I’m always happy when I can finally scratch a restaurant off my “to try” list, particularly when the restaurant has been on the register for a number of years.
I had initially added Blue Chair Cafe onto said list when I started to hear great things about their vibrant, packed-to-the-rafters, story slam events. The Journal recently reported that the relationship has since ended, but the restaurant has now started hosting their own version of the off-the-cuff narrative competition (on the second Wednesday of every month).
So while it would be logical to think my visit there two weeks ago would have been to attend a story slam, instead, a group of us from my workplace went to support a musically-inclined colleague of ours. He plays in a band called Le Fuzz, who bill themselves as “Alberta world beat fusion”. The quintet are super-talented, vivacious and upbeat, and every time I see them perform, I am amazed at how seamlessly the band is able to transition from one style of music to another. Moreover, they are known for songs sung in languages other than English – including Spanish, Swahili and Mandarin.
A long history as a performance venue (I couldn’t get a clear shot of Le Fuzz…they don’t stand still!)
A coworker commented that the layout of the Blue Chair reminded her of the now-departed Sidetrack Café, with the stage set back into a corner, and a mezzanine level ensuring that even those seated far back had a clear view of the band. With a packed schedule that includes a different performer almost every night, the Blue Chair has to be one of the busiest live music venues in the city.
I loved the bold wall colours, eclectic art, and the globe light fixtures that had been hung at different heights. Combined, the décor made for a very cool but comfortable feel.
A cozy two-top
I had also heard positive reviews about the food, though, as stated on the menu (on the flip side of a record sleeve!), the restaurant is hampered by a small kitchen. I ended up ordering my second choice (they had already run out of turkey chilli), the pad thai ($16).
As it was an absolutely full house, I was expecting a long wait, but was pleasantly surprised. While it was not the most authentic pad thai I’ve had (saucy, mild, and made with vermicelli instead of a flat rice noodle – similar to The King & I’s version), I enjoyed it, and liked the rich peanut and coconut flavours in the sauce. There were also a fair bit of vegetables (julienned carrots, blanched green beans, bean sprouts) included, which added great crunch and colour to the dish.
To enjoy their last song and encore, a few of us found our way to some empty space and made a dance floor (okay, I joined them only for moral support). The wait staff who had to make their way around our cluster were definitely a patient bunch!
In all, Blue Chair Cafe provided a great space to unwind after a long work week. I hope to be back in the future to finally witness a story slam!
Blue Chair Cafe
9624 – 76 Avenue
(780) 989 – 2861
Monday – Sunday 10am-10pm