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Theres no shortage of new eateries to choose from in Calgary these days, but the new Bridgette Bar inspires people to linger.
Part of the Concorde Entertainment Group—owner of more than a dozen Calgary restaurants including Anju, the National, Clive Burger and Double Zero Pizza—Bridgette Bar has moved into the corner space of a 1922 brick building in the heart of the city’s design district, enlisting the team at Frank Architecture to give the restaurant a rec-room-meets-Breakfast–at–Tiffany’s vibe. With plenty of natural light, exposed brick, hanging plants, artist-woven macrame, a suspended Jetsons-esque fireplace and furniture reclaimed from the ’60s, Bridgette feels like someone’s impressive home and draws a fashionable crowd.
With executive chef JP Pedhirney (formerly of Rouge and Muse) at the helm in the kitchen and Dewey Noordhof (previous co-owner of Brava Bistro) as general manager, Bridgette describes itself as a chef-driven bar with a creative menu designed for sharing. It appeals to those who want to go out for cocktails and a nibble or more substantial nosh with the option to share. It’s comfortable yet stylish, with a kitchen open to the main dining area, so you can watch as they serve up snacks, small plates and large ones, with many dishes taking heat from their wood burning oven and grill.
The menu offerings are veggie-heavy and could be described as elevated comfort food, and though sharing is a common theme, it’s easy to order on your own if you don’t want to divide and conquer. There’s wood roasted B.C. halibut with confit leeks, snap peas and pancetta ($39); charred snap peas with pecorino, almonds, horseradish and sherry vinaigrette ($10) and charred bay scallops with miso butter, pears and basil ($14). But it’s not all about cooking over an open flame—they turn out some amazing pizzas and pastas, from lobster fusilli with bottarga ($19) to bigoli puttanesca with tomatoes, anchovies and olives ($18).
At the bar, cocktails are culinarily inspired—try the Flatland (rye, marolo milla, chamomile, lemon, scotch) or the Pink Pompadour (pisco, St. Germain, pink grapefruit, lime, peychauds)—and there’s a solid list of beer and wine by the glass. Drinks are half price during happy hour from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and there are smaller snack-size nibbles on the menu.
Bridgette is also becoming a popular brunch spot on Sundays between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.—Calgary is big on socializing over breakfast, and they offer an intriguing but not over-the-top menu including the classic bacon and eggs, French toast and eggs Benedict; but also avocado on toast with crispy pork belly and poached egg ($14); and lamb sausage with fried egg, roasted garlic, labneh and potato crunch with cilantro vinaigrette ($13).
Bridgette doesn’t have a phone, and they aren’t on Twitter, so if you’re running late or wondering about the wait you can text them, and if you want to work up an appetite, follow their sleek Instagram account.
739 10th Ave. SW, Calgary403-700-0191 (text)bridgettebar.com
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