30 pints for 30 years at the Calgary Rose & Crown
The pub celebrates three decades of music, booze and ghosts
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The Rose & Crown is celebrating it’s dirty 30 this weekend, building on three decades of live music, a great atmosphere and genuinely spooky happenings.
But before we talk about where the Rose & Crown is, it’s important to know where it came from.
The build currently known as the Rose & Crown pub was actually built some time in the 1920s. Shortly after, it became a funeral home.
“In 1983, I was actually at a funeral here,” recalled current General Manager Dennis Madden. “A few years after that it turned into the Rose & Crown. It’s probably one of the longest standing pubs in downtown Calgary.”
Madden has been working at the pub for about 18 years and has been a major contributor to its current reputation as a great venue for live music.
Turn up the music
In the past 10 years, local musician Matt Blais has performed at the Rose & Crown about 10 times. It’s far from the funeral parlour it used to be – there’s a distinct raucous energy that permeates through the floors of the building when people are having fun.
“My favourite time was probably a Halloween show we did there,” recalled Blais. “They had party buses of people coming through and everyone in costume. People were getting wild – they were up on the stage with us. It was like we had 20 beautiful women as backup singers in the band.”
Creating the atmosphere has always been Madden’s favourite part of the job.
“I get to plan the party, get the booze together, pick the theme of the weekend, talk to the entertainers and beer reps and advertise,” he smiled. “Then I see the people stream in here, like, ‘wow, this is great.’ That brings me a lot of satisfaction.”
Of course, through the years the stage had to be added and the building had to be tweaked, painted and restored, but the bones of the original funeral home still remain intact – giving rise the legends that the pub is haunted.
Spiritual medium Marnie Hill could feel the presence of a man – a caretaker – as she approached the pub for the first time. Hill specializes in readings and has visited to communicate with the spirits there.
She said they’re everywhere in the pub. In the washroom, someone whispered hello to her. A couple welcomed her in, a child led her to the third floor, and a man found a safe place for his spirit in the bar – but had a tendency to suck in energy, which includes draining cell batteries.
But Hill stressed it wasn't a scary place.
“A lot of souls feel drawn to the location, but not in a negative way. In a positive way,” she said.
Madden believes the ghost stories. Over the years he’s seen things, felt things – heard things. But it’s never felt like any spirit there was evil.
“I often thought, 'what a great place to hang around as a spirit – a bar that has music, sports, girls, guys, food, booze and a dance floor,'” he laughed. “I’d rather hang out here than a library or a Walmart.”
The celebration takes place Nov. 18, from 4 p.m. until close. There will be live music, of course, with artists like Conrad Walz, Kaley Kinjo and the Rustic Brothers. There will also be giveaways of bicycles and barbeques every hour and specials on drinks.
The bar will be filled with musicians who have performed in the pub before, along with old customers, staff and more.