To tuxedoed people, velvet ropes are ordinary white picket fences and champagne fountains are lawn sprinklers. Kick down the fence and drink from the sprinkler with today's Groupon to Raw Bar, located downtown in the Hotel Arts. Choose between the following options:
- For $25, you get $50 worth of upscale modern dinner fare.
- For $15, you get $30 worth of upscale modern lunch fare.
Making both the National Post's list of Canada's best restaurants and En Route magazine's list of best hotel bars in Calgary in 2009, Raw Bar's couture cuisine and bespoke cocktails transfix Calgarians with preparations as modern as its sleek lounge. Menus are changed weekly, as executive chef Duncan Ly metamorphoses high-end seasonal ingredients and Ocean Wise seafood into preparations as unexpected as the advent of mesh cummerbunds. Prep dinner palates with raw starters, such as Ocean Wise, British Columbia spot prawns with shaved fennel and blood orange ($9), before diving face-first into a plate of beef-and-prawn pad thai ($22 dinner, $18 lunch) or braised Alberta lamb shoulder loin with eggplant mousse ($32). Midday munchies, meanwhile, take on a refined air with a slow-roasted prime beef sandwich ($12) or pan-seared spring salmon with a warm fingerling-potato salad ($24).
Raw Bar's elegant drinks list dresses its potables in period costume, complete with leg-of-mutton sleeves and historic recipes, including a champagne cocktail from the 19th century ($19) and the plum-and-vanilla sidecar, a Jazz Age throwback ($12). Raw Bar's chic décor sets a decadent mood with colourful, subdued lighting, ultramodern furnishings, and contemporary paintings and sculptures. Take a seat at a high-backed barstool and gaze at a bubbly chandelier, or order cocktails from a cozy couch lit by an oversize orange lampshade reminiscent of the tractor beam that whisks snowbirds to Costa Rica.