Hangout Handbook My Calgary

Hangout Handbook My Calgary
Photo by David Waldman
In our annual Hangout Handbook, Exclaim! asks some of our favourite artists to discuss the hidden gems in their hometowns. Here, Viet Cong's Scott Munro outlines his picks for Calgary.

What's your favourite breakfast/brunch spot?
I just moved to (Calgary neighbourhood) Mission recently so it's been either the Ship & Anchor (534 17 Ave SW) or National 550 17 Ave SW) for the last bit. I keep meaning to go to the Palomino (109 7th Ave SW), cause I heard that your CJSW friends card gets a mean deal.

What's your favourite coffee/daytime hangout?
I live across the street from Phil and Sebastian (2207 4 St. SW) so I pretty much go there every day.

Who serves the best fancy cocktails?
I finally made it to Milk Tiger Lounge (1410 4 St. SW) the other day and had some crazy thing with tequila in it. Out of the city, we stopped at the Twin Butte General Store in Southern Alberta and had peach margaritas with peach schnapps and cut up peaches in it sangria style that was pretty nice.

Where's the best dive bar?
I have a soft spot for Vern's (622 8 Ave SW) cause they hooked my old band up with shows when no one would book us. I don't go out much to drink if there's not a show. I'm more of a backyard/fire/river beers kinda guy. The Local 510 (510 17 Ave SW) is just down the street from me too and I have a bunch of buddies that work there. Not really a dive bar but I'm there more that any other bar.

What's your favourite diner?
I eat at diners on the road so much that I don't really seek them out too much at home.

Where do you go for a fancy dinner?
Ha! I play in a band for a living. None of that.

What's your favourite park?
I used to live right by Confederation Park so I was there a lot. Now that I'm downtown I find I'm hanging out by the river in the Stanley Park area more. Edworthy Park and the Douglas Fir trail are pretty rad too.

What's the best place to take a date?
I like to just grab a coffee and walk around downtown or down one of the river paths.

Where's your favourite spot for outdoor activities?
I try to get out of the city when it's possible. It's such a short drive to the mountains that it seems foolish to hang around in the city when you wanna be outside.

Where's the best movie theatre?
A group of people has been putting on a thing called the 5th Reel at the Plaza Theatre (1133 Kensington Rd. NW) where they licence the whole theatre and show an old movie (Jurassic Park, Predator, The Big Lebowski) and that's been pretty rad.

What's the signature annual event/festival/community gathering in your city?
Of course there's Sled Island, which is rad! We missed it this year cause we were on tour, but we played last year and it was awesome (minus the flood).

Where's your favourite stage?
I think to play, I like either the Republik (219 17 Ave SW) or Broken City (613 11 Ave SW) the best. The Republik is a pretty good size and I like seeing bands there. Broken City usually sounds really good and I've been playing/seeing shows there for a while now.

Where's the best place to dance?
I'm not really much of a dancer. That's a thing now, though, hey?

What's your favourite record store?
I usually go to Hot Wax (114 10 St. NW) in Kensington cause my buddy Chris Dadge (Lab Coast) works there. There's also Melodiya (2523A 17 Ave) and Sloth (736 17 Ave SW) that are the standards in the city. Luke's Drug Mart in Bridgeland (112 4 St NE) has a great record selection now too. There's also Recordland in Inglewood (1208 9 Ave SE) — it's pretty overwhelming, cause there's so much stuff there (all used) but if you bring a list you can come out with some great stuff.

What's your favourite underground/out of the way bar/drinking establishment?
I think just getting some tall cans and going down by the Elbow River is the best. There are so many out of the way spots and it's pretty chilled out.

Where's your favourite after-hours hangout spot?
I'd say same as above. There are a couple good rooftop spaces that you can get to with a bit of doing. I'm always game for a late night roof hang.

Where's your favourite outdoor space?
Again, Elbow River area, or as I said earlier, the Douglas Fir Trail and Edworthy Park are both beautiful, although in the day during the summer they can get pretty busy. Prince's Island (where the Calgary Folk Fest is) is nice for a lay on the grass/frisbee time too.

What favourite hometown activity of yours would surprise people if they heard about it?
I like to go to the Stampede and just trip out on all the weirdos that gather around it. Not the thing that I'm most proud about in Calgary, but it make's for strange people watching.

Scott Munro plays guitar in Calgary post-punk band Viet Cong and has toured with Chad VanGaalen.