By Keili Bartlett
You probably grew up hearing, “Don’t play with your food!” But in the Canadian Rockies, we recommend it! Satisfy your appetite for food served with a side of fun at these hot spots.
Let the Good Times Roll
Swap your ski boots for bowling shoes at High Rollers. Once the site of Aurora nightclub, co-manager Mai Yamagishi says: “It’s a completely different vibe. We’re family-friendly, but after 10 pm we have a DJ and nighttime crowd.”
High Rollers has daily food and drink deals and a constant flow of free popcorn. The perfect piece of pizza hits the spot while you hit the pins. “Try the Canadian pizza,” suggests Yamagishi. “Drizzle maple syrup on top; it’s lovely.” Pair your pizza with beer; there are 48 varieties on tap.
When in the West
Find fun at Banff’s saloon, live music venue and smokehouse. Wild Bill’s Legendary Saloon is the place to be Tuesday nights for karaoke and mechanical bull rides. Half the delight is watching others try to hold on!
After building your appetite, delve into a Cow Puncher’s Platter with ribs, brisket and sausage. Cocktails bring a taste of the south to the north, while Wild Bill’s all-Canadian Caesar is served with a strip of bacon.
Bands play often and DJs take to the stage Sunday nights. Two-step routines are honed to perfection at country performances.
Place Your Bets
Saddle up and ride to Sidelines Lounge; then put your money where your mouth is. The bar at Stoney Nakoda Casino has 12 big screens that stream live horse races from around the world. “It’s just like being at a track,” says events manager Chris Grimes. “You can bet on multiple races at the same time.”
With your wins (or remaining cash) invest in nightly food and drink specials every night; 35¢ wings on Wednesdays are the most popular. Or, continue to try your luck on the video lottery terminals. A 100-inch projection screen that shows live sports means you don’t have to leave your seat (or your wings) to get the score.
While the Sidelines Lounge is a smoker-friendly venue for ages 18+, the resort’s Ridge Buffet is non-smoking, open to all ages, and popular for Friday and Saturday rib and lobster buffets. The casino floor features 250 slot machines and classic games such as blackjack, roulette and poker.
Wet Your Whistle
Live like a local at the Whistle Stop Pub in Jasper. “It’s a great hangout with a laidback vibe,” says the bar’s Jeff Smith.
At The Stop you don’t have to blow the budget. Find $4.75 pints and $7 cheeseburgers anytime, free pool on Tuesdays and daily happy hours 4:30 to 7 pm. Catch the game on nine big TVs. Add live acoustic jams Saturdays from 3:30 pm to 6 pm, and it’s no wonder this is amongst Jasper’s favourite watering holes.
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