Mt. Norquay — Apres-ski and nightlife
Après-ski is more quiet than rip-roaring in Banff, but things really start hopping at night. Younger crowds probably will enjoy Banff nightspots, and with more than two dozen options, the savvy bar hopper can find drink or food specials almost every night of the week. The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel has quieter bars, lounges and even a wine bar for a more refined experience. The Happy Bus shuttles skiers to nightspots around Banff until midnight for $2, or you can walk between most lodging and town.
For après-ski, The Paddock (left) is a sprawling bar with lots of games beneath The Mt. Royal Hotel. The Elk & Oarsman has a prime Banff Avenue location and crowd-pleasing specials such as $8 steak on Tuesdays. The Rose and Crown, is an English-style pub quite popular due to its central location. St. James Gate Olde Irish Pub, built in Dublin and assembled in Banff, is a dark and funky traditional Irish pub with 33 draught beers and more than 65 single malt scotches.
The more elegant options include Cafe Soleil, a Mediterranean tapas and wine bar with a wide-ranging wine list, located next to Brewster’s Mountain Lodge. The Bison Mountain Bistro on Bear Street is a deli and coffee bar by day, but a chic restaurant and lounge by night, with a game-heavy menu. In The Fairmont Banff Springs, the Rundle Lounge has quiet music for hotel guests. At the Waldhaus not far from the lobby, Happy Hans and Lauren, on accordion and trumpet, get everybody singing. Grapes Wine Bar on the upper mezzanine has an impressive selection of wines from Canada and the world’s best wine regions.
At night, the lively Saltlik has Banff’s best martini selection accompanied by live blues and jazz as well as six large-screen TVs. Wild Bill’s Legendary Saloon on Banff Avenue has a huge dance floor for line dancing. Locals and others in the know may start the night at any of the Banff Avenue spots, but they all end up at either Hoodoo Lounge, a happening dance club with late-night eats, or The Aurora Night Club which features a lounge, cigar bar and dance floor and is the place to be seen.