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The Best Pubs in Banff

The Best Pubs in Banff

Banff is known for its thrilling ski slopes and stunning national parks. But both of those activities are best enjoyed during the day. If you’re looking for the coolest things to do in town at night, popping by some of the best pubs in Banff definitely tops the list.

Considering the relatively small size of the town of Banff, there are a surprising number of pubs for you to visit. Some claim to have the tastiest pub food, others are known for their fantastic array of drinks, and a few boast the best entertainment. Regardless of what you’re looking for, this guide has all of the best pubs in Banff for you to visit.

1. Rose & Crown

No list of the best pubs in Banff would be complete without Rose & Crown. Opened in 1985, it is the oldest pub in Banff!

Throughout its decades of service, this particular pub has learned to cater to everyone. If you’re looking for a classier time, you can stick to the front of Rose & Crown. While there, you can enjoy the beer or wine of your choice, along with a delicious meal. Try the crispy buffalo chicken burger, the cascade burger, or the Rose & Crown’s world famous fish and chips.

But if you’re looking for a fun night of drinks and games, head to the back of Rose & Crown instead. The back of the bar is filled with fantastic live music performers. And when they’re not in the house, you can always play your favorite tunes on the jukebox. As you jam out, you can sip on a couple of beers and play a few fun games of pool.

2. Banff Ave. Brewing Co.

Banff Ave. Brewing Co. is one of the most hyped up pubs in Banff. Yet somehow, it lives up to its reputation, making it worthy of a spot on this list of the best pubs in Banff.

Most of the hype around Banff Ave. Brewing Co. is from its fantastic beer selection. First of all, Banff Ave. Brewing Co. has its own selection of awesome beers, which includes the popular blonde ale, the creamy Mt. Rundle stout, and the malty black pil.

While these brews are certainly the most popular ones served up at Banff Ave. Brewing Co., they are not the only ones. Rather, this company is happy to showcase the many other talented breweries in the area. Enjoy the fifty shades of earl grey, the wild warden raspberry rhubarb sour, or the hazy daze pale ale. If there are just too many options to choose from, you can also get a beer flight, which will allow you to sample six awesome beers.

But no trip to Banff Ave. Brewing Co. would be complete without a bite of food! After all, pub food is half the enjoyment of pubs! Munch on the warm buttered soft pretzels, get a little fancy with smoked mozzarella arancini, and finish off with a deep fried mars bar.

3. Tommy’s Neighbourhood Pub

Next door to Banff Avenue Brewing Co. is Tommy’s Neighbourhood Pub. Tommy’s is a classic pub through and through. Once you step through the door, you’ll be greeted by the sight of casual decor, the smell of delicious fried foods, and the feel of a fun atmosphere. You’ll immediately want to make this pub your home in Banff for the night.

After you snag your spot on a wooden stool, the first thing you’ll want to do at Tommy’s is grab a drink. Luckily for you, there are dozens of beers on tap for you to pick from ​​– and they’re all quite affordably priced.

Then, it’s time for the entertainment. If you happen to be visiting on the weekend, there’s likely a local artist playing some fantastic live music. You can sway to the beat or even sing along! And if you’re looking for a more interactive activity, you can play a competitive game of darts.

At some point during your time at Tommy’s Neighbourhood Pub, you’re bound to get a little peckish. After all, all of the singing and dart-playing uses quite a bit of energy! Order the pub platter, the Canadian burger, or the pulled pork sandwich.

4. Elk and Oarsman

Across the street from Tommy’s Neighbourhood Pub lies Elk and Oarsman. As a matter of fact, all four of the pubs in Banff so far on this list are right next to each other! If you like, you can easily go pub-hopping and visit them all!

If you decide to go on a pub-hopping adventure, you won’t regret adding Elk and Oarsman to your itinerary. The first thing you’ll realize when you enter this pub is the amazing aesthetic. With a stone fireplace, warm wood tables, and beautiful mountain views, it feels like a cozy ski lodge! And if you’d like to enjoy a bit of fresh air, you can make your way up to the lovely rooftop patio. 

While the interior design of Elk and Oarsman is certainly a major perk, that’s not the only thing that this establishment has to offer. There’s also food, drinks, and entertainment. You can have the perfect night out, eating crispy chicken poutine, drinking a fantastic elk lager, and watching the latest hockey game.

5. St. James’ Gate Olde Irish Pub

St. James’ Gate Olde Irish Pub, simply called St. James’ Gate, looks like it was plucked right out of Ireland and brought to Canada ​​– and that’s not entirely inaccurate. As a matter of fact, much of St. James’ Gate, including the woodwork and the artifacts, was actually manufactured in Dublin! In other words, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more authentic Irish pub in all of Canada.

As you can imagine, the drinks and food at St. James’ Gate stay in line with this authentic Irish feel. Order kilkenny cream ale, harp lager, or Guinness, which have all been imported from Ireland. Or if you’d like to stick with a local beer from Canada, the Big Bear Brewing honey lager, the Banded Peak Mt. Crushmore pilsner, and the Original 16 copper ale will not disappoint.

Regardless of which drink you choose, you can pair it with a dish from across the pond. There’s steak & Guinness pie, bangers & mash, fish & chips, and liver & onions. But if you’d prefer to stick to comforting classics, the gate burger, the chicken burger, and the caprese sandwich are also on the menu.

To finish off your time at St. James’ Gate, you’ll definitely want to order one of the two tasty desserts. Will you opt for the deep fried mars bar with vanilla ice cream or the old fashioned poached pear with Irish whiskey honey syrup?

6. High Rollers

High Rollers is undoubtedly one of the best pubs in Banff. With its top-notch drinks and exciting bowling lanes, it’s an incredible place for a night out.

The most popular thing to do at High Rollers is play a few games of bowling. And as you try to hit the pins, you can also get a few drinks in your system. If you’re hoping for a beer, there are dozens of options to choose from, including the pinery pilsner, the babe blueberry vanilla ale, and the sunshine rain IPA. But if beer isn’t your drink of choice, there’s also a selection of wonderful cocktails.

If you want to take a break from bowling, High Rollers has a couple of other games as well. You can test your pool, foosball, and basketball skills. Simply put, you’ll never get bored at High Rollers.

Last but certainly not least, a night at High Rollers would not be complete without one of their mouthwatering brick-oven pizzas. Opt for the double double pizza, the godfather pizza, or the big bird pizza.

7. Park Distillery Restaurant & Bar

One of the downsides of pubs is that they often serve up the same types of simple, greasy foods. And while those are great once in a while, it’s not something you want to have every day. If you want high-quality food and awesome drinks in Banff, look no further than Park Distillery Restaurant & Bar.

Since this is an article on the best pubs in Banff, we’ll start off by talking about the drinks. Park Distillery Restaurant & Bar actually distills its own spirits on site! In other words, you simply have to try them.

A few crowd-favorite drinks that use Park Distillery products include the sawback with Park chili vodka, the nitro shaft on draft with Park espresso vodka, and the cascade with Park alpine dry gin. If you really love their spirits, you can even take a tour of Park Distillery!

But the most popular part of Park Distillery Restaurant & Bar may be the food. The prime rib, the rotisserie chicken s’witch, and the bison burger are a few of the best plates. As an added bonus, there’s an entire plant-based menu as well!

And there you have it! A list of the best pubs in Banff! Are there any others that you think should have made it onto this list? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re planning your Banff itinerary, be sure to check out our guide to all the best photo spots in Banff too!