Best of Calgary 2012 results

Our 15th annual survey of the best, and worst, the city has to offer





Best new trend

  1. Cycling
  2. Food trucks
  3. Craft beer

Worst new trend

  1. Hipsterism
  2. Dubstep
  3. Wildrose Party

Best kept Calgary secret

  1. Inglewood
  2. Market Collective
  3. Sidewalk Citizen Bakery

Scariest crosswalk

  1. 17th Avenue at 15th Street SW
  2. Kensington Road at 10th Street NW
  3. Edmonton Trail at Memorial Drive NE

Most livable neighbourhood

  1. Hillhurst / Sunnyside
  2. Mission
  3. Altadore / South Calgary

Best off-the-beaten-path day trip

  1. Bragg Creek
  2. Drumheller
  3. Kananaskis

Best place to take kids

  1. The Calgary Zoo
  2. Telus Spark Science Centre
  3. Prince’s Island Park

Best place to waste an entire day

  1. The Calgary Zoo
  2. Prince’s Island Park
  3. 17th Avenue SW

Best place to snag Stampede breakfast

  1. Chinook Centre
  2. Community Natural Foods
  3. Fluor Rope Square (Olympic Plaza)

Best place to go for a picnic

  1. Prince’s Island Park
  2. Bowness Park
  3. Fish Creek Provincial Park

Best place to get wet

  1. Elbow River
  2. Bow River
  3. Sandy Beach

Best place to pick up someone of the opposite sex

  1. The Ship & Anchor
  2. Commonwealth Bar & Stage
  3. Local 510

Best place to pick up someone of the same sex

  1. Twisted Element
  2. The Ship & Anchor
  3. The Backlot

Best public place to “do it”

