An Experience: Patio Drinks Downtown Calgary During A Pandemic


COVID-19 happened fast. On Friday March 13th I was out for drinks in Killarney in Calgary, and by Saturday that bar had been shut down, and my friends and I deeply regretted even going out that night as things were really starting to unfold. Things changed rapidly beyond that weekend, and we’ve started to adapt to a completely new normal. We’ve stumbled and will continue to do so, but for the most part as a city and a community and a world have found our footing in this crisis. This is something we can all be proud of.

Our economy in this beautiful city we live in has taken an undeniable and enormous hit, and though things have started to reopen, Calgary did have to wait a little longer than surrounding areas due to our numbers and things like that. The time has finally come, though, where different places are starting to open up but business as usual, is not business as usual.

We’re seeing things like hair salons and stores reopen, but what I wanted to touch down on here, is the experience of dining out (or I guess dining in) after what probably felt like forever to the restaurant industry. Things are very different right now, and the industry in Calgary, if you ask me, is doing an absolutely phenomenal job with making this feel as close to home as possible, even during these very different and uncertain times. I personally can’t speak for every single restaurant or patio that opened its doors this past week and this weekend, but the ones I did have the opportunity to experience left me feeling completely safe and absolutely in control of the situation.

Trolley 5, CRAFT and Rose & Crown are the three bars I supported this weekend, and I would highly recommend going to any of them, as the protocols are being followed to a tee.

It is not the way it once was. Our servers are working harder than ever to keep things clean and tidy, everything is being kept extremely sanitary, masks are being worn nonstop by anyone who is working, and sanitization before you even enter the premises is mandatory. The hustle and bustle remains, but at a 50% capacity to make sure that we have the ability to remain distant from each other, which is just something we have to do right now.

The wait times are pretty intense and long if you if you don’t plan ahead, but for the taste of normalcy you will receive after having a drink at a table outside of your home it is definitely worth the wait, if you ask me. Obviously the choice is yours, and there are a ton of different beliefs as to whether or not this is a good idea, and whether or not it is too soon to be reopening and taking part in activities such as this when it may not be deemed “necessary”. If you are feeling comfortable, though, a stroll to your favorite patio to support a business that has always been good to you could be a fun thing to do in the midst of these trying times.

I just want to end this with a note to anyone who is running or working within any of these places as they start to slowly re open. This is not discounting or disregarding ANYONE who has been working during all of this craziness with a mask on and their heads held high. That being said, to anyone who served this weekend and entertained the hype that came hand in hand with a little glimpse of the normalcy we once got to experience all the time before this happened, thank you for doing what you do. Thank you for walking around in the intense heat with a mask on your face and bringing drinks and food to our tables as we try and create this new “normal”. Thank you for standing close to people that you did not voluntarily choose to spend your evening with. For being kind and understanding. For following the protocols. For keeping us safe in the middle of a crisis. For kicking ass and doing the most incredible and amazing job with a smile on your face even though I can’t even imagine what the inner workings of a restaurant are like right now. You are heroes, and we are absolutely grateful.

I would give the patio and restaurant experience this weekend a 10/10. If you are comfortable doing so, I highly recommend showing your support, and limiting your time in your seat so everyone can get a chance to have a little taste of what it’s like right now.