Behind the Bar: Model Milk

For the ultimate dining experience, look no further than 17th Ave for the revived dairy (and once upon a time disco) that Calgary now knows as Model Milk (308 17th Ave SW). With a bustling open kitchen, exposed brick and weathered wood planks, the building’s latest reincarnation is a stellar combination of industrial cool and culinary warmth. Eating and drinking to your heart’s content is a concrete must here – Model Milk has built its reputation on unpredictable pairings that make it such an exciting place to experience.


Bar Manager Madeleine MacDonald reveals that the magic of the bar lies in the people working behind it. For her team, inspiration comes from many places. Seasonality remains a constant but she also finds inspiration in the classics. Lately, MacDonald is trying her hand at shrubs (infused drinking vinegars) and says she “likes experimenting with different flavours that people aren’t expecting.”


It can’t go unnoticed that her bar staff are as unique and eclectic as the drinks they are creating. MacDonald says “everyone is extremely creative” and always push her to look at things differently. Without this stellar roster of bartenders, the bar wouldn’t pack such a boozy punch. Though, she also sneaks in, “it doesn’t hurt that [they] have a huge bourbon selection.”


So, let’s set the scene. You’re welcomed into Model Milk’s bar and take a seat under low-lit, milk bottle light installations. You casually admire the bartender’s glorious button-down and wonder what you dare to drink. MacDonald suggests a menu staple – the Bourbon Sour. Think of it as a palette cleanser for cocktails to come. Next, go for the Model Milk original ‘Envy No Good’ – Trosba Tequila, Kümmel Liquor, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and salt bitters. Hints of caraway and cumin with sharp citrus round out Model Milk’s signature of bold flavour pairings.

Plentiful opportunities await you: Sunday suppers, Model Citizen on Thursday evenings and their eagerly anticipated sister restaurant Pigeonhole is on the cusp of opening just next door. Model Milk is making moves on 17th – make a move of your own and find a seat at their bar. Stat.

Stay up-to-date on what’s happening at Model Milk by following them online below:

Twitter: @ModelMilkBistro
Instagram: @modelmilk

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