Banff is an awesome place to party. The crowd is exciting and you meet people from all over the world. Here’s our guide to the best night out in Banff!
Explore Banff’s Nightlife
To set the scene, the bars are all relatively close to each other in Banff, so you really don’t need to limit yourself to one place (unless it’s -25C). You can essentially barhop whenever you feel like it’s time to move on, and it’s never more than a two minute walk.
There’s always an after party somewhere. And of course, the poutine you can get after the bar is amazing (check out Aardvark’s, just do it, or Banff Poutine).
Compared to bigger towns and cities, there aren’t a huge number of places to choose from….so we like to bar hop and keep things interesting by visiting a few places in one night!
Getting your night started (aka the best places to start your night out)
Tommy’s Neighbourhood Pub
This place is a local favourite and it’s pretty much always bustling, so go a bit earlier if you have a big group and want a table together. It’s located right underneath /next to Dancing Sasquatch Nightclub so it’s an excellent option if you’re planning on having a big night out. If you’re there for dinner, try out their steak sandwich special!
Melissa’s Missteak or “Mel’s” is one of the most popular places to start a night out. It has a pub vibe, with a big dance floor that often has great live music. Mel’s is the the go-to for cheap drinks, darts and the biggest brownie sundae you’ve ever seen! You’ll find plenty of locals here and it’s always a good time.
Eddie Burger Bar
I’ll be honest, this place is tiny and usually not the most exciting place to start your night but it’s been known to throw a rager every now and then. Make sure you stop in and grab one of their signature cocktails on the way to your destination! I highly recommend trying the famous Trash Can. My second choice would have to be the Ice Water (yes, there’s alcohol in it).
It’s also one of the few places in Banff that serves late night food. For the most part, restaurants in Banff tend to close their kitchens early, but Eddie Burger keeps serving a limited menu until 1am on weeknights and 2am on weekends.
Añejo is our new favourite place to start the night out. Why? Because it’s the best happy hour in Banff, bar none! From 3-5pm and 9pm-1am every day, all tequila is half price (even the top shelf bottles), all margaritas are half price, and some beers. Tacos are also half price!
In reality that means tacos are about $3 each and margaritas are about $6. They’re delicious and pretty much the cheapest meal in town. Great before OR after the bar (because it’s open until 1am).
Añejo can get pretty busy, especially as it’s one of the newest spots in town, but believe me, it’s one of the best restaurants and atmospheres to get the party started in Banff.
While I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to get food at Hello Sunshine (although it’s not terrible, just expensive), the really reason we start our night here are the karaoke rooms! Yes, you heard that correctly, there is karaoke in Banff.
No, it’s not that awkward kind of karaoke that forces you to stand on stage in front of a bunch of strangers. It’s the good kind, where you rent a private room for you and your friends. Great drinks and service, and you can even order food to the rooms as well.
My only complaint is that the rooms typically have only one microphone. In peak season, you might have to rent the room and pay a minimum charge of several hundred dollars. In winter, however, renting the room is free but you’ll have to book a time slot in advance. Reservations are recommended.
Also, if you’re going to order sake bombs, avoid the speciality one with sticky chocolate sauce. You will get it everywhere.
The Beaver Bar
This one is a bit of a hidden gem, and won’t be everyone’s scene, but if you’re on a budget and want a cheap pint then the Beaver Bar in Banff is the place to go. It’s part of the Samesun Hostel on Banff Avenue, and offers incredible daily happy hour deals. Last time I checked, pints were on special for $4, and a burger and a pint was $13.50. Banff’s best kept secret.
It’s generally a young crowd, because hostels are where younger travellers tend to hang out. But it’s a good vibe. It’s a small space though, and pretty much standing room only.
St. James Gate Pub
This is about as close as you can get to an Irish pub in Banff. Definitely feels like you’ve stepped back to Europe, with Guinness on tap and things like bangers and mash on the menu. Great place for a casual pint with friends before painting the town red.
Banff Ave Brewing Co.
Located in the Clocktower building on Banff Avenue, the Banff Ave Brew Pub is a great place to start your night. It brews local beers, available in pint form or litre steins. The food is also top notch. The Nashville hot chicken burger is probably the best chicken burger in Banff (in my humble opinion).
The brew pub has recently expanded to add a tap room downstairs (which I think may just be a downstairs version of the pub) and a detroit style deep dish pizza restaurant next door.
The Banff Ave Brew Pub is definitely one of my top places to start the night. Or hang out if it’s a casual night.
Best places to eat in Banff before a night out
If you’re looking for a nice restaurant before your night out, make sure you read our Banff restaurant guide for the best spots!
Best places to go for live music in Banff
The Rose & Crown
The Rose and Crown is the go to pub in Banff for live music on any given night. It’s a pub vibe with pool tables and Buck Hunter on one side, and live music on the other. It’s generally local bands and it’s always a good time. Some nights there is a cover charge, but it depends on the season and who’s playing. It’s never more than about $5.
Mel’s makes the list again for its great live music. Check the website for upcoming live events. As well as live bands, they often have weekly events like quiz night and karaoke (the more public kind). You can also guarantee they’ll celebrate major holidays like St. Patrick’s day.
Paddy’s day is always a big night in Banff, so you can guarantee that most places will be serving green pints.
Ready to put on your dancing shoes? Check out the Nightclubs in Banff:
Dancing Sasquatch Nightclub
This club is cabin themed… of course. You’re in Banff, duh.
The Dancing Sasquatch is an exciting place to catch some awesome Canadian DJs and dance the night away. If your feet are hurting, sit back and relax in the unique “sauna” styled room they’ve created. Don’t know what to order? Get the Time Machine – a $9 mega drink that will hit you hard (it’s a full can of monster energy, amongst other ingredients).
Bear in mind, a tiny club full of people hopped up on energy drinks (and probably a few other things), means it can get a bit rowdy sometimes. Weekends especially.
Recent events in Banff have forced the Sasquatch to ramp up security, so expect long lines.
While there used to be several night clubs in Banff, The Dancing Sasquatch is really Banff’s last remaining night club, so if you’re looking for a big night, this is where you’ll inevitably end up.
High Rollers Banff
If the Dancing Sasquatch is the biggest night you can have in Banff, then High Rollers probably comes in second place. Generally DJ’s start playing around 9pm with a small dance floor, and there are plenty of great drink specials to keep the party going.
There is also a bowling alley (hence the name) if you want to do something active with your buddies.
Late night food in Banff (after the bar)
Aardvark Pizza & Sub
I have so much love for this place. It’s honestly the best place to end up after a long night out. Their menu is huge and it’s all amazing, but my favourites would have to be the poutine, the chicken Caesar salad and the yam fries. You also can’t go wrong with pizza by the slice!
Aardvarks is generally open super late, so you can guarantee it will still be open when you roll out of the bar.
Eddie Burger Bar
As I mentioned above, Eddie Burger is one of the few places you can grab something late at night. Try the deep fried pickles! Food is generally available until 1am, although the menu might be a limited late night menu.
Banff Ave Brewing Co.
The Banff Ave Brewing Co might not be open when you roll out of the club, but it serves food until 11pm. This is generally one of the latest times you can get food in Banff.
Be warned, most restaurants in Banff close their kitchens by 10pm at the latest!