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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Two Cowboys: A Tiny Saloon and Watering Hole in the Wall, Where the Buffalo Roam in Canmore, Alberta

Big Thirsty

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"Descartes walked into a bar, and the barman said to him: 'Are you thirsty?' Descartes replied: 'I don't think I am'. He then disappeared."

If you were given a chance to design and build your perfect bar, what will it look like? Here are a few simple guidelines to help you set it apart.

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It should be a place with the best there is to drink. Fresh beer, great wine, wicked spirits and amazing one-of-kind cocktails. It should be made with the very best locally produced ingredients, served by the most talented mixologists.

Secondly, the food should be outstanding. Prepared by talented chefs sophisticated enough to entice you with unfamiliar ingredients and exotic tastes, yet hearty enough to be familiar. It should draw from the best Alberta has to offer in beef and pork, and not shy away from the bounty of the rest of Canada.

Thirdly, the atmosphere should be cosy. Not cramped. The music should complement the drumming of laughter of people having fun. The decor natural and the seating comfortable. It should have ample counselling chairs at the bar for easy access to bartender instruction and wisdom. There should be tight-squeeze booths for new lovers and a spot in the sun for lazy late summer afternoons.

Lastly, the perfect bar should be filled with familiar faces. Friends. The people with whom you want to be.

This is exactly what Oona Davis and her business partner Shelley managed to create with the place they named "Where the Buffalo Roam", (also known as Canmore's Saloon). A place where they are comfortable. The kind of place they wanted, but couldn't find anywhere else in Canmore, Alberta.


For almost 4,000 years buffalo grazed on the Bow Valley's rich pasture and drank from the water of the Bow River. In 2015 the doors of a tiny little Saloon opened on Main Street, Canmore. It took its queue and borrowed its name from these gracious animals. Today it serves up pretty much the same concept. It takes care of the hungry and the thirsty. It is their place to meet, drink, date, socialise or to just to get away after a long working day.

We were welcomed with open arms when we filmed Oona and her team before Christmas 2016.

What appeared at first glance as a tiny, unassuming watering hole surprised us with a variety to drink that shows a real commitment to featuring local brewers, distillers and nearby wine producers. The food is inspirational. We recommend the slow braised beef rib with Christmas colour garnishing (see photo below). However, nothing comes close to the creativity that goes into the cocktails. A cocktail is something we usually pass over because of cost. At this Saloon, it is the feature attraction. Make it count.

I am told it is just the way it is done "Where the Buffalo Roam".

Hendrik van Wyk
Buffalo Cowboy

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Three Deadly Sins

Christmas Rib


Brave Soldiers

Local Crowd

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