  1. Nose Hill Park
  2. Prince’s Island Park
  3. Fish Creek Provincial Park

Best place to, um, smoke

  1. Prince’s Island Park
  2. Nose Hill Park
  3. Crescent Road NW

Best place to people-watch

  1. 17th Avenue SW
  2. Stephen Avenue Walk
  3. The Ship & Anchor

Best local not-for-profit

  1. The Mustard Seed
  2. Inn From The Cold
  3. Calgary Food Bank

Calgary’s claim to shame

  1. Calgary Stampede
  2. Peace Bridge
  3. Stephen Harper

Best use of local tax dollars

  1. Public transit
  2. Peace Bridge
  3. Cycling infrastructure

Worst use of local tax dollars

  1. Peace Bridge
  2. New roads
  3. Public transit

Best alderman

  1. Druh Farrell
  2. John Mar
  3. Gian-Carlo Carra

Worst alderman

  1. Druh Farrell
  2. Diane Colley-Urquhart
  3. John Mar

Best hikers’ trail

  1. Douglas Fir Trail
  2. Nose Hill Park
  3. Fish Creek Provincial Park





Best radio station

  1. CJSW 90.9 FM
  2. X92.9 FM
  3. CKUA 93.7 FM

Best art gallery

  1. Glenbow Museum
  2. Art Gallery of Calgary
  3. Trépanier Baer

Best dance company

  1. Decidedly Jazz Danceworks
  2. Alberta Ballet
  3. Pulse Studios

Best theatre company

  1. One Yellow Rabbit
  2. Alberta Theatre Projects
  3. Theatre Calgary

Best place to gamble

  1. Stampede Casino
  2. Elbow River Casino
  3. Grey Eagle Casino

Best festival

  1. Calgary Folk Music Festival
  2. Sled Island
  3. Lilac Fest

Best free event

  1. Lilac Festival
  2. Sun and Salsa Festival
  3. Snowblower

Best fund-raising event

  1. CJSW Funding Drive
  2. The Big Rock Eddies
  3. Timeraiser

Most beloved Calgarian

  1. Mayor Naheed Nenshi
  2. Jarome Iginla
  3. Ralph Klein

Most embarrassing Calgarian

  1. Stephen Harper
  2. Rob Anders
  3. Danielle Smith

Best local villain

  1. Stephen Harper
  2. Rob Anders
  3. Ric McIver

Sexiest man

  1. Mayor Naheed Nenshi
  2. Jarome Iginla
  3. Brett Wilson

Sexiest woman

  1. Jill Belland
  2. Tara Slone
  3. Connie DeSousa

Best professor

  1. Ron Glasberg
  2. Noel Keough
  3. John Manzo

Favourite local TV personality

  1. Jill Belland
  2. David Spence
  3. Todd Gallant

Favourite local radio personality

  1. Chad Saunders
  2. Fraser Tuff
  3. Greg Beharrell

Best local blog

  1. Mike’s Bloggity Blog
  2. Calgary Is Awesome
  3. Dan’s Good Side

Best local twitter personality

  1. Mayor Naheed Nenshi
  2. Kelly Oxford
  3. Crackmacs

Best journalist/columnist

  1. Drew Anderson
  2. Mike Bell
  3. Josiah Hughes

Worst journalist/columnist

  1. Rick Bell
  2. Licia Corbella
  3. Mike Bell

Best local photographer

  1. Glen Co
  2. Phil Crozier
  3. Kenneth Locke

Best local actor/actress

  1. Meg Roe
  2. Ellen Close
  3. Ksenia Thurgood

Best local musical act

  1. The Dudes
  2. Michael Bernard Fitzgerald
  3. Chad VanGaalen

Best local record label

  1. Flemish Eye
  2. Mammoth Cave Recording Co.
  3. Homebreakin Records

Best local album of the last year

  1. Tough Cookie - Samantha Savage Smith
  2. Sanctums - Sanctums
  3. Barbers, Thieves and Bartenders - The Dudes

Best local DJ

  1. Smalltown DJs
  2. DJ Rice
  3. Ivan Rankic

Best visual artist

  1. David Brunning (Aka Thekidbelo)
  2. Mandy Stobo
  3. Chris Cran

Best local author or poet

  1. Kris Demeanor
  2. Sheri-D Wilson
  3. Andrew Wedderburn

Best local filmmaker

  1. Gary Burns
  2. Mike Peterson
  3. Michal Lavi





Best shopping district

  1. Uptown 17th Avenue
  2. Kensington
  3. Inglewood

Best corner store

  1. Kalamata Grocery
  2. Bridgeland Market
  3. Jimmy’s A&A Deli

Best skateboard shop

  1. The Source Snowboard and Skateboard Shop
  2. Mission Snow and Skate
  3. Group Seven Skateboarding

Best ski/snowboard shop

  1. The Source Snowboard and Skateboard Shop
  2. Mission Snow and Skate
  3. Ski Cellar Snowboard

Best bike shop

  1. Bow Cycle
  2. Bike Bike
  3. The Good Life Community Bike Shop

Best place to buy music

  1. Sloth Records
  2. Recordland
  3. Hot Wax Records

Best musical instrument store

  1. Axe Music
  2. Guitarworks
  3. Vintage Music

Best place to buy a book

  1. Fair’s Fair
  2. Pages Books on Kensington
  3. Shelf Life Books

Best comics store

  1. Phoenix Comics
  2. Another Dimension
  3. Red Skull Comics

Most stylish furniture store

  1. Kit Interior Objects
  2. Domicile Interiors
  3. Revolve Furnishings

Best men’s clothing store

  1. Understudy
  2. Purr
  3. Leo Boutique

