By Anna Chan
Wings, the ultimate in carnivorous pub food. We crave them and can’t get enough. So, to fill our craving, a team of hungry Gauntleteers went in search of good wings, good service and good pints. For a wing night, we also decided to note wing related necessities, such as wing size and potency as well as location of facilities.
Trapper’s Bar and Grill
3919 Richmond Rd.. SW
The night started with the cheapest wings available on a Thursday wing night. Trapper’s Bar and Grill offered 10 cent wing nights on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting at 4 p.m., and five cent wings between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Saturdays. For a busy Thursday night, service was adequate and friendly. There was live music and the typical game machines, but the crowd was more mature than the average student. With a requirement to order a drink other than water, the accompanying wings ordered in groups of 12 were the smallest of the night, over cooked, and poorly flavoured. The flavours tasted at Trapper’s were salt and pepper, honey garlic, teriyaki, medium, and hot. The medium wings were equally as potent as the hot, only the hot had more of the same spicy sauce. The salt and pepper wings appeared to be flavoured by having salt and pepper poured over a basket of wings. The salt and pepper was uneven and didn’t stick to the chicken. I was also informed that it tasted like paper, my informant assured me that he had a point of reference. Pints, however, are reasonably priced at $4.20, wet-naps are supplied with the wings, and washrooms were easily accessible. Ultimately, 10 cent wings don’t offer a lot.
Bass Brothers Beerhouse and Grill
1136 Kensington Rd. NW
Next up was Bass Brothers Beerhouse and Grill in Kensington. Here, a younger crowd enjoys top 40 and rock music, though busier crowds affect service. Every Monday and Thursdays, wings were feasted upon at $3 per pound. Flavours tasted at Bass Brothers were salt and pepper, teriyaki, Jack Daniel’s BBQ, and the hottest wings they had available. Wings were plumper than their 10 cent predecessors, but the pros end there. The hottest wings available were anything but hot. At best they were mild. The salt and pepper wings were poorly flavoured, having more salt than pepper. Unique to Bass Brothers was the Jack Daniel’s BBQ flavoured wings, but the Jack Daniel’s part of the flavouring was impossible to detect. The wings were also served without wet-naps, and a trip to the washroom is a treacherous maze down stairs and around dark hallways. Be careful of the trip, especially after a few pints, which perhaps won’t be an issue as each pint costs $5.30. It was clear, we needed to move on and find wing redemption.
207-10A St. NW
Our next scheduled stop was Kensington Pub for 25 cent wings. However, upon arrival we discovered that it wasn’t a technical wing night and pints were a whopping $5.65. We didn’t mind leaving this establishment and their three flavours of wings as we knew wing redemption wouldn’t be found here.
Regal Beagle Neighborhood Pub
410-14th St. NW
We needed to end the night on a high note, so off to the Regal Beagle Neighborhood Pub. Perhaps Fast Forward’s poll voted them the best place for wings in Calgary, but we had to find out for ourselves. The Regal Beagle offers 15 cent wings on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday every week. Being a Thursday crawl, we weren’t able to enjoy the benefits of a wing night, but everything else was still up for evaluation.
The crowd was considerably thin as we arrived at the Beagle just after 11 p.m.on a regular night, which proved to be conducive to good service. The flavours tasted here were the salt and pepper, BBQ, honey garlic, teriyaki, suicide, and a house specialty, the “beagle” flavour. All of the wings were thoroughly seasoned and were plumper and meatier than both Bass Brothers and Trapper’s. Redemption was finally discovered. Here is where we came across the best salt and pepper wings of the night. The seasoning stuck to the wing and was both salty and peppery.
For the first time of the night suicide wings, the hottest the Regal Beagle had to offer, lived up to its name. A quick whiff of the suicide wings will give a coughing indication of what’s to come. We recommend you intersperse these wings with other flavours, pints starting at $4.70, or with water. The Regal Beagle does have a few restrictions on wing nights. A drink order must be placed with each 10 wings ordered, or 30 wings for a pitcher of beer. The wings also consist of just the wing’s mid-section, no drumstick parts in sight. And surprisingly, no wet-naps. We were informed the high volume of customers and multiple wing nights makes supplying wet-naps costly. So, off to the washroom we went, to discover the door signs difficult to read and only one sink available in each bathroom. The combination of single sinks and no wet-naps possesses the potential for frustration on busy wing nights.
After a few trivial wings and expensive pints, we found wing redemption. We parted ways with our stomachs full of chicken, mouths covered in sauce, declaring the night a delicious success. Some final tips for wing night attendees: pack floss or toothpicks, and bring wet-naps or handwash.
(Editor’s Note: No beagles were harmed in the making of this review or in the process of the Wing Night Crawl. Can’t say the same for chickens…)