I live a block and a half away from a bar called The Cabin Pub & Party. As a twenty-something year old, I like to spend my weekends and nights off at a bar, eating, drinking and being merry. With the pub so close, I’ve found myself becoming a regular at The Cabin, but last weekend, I decided to put my reviewer hat on, go in with fresh eyes, and try to decide if the bar down the street can really be any good.
As I approached the intersection of 116 St. and Jasper Ave. people were lining up outside the pub to be checked in, and clusters of people were huddled around the ashtrays, trying to preserve their body heat (and the heat coming from their cigarettes). Mid-November probably isn’t the best time to go out partying, but on a Friday night, The Cabin was packed.
The bouncer greeted me like an old friend, and I knew that he would usher me to the front of the line, but instead I opted to stand in the cold for a few minutes and get my ID checked. Once inside, a second bouncer scanned my ID with their fancy machine, took my picture, and let me inside. It adds a level of security knowing that anyone with bans on their IDs from other bars won’t be let in.
As I entered, I let my senses adjust to the loud music and dim lighting. To my right was a full size camper trailer inside the bar, where patrons were seated and servers were dodging in and out with their trays. To my left were a couple of high top tables and booths that were also filled with patrons, and a swinging porch chair that was attached by a pulley system to the ceiling. Right in front of me was the bar with tall shelves stocked with any type of alcohol one can think of.
I wandered the venue, letting my fingers thaw from the outside air. The dance floor at the back was packed with people, some of whom were full on making out and grinding in front of everyone. The most amazing thing was to the back right: a beer wall that was filled with 20 to 30 taps to pour your own drink. They were recognizable brands, such as Coors and Heineken, as well as some local brews from Sea Change in Edmonton, and Hop Valley. It wasn’t all beer either, it also had lemonade and cider choices. All the drinks on the wall are 46 cents an ounce, or $7.36 a pint. I’d never seen anything like it before. Across from the beer wall are the bathrooms and the entrance to the kitchen.
I took my second lap around the bar, and looked for a place to sit. All the cabin-themed booths were full, and all the hightops were packed, so I decided to sit at the bar, near the caravan trailer, close to the entrance.
Taking a peek at the drink menu, I decided to order a drink called “That One Guy With a Guitar,” which is tequila, sourpuss, lime juice, and sprite, and $13. Although it was more expensive than I would prefer for a simple cocktail, the drink was really well made and deliciously sour. In fact, I would sure hope it was well made, since the bartender had to refer back to the menu in order to remember what was in it. I suspect that not many people order off the drink menu, based on her reaction to me ordering it and needing a recipe to make it.
It being a Friday night, I also decided to order the food special, potato nachos for $12. I had ordered them before and was disappointed with the sogginess of the potato chips and the mushroom to cheese ratio. I was hesitant to order them again. When they arrived, I was just as disappointed as the first time. The chips got soggy quickly, and despite how hungry I was, the mountain was way too big for me to finish on my own.
I got a few more drinks, and I couldn’t help but to say hi to my Cabin friends, and dance like crazy when a good song came on. The regulars at The Cabin are good people, they are kind and generous, and many people I’ve met through the bar have become close friends.
Taking one last look around the venue before trekking back home, I conclude that for a bar that tries to be divey, it sure does have a hint of class. It’s a sport’s bar with a twist, a downtown watering hole with a personality. For a bar next door, it’s certainly not bad, but as for an introduction to Edmonton’s party culture, it’s not a first pick, especially since it advertises itself as a party spot.
As a regular at The Cabin, it’s hard for me to say it’s not an ideal spot, but as a reviewer, it’s too expensive for the mediocre services they offer, and if it wasn’t so close, I probably wouldn’t spend as much time (and money) as I do at The Cabin.
The Cabin Pub & Party 11606 Jasper Ave Edmonton, AB T5K 0N2 (780) 454-9928