Long anticipated Trolley 5 Restaurant & Brewery is opening on Thursday, June 27th and I was lucky enough to get an invite to their media launch yesterday. A brew pub is just what vibrant 17th Avenue in Calgary was missing, but the question remains, will Trolley 5 live up to the hype and fit the bill?
My first impression is YES!
The owners have completed a major overhaul of the space, which used to be a part of the Melrose Bar, turning it from dark nightclub to bright and inviting eatery. With such a prime location — in the heart of the ‘Red Mile’ and proximity to the Saddledome — I imagine you’ll be pressed to get a table during hockey season home games. Tall windows throughout show off their shiny new equipment and an abundance of natural light. A mix of simple and abstract lighting on the open concept roof, and masculine wooden accents give it an authentic look; stylish, yet laid back. And did I mention windows? Ok, well I’m saying it again. Even within the venue, they opted for glass walls, and it makes for such a welcoming atmosphere. Though I’m not sure how I feel about the glass walls of the women’s washroom sink area on the lower level, it looks cool, but a little privacy, please!
One of my favourite features was the conveyor belt of growlers, which ran through all three floors, all the way down to the basement where they can be purchased on-site to take home. The basement also shows off the brewing equipment from a ground-up view and, I concluded, was a great place just to chill out at the welcoming u-shaped bar. The main floor has a more upbeat vibe and features the kind of curbside patio that I have come to expect along 17th Avenue. The equipment peeks through this level as well, giving you another perspective and a chance to watch the Brewers at work! The real triumph, in my opinion, however, is the third floor. A gorgeous bar extends along one wall, and there’s a function room sectioned off at the back area which would easily seat 30 comfortably. The whole front wall rolls open and you can sit at the bar along the edge making it a perfect place to relax with a pint.
Ok, so moving on, the space looks great, and I could talk about it all day but what about everything else? Firstly, the staff was all fabulous, and you could tell they wanted to provide the best guest experience they possibly could. Everyone I encountered seemed to be very invested in the success of Trolley 5 and I hope we continue to see that level of engagement. Service can make or break a restaurant; happy, excited and well looked after employees are the key to repeat customers! Now, let me talk about the menu…
They have a pretty ambitious line-up of shareable snacks, pizzas, sandwiches and mains and the prices are very reasonable, a smart move in today’s economy. The feature specials look great — seven days a week — plus you can’t go wrong with a $4 weekday happy hour! Understandably, they didn’t have all of it ready for the preview night, but the passed appetizers and meat-on-a-bun stations all showed the top notch quality to expect, and the appetizer we ordered (tacos) was full of flavour. I’m excited to try their full offerings, I’ll work my way through the menu in time, ’cause it’s important to have goals!
Best for last the BEER! I had previously tried out two of what they had on offer; the Session Ale collaboration with Parallel 49 Brewing and the Derailed Pale Ale. So I was expecting also to be impressed by the others. And they didn’t disappoint; their Dunkelweizen collaboration with Last Best Brewing had a good sweetness to it and the white IPA which was seriously unfiltered, and just as flavourful! The guest taps were all excellent local choices; I can see myself being pretty content with ordering pretty much anything from their drinks menu. If your not a beer fan, they have a pretty decent assortment of wines, spirits and even a cider and mead, that should keep everyone happy!
They officially open on Monday, June 27th so I highly recommend you check them out as soon as you can. Oh, and in case I didn’t mention, the view is alright too. 😉