on which direction you're coming from), and a block away from reasonably priced city parking (as opposed to the gouging private ones) off of 9th Ave SW. Big new orange sign outside proclaiming The Unicorn Pub, and then claiming "Calgary's Original Pub" as well.

The Pub is underground, down a wide stairway to the taproom, where you have options of sitting at the wood, finding a small private nook, sitting on the couch a half level down in front of a giant widescreen tv, or finding a comfotable table in their posher dining area. Choices, choices. The environment is spread out, has a wide open feel to it, yet is cozy. The latter would probably stem from the low ceiling, nothing like a low ceiling to give you a cozy feeling.

The staff was cheerful and friendly, and gave you the sense of being treated with familiarity and hospitality right from the get go, that home away from home feeling. I was impressed. However it probably helped that my friend was a regular there as well. Yet watching the waitress and bartender in action, they seemed to treat everyone that was as well.

I'll have to verify it the next time I go back, but I think I counted 17 taps at the bar. They had a fairly wide variety, although not extensive, more like a tap for most of the regional micros, and teh token imports. Grasshopper and Trad from Big Rock, Full Moon Pale Ale from Alley Kat (always highly recommended by me), the 1516 lager from Okanagan Springs, Keith's and then it becomes a blur. Guinness and Stella were the only imports I remember. Fear not, I'll update on my next trip.

We had pitchers of the house brew, the Twisted Horn Cream Ale. It falls short in the cream ale category, but makes a fine pale ale and a great session beer. Once I find out who brews it I'll add it to the database.

Didn't order any food this time around, it was a lazy Saturday afternoon catching up, but I recall the food being quite fine in the past. That's no guage for what it might be these days, after the renos and change in management, but I'll definitely check it out next time. Oh yes, there will be many next times, granted that I can find a parking spot. Therefore I only put an average rating to be fair until I can update it.

As a side note they also have wireless internet access for all of you hauling laptops around with the need to sit down for a pint and do some internet buisiness. This has to be the first pub in Calgary that I've ever heard of offering this service.

As far as pubs in the heart of downtown Calgary are concerned, the Unicorn was, and now once again is my favorite stop, and easy access for those strolling along the Stephen's Avenue mall after work or on a lazy weekend stroll. Check it out.

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The Unicorn in Calgary, AB, Canada
Place rating: 3.77 out of 5 with 8 ratings