Last-Minute Cel­e­bra­tions

Pro­cras­ti­nate on plan­ning a hol­i­day party? These nick-of­time so­lu­tions will save the day

Where Calgary - - YOU ARE HERE: KENSINGTON - BY EL­IZ­A­BETH CHOR­NEY-BOOTH

Whether you’re en­ter­tain­ing clients and col­leagues or catch­ing up with friends, this time of year is prime party sea­son. The hol­i­days call for fun and fri­vol­ity around a din­ner ta­ble or over a glass (or two) of cheer, but if you’re try­ing to put to­gether a last-minute shindig it can be dif­fi­cult to nav­i­gate Cal­gary’s wide va­ri­ety of win­ing and din­ing op­tions. When you’re aim­ing to im­press or just want to do some hol­i­day so­cial­iz­ing, there’s a spot in Cal­gary to help host a cheer-wor­thy cel­e­bra­tion.

Out on the Town

Cal­gary has no short­age of great restau­rants and— pro­vided you have time to make a reser­va­tion—most can ac­com­mo­date medium-sized groups for a hol­i­day din­ner, while some also have pri­vate rooms that can be booked for a larger hol­i­day party. For some­thing spe­cial, turn to fine-din­ing restau­rants like Rouge (page 51) or Deane House (page 51), both of which have sev­eral dif­fer­ent rooms within their reg­u­lar din­ing ar­eas that of­fer a bit of pri­vacy for larger ta­bles.

The Nash (page 51), owned by cel­e­brated chef Michael Noble, also has the op­tion of larger ta­bles for big groups look­ing for an ex­cel­lent meal. For some­thing more ex­plic­itly Christ­mas-themed, the Fair­mont Pal­liser Ho­tel has a high­end hol­i­day menu in its Rim­rock Din­ing Room (page 51), and through­out the en­tire sea­son the ho­tel’s lobby is dec­o­rated in full Christ­mas splen­dour, which is worth see­ing even if you’re not a guest at the ho­tel.

Cal­gary’s din­ing scene also has a num­ber of restau­rants that are per­fect for host­ing smaller groups of food­ies keen on us­ing the hol­i­days as an ex­cuse to check out the city’s hot spots. Ac­claimed restau­rants like Pi­geon­hole (page 51),

Ten Foot Henry (page 51), Mur­ri­eta’s (page 51) and Anju (page 55) all of­fer cre­ative and mod­ern menus. Just as im­por­tantly, they all take reser­va­tions, al­low­ing revel­ers to plan ahead when en­ter­tain­ing clients or friends.

Gather Round the Hearth

If you’d pre­fer to cel­e­brate out­side of the con­fines of a tra­di­tional restau­rant, there are plenty of ways to get great food to come to you. Pop­u­lar restau­rants like For­eign Con­cept (page 54), Char­cut (page 57) and Sauce Ital­ian Kitchen

and Mar­ket (page 52) all have cater­ing pro­grams. For a restau­rant-qual­ity ex­pe­ri­ence that is near, but not quite in a restau­rant, The Guild (page 51) is a pop­u­lar down­town eatery that’s also at­tached to the mas­sive Hud­son event space— de­pend­ing on avail­abil­ity, the large space can be bro­ken up into smaller party rooms to ac­com­mo­date any group size.

More ca­su­ally catered of­fice par­ties are also a good last­minute op­tion—many Cal­gary busi­nesses are able to get food to­gether for a party with fairly short no­tice. Meez Cui­sine and Cater­ing (meezcui­sine.com) of­fers hol­i­day-spe­cific menus, as does Sun­terra Mar­ket (page 52). For some­thing even less for­mal, Spinelli Ital­ian Cen­tre Shop (page 32) can put to­gether gourmet deli plat­ters and char­cu­terie boards with just 48 hours no­tice.

Hol­i­day Cheers

If a full din­ner isn’t in or­der, Cal­gary is full of el­e­gant cock­tail bars that are ideal for an im­promptu hol­i­day get­to­gether. Cel­e­brate with care­fully crafted cock­tails at Proof (page 50), Ricardo’s Hide­away (page 50) or Milk Tiger

Lounge (page 49), all of which can also pro­vide some bites to go with those drinks. Wine lovers may pre­fer Winebar

Kens­ing­ton (page 57), Bar Von Der Fels (page 57) or Vin Room (page 57). For a more whim­si­cal night out on the town, Cal­gary is home to a num­ber of speakeasy-style lounges, like

Betty Lou’s Li­brary (page 49)—which re­quires a reser­va­tion and a pass­word—or Can­ni­bale (page 49), a cozy cock­tail bar hid­den be­hind a func­tional bar­ber shop.

Some­thing to See

While eat­ing and drink­ing is the cen­ter­piece of any great hol­i­day party, for those who re­ally want to treat as­so­ciates or loved ones over the hol­i­days, there are a few op­tions that come with added en­ter­tain­ment value. Teatro (page 55), one of Cal­gary’s most clas­sic restau­rants, is con­ve­niently lo­cated just across the street from Arts Com­mons (artscom­mons.ca), home to many venues that host hol­i­day-themed con­certs and the­atre events. The Selkirk Grille (page 51), which sits just out­side the gates of Her­itage Park His­tor­i­cal Vil­lage, is a great place to host a gath­er­ing that can tie into the park’s much beloved Once Upon a Christ­mas event (page 38), which runs week­ends from Novem­ber 25 to De­cem­ber 23. Her­itage Park also hosts Clas­sic Christ­mas, a “shared party” at its Ga­so­line Al­ley on De­cem­ber 7 (page 38), meant to of­fer a big party ex­pe­ri­ence for smaller com­pa­nies. And fi­nally, for any­one look­ing to cre­ate mem­o­ries to­gether over a few beers, be sure to book a lane at Na­tional on 10th’s (page 50) bowl­ing lanes.

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