Commonwealth dresses down the upscale
New bar offers fresh take on a familiar venue
Calgary’s bar landscape is expanding with the addition of the Commonwealth Bar & Stage.
The much-anticipated spot pairs the old Warehouse building with the masterminds behind the HiFi Club, Craft Beer Market and Una Pizza + Wine to unveil a bar of unmatched creativity.
Their theme of a turn-of-the-century warehouse turned music and dance venue is spot on.
Walking in, you are welcomed in to an intimate sitting room and a north-facing window overlooking 10 Avenue S.W. The weird knick-knacks behind the bar set a precedent for surprises, and Commonwealth delivers.
Grab one of their bourbon concoctions and head up the stairs to the main room. Two more bars and high-top tables border the dance floor as well as the food joint named “Cafeteria.”
Now the word cafeteria might conjure up horrible memories of undercooked curly fries and bad junior high breakouts. But rest assured, Commonwealth’s take on it will fill you with joy, and delicious creations from Una.
Conveniently served in to-go containers, snacks include beef skewers, chicken meatballs and dumplings for a nominal cost of $3 to $7.
Above the staircase leading you down is a great homage to the railway warehouse motif with a chandelier using huge rusted chains draping down and around the lights.
Downstairs there is the ever-useful coat check and a long hallway of custom red Commonwealth logo wallpaper leading you to the restrooms, which may be the nicest bar washrooms ever.
Stepping into the downstairs bar, seats border the entire room and drinks are easily acquired from the 360-degree centre bar. The room allows for a flow to walk around and a great environment to hide out with friends.
The stage area at the south end of the room features a pop art mural, but the main attraction in the room is the taxidermy murder of crows behind the bar. Opinions were mixed, but like it or not —it is eye-catching and captivating.
The Commonwealth is offering Calgarians something that didn’t exist before, an upscale bar without pretension. The multiple rooms offer something for everyone: dancing, lounging, eating and socializing all in one well-detailed redbrick warehouse.
It is a great expansion of Calgary’s cultural landscape and an important notch on the non-cowboy belt.