Best women’s clothing store

  1. Purr
  2. Blame Betty
  3. Espy Experience

Best lingerie

  1. She Apparel
  2. The Cat’s Pyjamas
  3. Knickers ‘n Lace

Best place to buy a sex toy

  1. A Little More Interesting
  2. Little Shop of Pleasures
  3. Priape

Best consignment/vintage clothing

  1. Divine
  2. Trend Fashions
  3. Cat’s Eye Retro/Vintage Clothing

Best shoe store

  1. Gravity Pope
  2. Arnold Churgin
  3. Luna Blue

Best place to find cool jewelry

  1. Market Collective
  2. Purr
  3. Rubaiyat

Best optical

  1. The Brass Monocle
  2. Eyeclectic Eyewear
  3. Blink

Best flower shop

  1. Peaseblossoms Flowers & Stuff
  2. Twigs & Company
  3. Anne Paterson’s Flowers

Best international food store

  1. Lina’s Italian Market
  2. Kalamata Grocery
  3. The Italian Supermarket

Best place to buy organic food

  1. Community Natural Foods
  2. Calgary Farmers’ Market
  3. Sunnyside Market

Best bakery

  1. Glamorgan Bakery
  2. Sidewalk Citizen Bakery
  3. Rustic Sourdough Bakery

Best farmers’ market

  1. Calgary Farmers’ Market
  2. Crossroads Market
  3. Kingsland Farmers Market

Best deli sandwich

  1. Spolumbo’s Fine Foods & Deli
  2. Peppino
  3. Lazy Loaf & Kettle

Best ice cream/gelato

  1. Fiasco Gelato
  2. Amato Gelato Cafe
  3. My Favorite Ice Cream Shoppe

Best liquor store

  1. Willow Park Wines & Spirits
  2. Calgary Co-op Wines & Spirits
  3. Kensington Wine Market





Best fitness facility

  1. Talisman Centre
  2. Heavens Fitness
  3. Eau Claire YMCA

Best place for yoga

  1. Hot Yoga on 17th
  2. Yoga Passage
  3. Bodhi Tree Yoga Centre

Best hair salon

  1. RedBloom Salon
  2. Hedkandi Salon
  3. The Ginger Group

Best spa

  1. Stillwater Spa
  2. Oasis Wellness Centre & Spa
  3. Riverside Spa

Best tattoo shop

  1. Bushido
  2. Smilin’ Buddha Tattoo
  3. Immaculate Concept Tattoo & Piercing





Best new bar

  1. Commonwealth Bar & Stage
  2. Craft Beer Market
  3. Wurst

Best neighbourhood pub

  1. The Ship & Anchor
  2. The Kensington Pub
  3. Hop In Brew Pub

Coolest hole-in-the wall

  1. Milk Tiger Lounge
  2. Hop In Brew Pub
  3. Broken City

Best brewpub

  1. Wild Rose Brewery & Taproom
  2. Brewsters Brewing Company
  3. Design District Urban Tavern

Best gay/lesbian hangout

  1. Twisted Element
  2. The Backlot
  3. Fab Bar

Sexiest clientele

  1. The Ship & Anchor
  2. Local 510
  3. Commonwealth Bar & Stage

Best redneck bar

  1. Ranchman’s Cookhouse & Dancehall
  2. The Palomino
  3. The Roadhouse

Best place to watch sports

  1. Schanks
  2. Flames Central
  3. Melrose Cafe & Bar

Best place to shoot pool

  1. The Garage Billiards Bar & Grill
  2. Schanks
  3. Olympic Billiards

Best place for comedy

  1. Yuk Yuk’s
  2. The Comedy Cave
  3. The Laugh Shop

Best place for karaoke

  1. Ducky’s Pub
  2. Nanta Karaoke & Bar
  3. Broken City

Best place to dance

  1. Commonwealth Bar & Stage
  2. The Hifi Club
  3. Twisted Element

Best concert venue (under 500)

  1. Republik
  2. Broken City
  3. Commonwealth Bar & Stage

Best concert venue (over 500)

  1. MacEwan Hall
  2. The Saddledome
  3. Jack Singer Concert Hall

Best all ages venue

  1. The New Black Centre
  2. Tubby Dog
  3. MacEwan Hall

Best open jam / open mic

  1. The Ship & Anchor
  2. Mikey’s Juke Joint & Eatery
  3. Cafe Koi

Best bartender

  1. Keon Brawn - Twisted Element
  2. Stephen Phipps - Model Milk
  3. Jordan Smuszko - Commonwealth Bar & Stage

Sexiest staff

  1. The Ship & Anchor
  2. Commonwealth Bar & Stage
  3. Local 510

Surliest staff

  1. The Ship & Anchor
  2. The Palomino
  3. Broken City

Best patio

  1. The Ship & Anchor
  2. Broken City
  3. West

Best cocktail menu

  1. Milk Tiger Lounge
  2. Ox & Angela
  3. Ming

Best beer selection

  1. Craft Beer Market
  2. Bottlescrew Bill’s Pub
  3. 1410 World Bier Haus

Best wine list

  1. Vin Room
  2. Una Pizza + Wine
  3. Winebar Kensington





Best new restaurant

  1. Model Milk
  2. Ox & Angela
  3. Clive Burger

Best restaurant for a first date

  1. Una Pizza + Wine
  2. Farm Restaurant
  3. The Coup

Best restaurant when someone else is paying

  1. River Cafe
  2. Teatro
  3. Rouge

Best service

  1. Una Pizza + Wine
  2. River Cafe
  3. The Coup

Best overall restaurant

  1. Una Pizza + Wine
  2. Charcut Roast House
  3. Notable

Best food truck

  1. Alley Burger
  2. Perogy Boyz
  3. Fiasco Gelato Truck

Best late-night (after 1 AM)

