After arriving at Fairmont Banff Springs, we recommend a process: check-in, direct luggage to your suite, then retreat to the Rundle Bar on the main floor to relax and plan the evening. Considered the ‘living room’ or ‘heart’ of the hotel, Rundle Bar emulates a sense of luxury and elegance while also being a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere where guests socialize and unwind.
The expansive two-storey bar boasts custom bronze and wood engraving, a continuation of the hotel’s historical thistle motif, a rolling library ladder, and double-volume arches that were once part of the original building façade.
Blink, and you may miss it; one of the original arches serves as the ‘secret’ entrance to an expansive speakeasy-style private room which is masked by bookshelves and floor-to-ceiling doors.
Two Floors of Inspiring Mountain Views
The second floor is an opulent space with a dedicated cocktail bar and plush lounge seating. Guests seated here not only get to enjoy sweeping views of the Rundle and Cascade mountains but can also take in all the action overlooking the lively bar below. No matter your choice of table, the atmosphere is lively and the service impeccable.
This casually elegant space was recently revamped – to the tune of $5M – and unveiled in July 2020 after a six-month closure. The female-led firm FRANK Architecture from Calgary was responsible for the new look and took home a Canadian Interiors’ Best in Canada’ Award in 2021 for it.
Plant-based Dining at Rundle
The Rundle Bar opens daily for lunch and closes after midnight. Executive Chef Robert Ash designed the menu, which features traditional afternoon tea and classic lounge favourites complemented by globally-influenced Pan Asian dishes. Enjoy with hand-crafted cocktails, local craft beer, and an extensive wine list.
From the menu, we enjoyed a great selection of plant-based stand-outs. We began with Crispy Chickpeas with togarashi nori salt & lime, tangy Guacamole with lime, chilli, avocado smash, pico de gallo & crispy tortilla chips, and Cheese Popcorn with green onion salt & nutritional yeast. Followed by a basil pesto, pine nut, and arugula crispy Flatbread, and Summer Rolls with marinated tofu, cashew sauce, veggies, and rice noodles, all delicately wrapped with rice paper. So satisfying!
Shaking it Up at Rundle Bar’s Cocktail Classes
The Rundle Bar’s talented cocktail curators host cocktail classes at 3:00 pm daily. Guests are invited to sign up in groups of up to eight to shake up their happy hour and learn how to make their Signature Bottled Cocktails from skilled bartenders.
During our visit, we enjoyed a cocktail class with Gerry Spahn, Head of Communications for Americas Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. Never having shaken a cocktail, the experience was educational, fun, and a great way to enjoy the mid-afternoon with a friend.
Our mixologist, Eric, entertained us with his cocktail and ice-making knowledge, proper swirling technique, pour dynamics, and history of all the bitters on the bar. Together we crafted three cocktails, all of which lean heavily on locally produced spirits, syrups, and garnish to accomplish their unique flavours and presentations. If you fancy yourself a cocktail crafter, we invite you to mix these three up at home or pick up the premixed version in adorable glass bottles on your next trip.
In July of 2020, The Rundle Bar launched a signature Rundle Bar Gin in partnership with Canmore-based Wild Life Distillery, which can be tasted in cocktails throughout the hotel and purchased at Fairmont Banff Spring’s STOCK Food & Drink.
The locally distilled gin features butterfly pea flowers to create a vibrant purple hue when citrus and tonic are added. It is paired with flavourful botanical ingredients, including juniper, coriander, lemon and grapefruit peel, angelica, orris and licorice root, to create a perfectly balanced floral gin.
Additionally, each of cocktails in the class is available bottled and fit perfectly in a handbag, so no matter where you are on the mountain, a refreshing cocktail is always within reach!
Iconic Peak Cocktail Created by Nils Schabert
Gaze across Lake Louise and Marvel in the Majesty of the Towering Giants, All Iconic Peaks
1.5 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon
0.75 oz Taylor Fladgate 10 Year
0.5 oz Select Aperitivo 1.0 oz Lemon Juice
0.5 oz Honey Water (sub Agave)
2 dashes of Angostura Bitters Amareena Cherries
Combine ingredients over ice in a shaker. Shake vigorously for fifteen seconds. Double Strain over King Cube. Garnish with cherries.
- Helen Siwak is the founder of EcoLuxLuv Communications, publisher of Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, and multiple digital lifestyle blogs. She is a content creator, consultant, and marketing and media strategist in the luxury lifestyle niche. She is a regular content contributor to Retail-Insider and has a vast freelance portfolio including Boulevard English & Chinese editions, Indulge, and Montecristo Magazine. When not attending high-profile events in Vancouver's 'Luxury Zone’ or on assignment abroad, she is honing her plant-based cooking skills and caring for her rescues. [email protected]
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