Behind the Name: Calgary's Raw Bar

How this well-known hotel restaurant got its name

If you've called Calgary home for more than a decade, you'll likely know Raw Bar is one of the city's institutions when it comes to cocktails. What was originally meant to be a banquet space in the back corner of Calgary’s Hotel Arts evolved over the years into a cocktail-forward eatery that offers modern Asian cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere.

When it opened in 2005, Raw Bar identified more-so as a sushi bar, hence the name, but it would soon grow into its own and better reflect the Vietnamese heritage of its original executive chef and part owner, Duncan Ly (now the owner of Foreign Concept).

“The tricky part [of conceptualizing this restaurant was] that the space around it was an old, broken-down storage room and it had no kitchen”, says Mark Wilson, general manager and VP of the Hotel Arts Group. “Because of these challenges, we knew we needed a restaurant concept that we could serve-up fresh food that was made right there, in front of the customer, without a kitchen”.


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Since its renovation in 2015, Raw Bar has operated with a fully functioning kitchen that combines flavours of countries like Thailand and Vietnam in their eclectic dishes paired with creative cocktails.

Raw Bar remains closed for dine-in service until further notice, but make sure to check out the Hotel Arts website for further updates as well as takeout features from the hotel's various concepts.