  1. Tubby Dog
  2. Singapore Sam’s
  3. Cafeteria at Commonwealth

Best cheap eats

  1. Tubby Dog
  2. Clive Burger
  3. Thi Thi Vietnamese Subs

Best breakfast

  1. Diner Deluxe
  2. Dairy Lane Cafe
  3. Overeasy Breakfast

Best pizza

  1. Una Pizza + Wine
  2. Without Papers
  3. Pulcinella

Best wings

  1. Regal Beagle Pub
  2. The Drum & Monkey
  3. Design District Urban Tavern

Best burger

  1. Clive Burger
  2. Boogie’s Burgers
  3. The Ship & Anchor

Best veggie burger

  1. The Coup
  2. The Ship & Anchor
  3. Blue Star Diner

Best fries/poutine

  1. The Big Cheese Poutinerie
  2. Charcut Roast House
  3. Laurier Lounge

Best Middle Eastern

  1. Aida’s Mediterranean Bistro
  2. Jimmy’s A & A Deli
  3. Tazza Deli and Grill

Best sushi

  1. Globefish Sushi & Izakaya
  2. Kinjo Sushi & Grill
  3. Hana Sushi

Best Vietnamese

  1. Co Do Vietnamese
  2. Saigon Y2K
  3. Golden Bell Saigon

Best Chinese

  1. Silver Dragon
  2. Dragon Pearl
  3. Peking Dragon

Best Indian

  1. Moti Mahal
  2. Rajdoot
  3. Tandoori Hut

Best Italian

  1. Mercato
  2. Chianti Cafe & Restaurant
  3. Il Sogno

Best Thai

  1. Chili Club Thai House
  2. The King & I Thai Cuisine
  3. Thai Sa-On

Best French

  1. La Chaumière
  2. Cassis Bistro
  3. Fleur de Sel

Best Greek

  1. Broken Plate
  2. Santorini Greek Taverna
  3. Mykonos Greek Restaurant

Best Mexican

  1. Salt & Pepper Mexican Restaurante
  2. Los Chilitos Taco & Tequila House
  3. Julio’s Barrio

Best vegetarian

  1. The Coup
  2. Buddha’s Veggie
  3. Cafe Koi

Best steak

  1. Caesar’s Steak House
  2. Vintage Chophouse & Tavern
  3. Charcut Roast House

Best BBQ

  1. The Palomino
  2. Holy Smoke Barbecue & Smokepit
  3. Big T’s BBQ & Smokehouse

Best place for seafood

  1. Catch & The Oyster Bar
  2. Big Fish
  3. Bookers BBQ Grill & Crab Shack

Best coffeehouse

  1. Caffe Beano
  2. Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters
  3. Higher Ground

Best place to feed a sweet tooth

  1. Crave Cookies and Cupcakes
  2. Jelly Modern Doughnuts
  3. The Chocolate Bar



Comments: 17

therealshayshay wrote:

Who makes this list? Why the shit is commonwealth on there so many times? Are you people BLIND? They so do not have the sexiest staff at all. And definitley best Thai place in cowtown is Rose Garden on Stephens. This is a failure. But Nenshi is beloved.

on Jun 14th, 2012 at 9:59am Report Abuse

lonnietaylor wrote:

Julio’s Barrio made third on best Mexican? Hah hah! That's terrible!

on Jun 14th, 2012 at 10:13am Report Abuse

Drew Anderson wrote:

The list is created by the readers. We pick what people will vote on: Best Thai etc.... Then readers pick their favourites.

on Jun 14th, 2012 at 10:22am Report Abuse

doublecheeseburger wrote:

Is it too late to vote the therealshayshay as worst commenter of the year?

on Jun 14th, 2012 at 11:10am Report Abuse

Kdana wrote:

