Established in 1998 in a century-old brick warehouse, Bookers BBQ + Crab Shack is a hidden gem at the gateway to Calgary's East Village. Known for its Southern cooking, smokehouse barbeque, and all-you-can-eat sprees, Bookers also transforms its converted restaurant into a house of blues with scheduled live music every Friday and Saturday night. From taste buds to eardrums, Bookers BBQ + Crab Shack guarantees an entirely Southern experience with a commitment to feel-good, laid-back hospitality. Freedom and fun are ingrained in the culture, kitchen and guest experience at Bookers. True to that spirit, the menu is 100 per cent authentic Southern and anything but ordinary. Seasoned barbecue chefs slow smoke over 200 lbs of Alberta chicken, beef, and pork every day and serve it up along with fresh seafood, local produce, and original rubs and sauces. Along with exciting new daily features, Bookers house-smoked staples include, slow smoked chicken, St Louis style ribs, and C.A.B beef brisket that is smoked for 12 hours, served with hearty sides from Creole rice to jalapeno mac n’ cheese, baked beans to cornbread.
Bookers was conceived in 1998 by Bruce Claypool and Lance Hurtubise. They wanted a restaurant lounge that celebrated southern cooking, bbq and seafood, something Calgary didn't have yet. Mardi Gras was a big part of Bookers (and it still is) and was celebrated with crab races (you can still see the racing circle on the floor near the new bar), live goldfish shooters (the Humane Society didn't take kindly to this one) and plenty of beads and masks. Over the years, Calgarians embraced Bookers and it became known as the place for all-you-can-eat ribs & crab and live music. It also became the place where Bruce (the catfish, not the person) lived in the large aquarium tank in front of the kitchen. (Every Friday was feeding time, which was a sight to be seen!). Bruce Claypool was a friend/owner/operator of Bookers for many years, and has since passed on. However ask a staff member if they've been there late at night and they'll tell you his spirit still hangs out at the bar! Stampede also gave Bookers another reason to throw a party and over the last 6 years we've had a tent, with numerous corporate parties and dancing girls performing on the bar.