While all ski towns are notorious for having some form of wild nightlife, nowhere that I’ve been can compare to Banff in Canada. A town with snow covered streets, twinkling lights in the night, iconic steak houses, and filthy sports bars – Banff knows how to get buck wild.
While other ski towns may aspire to party like Banff – not many can compare and this may be attributed to the fact that in Banff you can walk from one side to the other in under 20 minutes. So if you fancy getting sociable and downright outrageous during the winter season in Banff, here are my top four suggestions:
Located above the famous Melissa’s MisSteak, Mel’s bar is an iconic sports bar with big screens, pool tables and questionable music. The local duke-box in the corner is fitted with both European club anthems, and old school hip-hop – a selection to please everyone. Shove in a few coins, select your favourite tracks and take a turn playing DJ for the evening. Mel’s also has a popcorn vender in the bar you can help yourself to. A fabulous idea if I may say so myself although the notorious ski-school popcorn fights may be one to keep your eyes peeled for.
Elk and Oarsman Pub and Grill
Located right in the heart of Banff on the bar and restaurant strip, the Elk and Oarsman is a cosy second floor space with an extensive beer menu.
If you’re a foreigner like myself and fancy the odd buffalo or elk burger [not something we generally dine on] then this is your one stop shop. They serve jazzed up après favourites like nachos and jacket potatoes, and most impressive is the “thirsty desserts” like hot chocolate with Kahlua, Vodka and whipped cream.
After dinner the pub turns into a fabulous live music venue and hosts Sunday jam sessions for all the resident muso’s. This is a good bet if you want to mingle with some locals.
Picture a dance floor packed with ski-bums, bachelorettes, university students, and international tourists all looking for a good time. Aurora’s is a meat market and you won’t be pushed to find a bit of eye candy. However most will be sweaty on the dance floor as they all refuse to take of their knitted beanies.
The music is a decent mix of new-school club anthems and old school dance tracks and there’s also plenty of seating areas for those who want to escape the craziness of the bar scene.
HooDoo Lounge, Banff
This is where the real action in Banff happens! The bar features a funky mountain lounge vibe and a dance floor that showcases live local DJ’s five nights a week. HooDoo is known as the nightclub for locals, and what’s a better way to party than with the people that live and breathe Banff? Make sure you pop in to the Friday Malibu Beach Party.
With such a serious concentration of great bars in such a small area, Banff is a true tourism Mecca. Easily reachable from all the surrounding resorts (Lake Louise, Sunshine, Norquay) Banff is a true Après hub.