Despite my best efforts, I ended up with a sports fanatic for a husband – the Flames, Raptors, Blue Jays, Broncos, Stampeders… how could anyone choose? In his spare time, he manages his multiple fantasy teams, plays hockey or baseball on various gaming platforms and sifts through online forums for “news” (read: “gossip”) about his favourite players. I try to listen and be a “cool wife”, but honestly my interest usually only extends as far as the snacks. I get so excited when he wants to watch the Superbowl with me because it means I have his endorsement to purchase and melt an extravagant amount of cheese (as long as there are chips to dip into it).
If I’m going to watch a basketball game and a hockey game one after the other (or simultaneously!) then it might as well be somewhere with great food. Enter Shark Club. I was delighted when they invited Matt and I over to the Deerfoot Meadows location to try their new Happy Hour menu during the NHL/NBA playoffs! Our hockey team really burned us this year and flamed out far too soon (sorry for both the puns and the reminder), so we decided to do some emotional eating over a Raptors game instead. With a facility tour, multiple games showing on side-by-side HD TVs and free reign over the Happy Hour menu, we had some serious enjoying to do.
We barely even sat down before ordering drinks – is there anything more refreshing than a Moscow mule? The Shark Club version comes with a house made chili syrup that gives it a real kick. Matt’s favourite was the Old Fashioned, given a unique twist with their house Earl Grey syrup! Finally, an Old Fashioned sweet enough for me to enjoy as well! It was a really pleasant surprise to see these hand-crafted cocktails are only $5 during Happy Hour.
Happy Hour runs every Monday to Friday from 3 – 6 p.m. and again from 10 p.m. to close. Joining the classic cocktails are $5 pours of domestic and local beer, house wine and highballs. On the food side, $7 can buy you pretty much any appy you can dream up, from calamari with shishito peppers to lettuce wraps to nachos! Oh, and it will absolutely hurt my feelings if anyone does the math on how many calories we ate in one sitting. Warning: the following will be extremely upsetting if you’re craving carbs and/or cheese:
This queso dip wasn’t as bacon-y as we’d hoped, but packed so much zesty Tex Mex flavour that we didn’t mind. The house made corn chips held up really nicely to the dip and the generous sprinkle of scallions and cheese made this extremely scoopable. It was the closest we came to regretting one of our orders, if only because of its enormous size. Perfect to feed a crowd!
Full disclosure, we both fully forgot to try the spicy ketchup because the truffle aioli is what’s up. The scent of truffle hitting the table as soon as our server brought these over made my mouth water. Matt became a bit agitated while I too-slowly snapped my photos. I appreciate his suffering, but would like to add that these were definitely worth the wait. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside and so very truffly, this was also a hefty portion I’d suggest splitting between a couple of friends.
Fun fact: Shark Club Deerfoot Meadows won the 3rd annual Cowboys Wing Off just a few weeks before we stopped by. They entered a trio of flavours, but the submission that took home the big prize was this zippy dry rub they call Shark Spice. In addition to it being one of their 10+ wing flavours, you can also get it on their boneless pork dry ribs, or Shark Bites. I couldn’t begin to name all the flavours we could taste up in there, but all you need to know is we were both very carefully eyeballing each other’s portions to make sure everyone was getting their fair share. To say these were completely relationship-ruining and addictive would be an understatement.
We asked our server what she thought the most underrated item on the Happy Hour menu might be, and she struggled to answer. Most of their guests come in big groups and order a tableful of items, so she didn’t really feel that too many dishes were missing their day in the sun. She finally settled on one of her favourites, the cheese toast, which you might think is easy enough to recreate at home and not really a special occasion snack. She was right – I had completely overlooked it, and it ended up being my favourite, too! The mellow mozzarella rounded out the stronger asiago, cheddar and manchego, but there was something sweet under those layers of cheese that perfectly complemented the savoury treat. We were stumped, then delighted when staff members told us it’s a guava spread! This crisp ciabatta is slathered with butter and guava, layered with cheese and toasted to perfection. An absolute winner that I’ll be prioritizing in my order the next time we come in!
Shark Club is in that sweet spot of fun times. Our visit to the Deerfoot Meadows location really left a great impression. They always put on a variety of broadcasts – apparently UFC is one of their bigger draws – and they convert part of the space into a dance floor later in the evening on weekends. They have a wind-sheltered patio (with TVs) outside, a private event space upstairs and tons of seating. They even take reservations, which is a critical quality I look for in a venue when I’m planning pre-drinks before a big game. Their well-lit, clean lounge areas and the friendly, attentive service from their all-star staff make it a welcoming space to spend time well past the end of the after-work Happy Hour. Not to mention their well-made cocktails and high quality food menu go way beyond my expectations for a sports bar.
I highly recommend you check out Shark Club’s new Happy Hour menu when you can, whether you’re a die hard sports fan or just a big ol’ fan of tater tots. You can send your thank you note directly to my inbox after you try the guava-spiked cheese toast!