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Guest Review by Owen

The Unicorn, A Requiem:

What can one say about the Unicorn Free House on Steven Ave in Calgary, except that it wasn't really a free house, it had a deal with Labatts. No Molson products there. (It never used to be like that, it used to be a Molson tied house) But the full range of two Irish beers was there, Guinness and Kilkenney, (sp?) which was always enough for us when served in addition to the Kieth's India Pale Ale which was on special every Thursday night when the live music alternated between the Dory Mates, (a band playing Newfoundland maritime Celtic) and Martin's Barber, who played irish traditional music with such enthusiasm and joy that we went back week after week, just to see them play.

The pints were pulled with a minimum of head (none at all on the Kieth's usually) and I was often beaten to the table by my Pint if Jenny or Kelly saw my feet coming down the stairs. The service alternated between lightning fast and friendly and surly and slow. But the beauty of it was that even when the service was surly and slow, we were so thoroughly abused by our waitresses that it seemed okay in the end. ("Oh, right, you wanted your food brought out when it was Hot? Whatever. You're lucky you get anything at all. (wink)")

The food wasn't bad, either. The fish and chips were voluminous, and you could either get lunch sized (girly sized) or full (man) sized. I'm a pretty big guy, but I never finished the big fish and chips. I often finished the Taco Salad, however, which was also huge and filled with a reasonable facsimile of fresh vegetables. The Nachos were generally overdone, the cheese hardened into a sheet of orange leather by the time it arrived, but we always managed to gnaw our way through it. Also popular was the Mud Pie dessert, which was really quite good, and seemed like a good value, although the price escapes me.

What kept us coming back to the Unicorn, however, was the atmosphere. When I walked down the stairs from street level into the basement, I felt like a great weight was lifting off my shoulders. I have had great times at the Unicorn, eating, drinking, and being merry. I have heard great music, danced, and had a blast.

What made the Unicorn better than any other bar? Buggered with the wide end of a pint glass if I know, but it was. It gets Five Pints. Two pints of Kilkenny, Two of Guinness, and one of Kieth's, with a coke for the designated driver, and an earl grey tea for Heather.

Score: Five Pints

The Unicorn is now closed, and I am told by semi-reliable sources that it has changed ownership and is now being remodeled. If and when it reopens, expect a review, but one which might not be so favorable. I hope that whatever they do they don't get rid of our corner booth (right by the hallway to the bathrooms, convenient to the Guinness tap and the can, what could have been better than that?)

So until the next time at the Unicorn, Slante, Cheers, and Sociabaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal.

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