The people voting must live in sunny side/ Kensington. People tend to vote the only thing they know...and as far as jill belland being voted god people. Her ego is the size of the city. I can't stand people who are pretentious to the people they think don't matter and ass kissers to the ones they perceive as important .Kudos to Tara making 2nd even after not being in the public eye for a while..she is truly beautiful inside and out. I saw her at a flames game a few years ago and the way she treated the people that didn't really matter was refreshing. I stopped watching breakfast tv when she left.

on Jun 14th, 2012 at 1:48pm Report Abuse

MattBinYYC wrote:

Twisted wins that many awards? Get out of here. Keon, best bartender... right.

on Jun 14th, 2012 at 6:21pm Report Abuse

vf wrote:

You have best visual artist, best art gallery... how about Best Art Supply store? No?

on Jun 15th, 2012 at 1:21pm Report Abuse

el Gordo wrote:

Nice to see Peters and their vapid burgers finally get bumped off the list.

on Jun 15th, 2012 at 7:20pm Report Abuse


Evidently all the "voters" and the "readers" of this list and FFWD either work at The Ship & Anchor or Commonwealth - because there's no way either of these places should've "won" what they did. The Ship is one step above a dumpster and smells like a mix of B.O. and breakfast sausage where those who shower are not welcome; and Commonwealth is where all of the turnaways from the big nightclubs go. The only thing on this list that makes any kind of sense is Bushido being the city's best tattoo shop.

on Jun 16th, 2012 at 11:47am Report Abuse

Bobo wrote:

Best local photographer: Glen seriously?!!! This dude is like the worst photographer in the history of mankind!

on Jun 17th, 2012 at 8:36pm Report Abuse

Komberloi wrote:

I second el GORDO re: Peter's overrated burger. I'm happy to see they are gone from the list.

I would like to see all chain companies barred from the list as it really doesn't hold true to the "Best of Calgary". Really? Broken Plate best Greek? Ya it's pretty good. But are you actually picking it, or is it the only Greek place you know so you are writing it down...

on Jun 27th, 2012 at 3:14pm Report Abuse

Barroness wrote:

@Kdana -- I think you've got your Taras mixed up. We're talking brunette Slone NOT blonde McCool here. As for (what's left of the shockingly emaciated) Jill -- no worries -- she'll have wasted away to nothing by September at this rate.

on Jun 28th, 2012 at 3:25pm Report Abuse

chachiherbert wrote:

Yes Drew, we the people of Calgary were wondering where the best place to find cool jewelry is. Wipe the lipstick off this whores list.
26 categories under the shopping menu, and only 5 for services.
I understand that sponsors expect performance, but if you want to keep this competition credible, the FFWD has to watch their accountability.
Why not have best new car dealership, or best well site service company? That way the FFWD would be flush with cash and you could get that raise.

on Jul 3rd, 2012 at 11:32am Report Abuse

mustainejordan wrote:

The Dudes? Still? How is no one tired of seeing the same band over and over again for this many years?

Not to mention their 50 side projects that basically sound the same.

I'm sure they're nice guys who like to party. They say that in all their songs. But come on Calgary, there is so much great music in this city. Branch out a little.

on Dec 13th, 2012 at 3:26pm Report Abuse

Burger King wrote:

Best burger in the city... venture out of the core and out to Ogden. there is a little place called Naina's Kitchen on the corner of Blackfoot and Ogden. They make a stuffed burger that is to die for. It is a real "Mom and Pop" type of place. Don't believe me check out the reviews she has been getting.

on Jan 24th, 2013 at 3:19pm Report Abuse

milo1101 wrote:

I am really bothered by the indication that our "Calgary Stampede" is No.1 for Claim to Shame. Shame on those people who voted for this - must be PETA. The Calgary Stampede is known world wide and brings in millions of dollars to our city each year and supports our local businesses big time. If it were to end, alot of money would be missing from Calgary's economy. Not only that - Calgary's whole atmosphere changes for those 10 days and everyone or anyone who wants to has a fantically fun time. I love the Stampede even though I don't go to the bars - I just enjoy being downtown during these 10 days (I never take vacation during this time - don't want to miss the activities.)

on Feb 8th, 2013 at 9:50am Report Abuse

chilli_bean wrote:

I Think CUPS should be in that list of not-for-profits...and Alpha house and their awesome outreach program!

on Apr 2nd, 2013 at 11:31am Report Abuse

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