If your idea of nightlife includes hitting a bar for drinks and socializing, then our Edmonton guide is just what you want. Capitalizing on first-hand experience and extensive research, we've located the best bars in Edmonton for hanging out and kicking back in. From long-lived mainstays like Billiard Club to busy places like Metropolitan Billiards Café that get lots of 10Best reader approval, we present the top bars in town and offer details about them all. What's the energy like? How do the bartenders pour? Are most bars located in the Downtown area? No fear - we share all the facts!


If you're not wanting to get fancy for a night out, Bunkers Sports Pub is the place for you. With theme nights plus food and drink deals nearly every day of the week, there is always a good reason to come to this Edmonton dive bar. Bunkers offers karaoke every Tuesday and Thursday as well as live music and open mic nights with large cash prizes. Bring the boys to watch the big game, as there are plenty of televisions showing Edmonton Oilers and Eskimos games every season.

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A popular north-east sports bar, Finnagan's boasts 18 pool tables and a host of TVs showing everything from hockey to American football to cricket. There's also NTN trivia, darts and great pub grub (burgers, steaks, pasta, pizza and lots of appetizers). As you might suspect, the atmosphere is casual and fun with good food and drink specials throughout the week to draw in the crowds. The space itself is divided into two sections – one is family friendly until about 9 or 10pm.

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A traditional decor of stained glass, dark wood, and memorabilia envelops diners at this Irish pub. The bar occupies a place of prominence in the center of the area, and a stone inscribed with runic symbols pays homage to the pub's name. The authenticity extends to the alcohol as well; you'll find 18 draft beers, 30 malt beers, and a wide array of Irish whiskeys. If you get hungry, hearty pub food is eminently satisfying. Among the offerings are a rich Irish stew and the classic boxty, a delicious potato pancake stuffed with meats, vegetables, and sauce. Given the day you're there, you'll find live music performances, DJs playing favorite tunes, and patrons getting down on the small dance floor.

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This establishment toes the line between being an alternative venue and a traditional pub. You'll find it a great equalizer, welcoming suits and skateboards with equivalent gusto. The three-levels encompass the main floor with its bar, as well as a lower room that is more secluded and a "Wooftop Patio," where patrons can sit in the open air and look out across the traffic (foot and cars) of Whyte Avenue. Although the place gets crowded, regulars love it all the same. One of the biggest draws is the Saturday afternoon event called "Hair of the Dog," where vocalists and musicians play for the spectators. Wednesdays are alternative country, and throughout the week, you'll find other performers, along with DJ-spun tunes. Laid-back and relaxed.

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If you're tired of the same old bar routine, standing around, hoping to meet someone new, the Billiards Club is a fun alternative. Shooting pool gives a focus to the evening and lets you hone your skills and your understanding of physics. The venue, located in a refurbished post office, is historical and charming. If you're waiting for a table, try one of their draft beers, or sample the Billiard Burger or a tasty, internationally-influenced appetizer. You'll also find TVs, lounges, and video games. Plus, the patio offers you the opportunity to grab a breath of fresh air and look out over Old Strathcona. And who knows, you may meet someone anyway...

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For true Albertan ambience, this establishment is superb. Housed in a renovated Canadian Pacific Railroad station, the Iron Horse pays homage to the steam engines that helped make the west the vibrant region that it is today. Inside, the place retains much of its architectural detail, creating a terrific backdrop for an evening of fun and festivity. Food is served, including steak and pizza, and beer is a significant draw as well. Friends and colleagues gather to chat, to drink, and to enjoy the city's allure from the large outdoor patio, which affords great views of the historic district. From time to time, DJs and live musicians make use of their craft for the patrons.

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Classier than the usual pool hall, Metro is decked out with hardwood floors, leather couches and a granite bar, plus 15 Brunswick tables. Oilers games (sports of all kinds, actually) are shown on strategically located TVs, including several big screen flat panel types. There's even occasional live music. Aside from the variety of entertainment options, Metro also offers more than 45 beers, martinis and a surprisingly wide ranging food menu. Along with the usual pub grub, you can enjoy pastas, stir fries, steaks and a number of interesting appetizer combination platters. A cut above on all fronts.

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The name of this place (pronounced "kay-lee") refers to a gathering of people who've come together to play music, drink and dance. The pub couldn't be more appropriately named. When you come in, the bar faces you immediately, advertising the reason for the festivities. You can order up a Guinness or an Irish whiskey and keep with the Celtic theme. Live musicians play five nights a week, usually jazz and blues. If you're not around for the music, an exterior terrace lets you enjoy the outdoors while you nurse a drink. The Irish food is also terrific, and you can munch a boxty or fish and chips while you watch the game on TV.

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Fun and casual, this comfortable place brings a bit of coastal ambience to Edmonton. You can sample it in the beer-lightened fish-and-chips or in clam strips, mussels, prawns and lobster. Beer, of course, is a perfect complement to the robust flavors of fried fish and seafood, and you'll find it bottled and on tap. It also goes well with the colorfully-named Big Arse cheeseburger, which is itself a fine accompaniment to White Trash pie. If you want to hang out with friends, new and old, and enjoy the time away from work and the responsibilities of home, this place is a perfect refuge. With live music to boot, it'll be your favorite watering hole in no time.

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A small Canadian chain with locations in Alberta and Saskatchewan, Brewsters is great for hanging out with friends, but if it's a meal you're after this is a great choice, too. There are plenty of things to keep you occupied: pool tables, NTN trivia, big screen TVs and Golden Tee Golf to name just a few. The food menu is chock full of internationally influenced upscale pub grub: Thai spring rolls, Mediterranean dip, New York style chicken wings, nachos, wonton soup, inventive burgers, jambalaya, cedar plank salmon and pizza. And finally, the choice of beverages is truly impressive. There are always 12 to 14 craft brewed beers: ales, lagers, pilsners and stouts. If you can't make up your mind, ask for a sampler (five, five-ounce tastes).

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