Eating Edmonton: The Sugarbowl Bar & Cafe

Eating Edmonton: The Sugarbowl Bar & Cafe

For a long time, The Sugarbowl has been one of the most hyped up places in Edmonton. Located in the Garneau area near the University of Alberta, it has long been a place where students congregate for food and drinks to discuss whatever class they are taking this semester, or what class they are skipping in order to have food and drinks at The Sugarbowl.

It has been a long time since I have visited this Edmonton establishment, since I was one of those University students. We used to go there frequently for class during one of my summer courses. There were only five of us in the class, plus we had the best professor ever.

sugar3Going there again, it is nice to see that it is exactly the same as it used to be on the inside. For a sort of hole-in-the-wall type of place, it is actually quite nice inside, and has a pretty good patio out front, where they really cram in the tables. There is much more space inside, and you still get the outside feel with the large garage doors almost always open during the summer.

The Sugarbowl is like the grandfather of the hipster-style craft beer pub, simply because it has seemingly been around forever, while these new places (like Craft, Beer Revolution, Three Boars, The Next Act) are new to the scene that was basically created by the Sugarbowl.

This pub is known for its good food and extensive beer menu. Always has been. And still is. You can read the reviews on other sites, like Yelp, and see the generally positive recounts of time spent there.

The menu itself is minimalist, which is nice. There are only a few items on there, and they cook all of them extremely well. This is not a place where you have to scroll though a thick menu and struggle to decide what you would like to eat. There is a list of perhaps a dozen meals, and all of them sound pretty enticing.

sugar2As for the beer menu, it is indeed pretty extensive. Prices have gone up since the last time I was there, and now they are a little more in line with the other craft beer houses in the city, although I would argue, are still a little cheaper. There is perhaps a dozen beers on tap, but the real gems come from the lists of bottled beers that they have. There are a lot, and you could get pretty indecisive when it comes to making a choice here. There are selections from local breweries, as well as small breweries from other places, such as Portland (of course). I did pretty well at selecting some good beers to try. And the prices weren’t totally crippling, like they are at Craft.

The vibe inside is unique. During the day, it remains a place that is popular with families, as it is not a total bar, like some other craft beer places have become. There are definitely the “artsy” people who frequent the place, and it is a hipster joint as well. It is a nice blending of people here.

The staff are generally quick and fairly attentive, no complaints there. I had the bison chili, which was pretty delicious. It had a good amount of heat to it, but nothing overwhelming, and it was definitely hearty. I was full all day off one bowl of it. I would definitely eat it again.

I like this place, and would definitely go there again. My bill was about $60 for two people, both with meals and several beers. Not the cheapest place you will find in Edmonton, but something different from the standard chain restaurants that we too often choose. The Sugarbowl feels like a cool place that you would find in a bigger, cooler city than Edmonton.

A great place to grab some food and drinks. I agree with the hype, and the Sugarbowl is still a cool place to go.

Eating Edmonton: The Next Act

Trying a new place for food and drinks last night, a friend and I went to The Next Act, a local pub/eatery on 104th street and 83rd ave, just off Whyte.

And what a delicious surprise.

pub-horiz-left

Like most new food establishments (even though the pub has apparently been there for quite some time, it has gained more fame over the past while due to its food truck, and this seems to have increased business big time), it seems to be hipster central in Edmonton, which kind of automatically gives it an aura of cool. There were a lot of beards and plaid in the busy place.

What makes it really cool, though, is the food and drink menu. A great selection of beers from across the country, and imports as well, at prices that are comparable to other pubs and restaurants. And the food menu, while looking like your standard pub fare at first glance, is very delicious.

I tore apart a PB&J Burger, which is exactly as it sounds. A layer of chunky peanut butter underneath the burger, and a delicious bacon jelly on top made for a really great and original tasting burger. The flavors were not overpowering, and I still knew that I was eating a burger and not a peanut butter sandwich. I quite enjoyed it.

My friend ate a Class Act burger, and raved about it as well. The fries that went along with it were plentiful and delicious, some of the best I’ve had in the city. They would be more similar to the fries at New York Fries or Original Joe’s than those of a fast food restaurant.

Despite being really busy and too hot for a restaurant on an unseasonably warm day in Edmonton, I really liked this place and will definitely frequent it again. Not too many places in town can you get a solid assortment of local beer (more than one type of Alley Kat on tap) along with other good ones like Steam Whistle, and a really solid menu where the food will impress you. There was also a good amount of nearby parking, but with anything in and around Whyte Avenue, this depends on the time of day you are going. Street parking is of course free after 6PM. The service was also quick and friendly, even with the place packed.

The Next Act is so much better than the chains we have been duped into thinking are original, and food tastes that much better; a little more authentic and not as standard.

http://www.nextactpub.com/