“In the world of football, it’s called the Granddaddy of Them All”

250px-Rose_Bowl_Game_logo

The Rose Bowl

10111-117 Street, Edmonton

Just north of Jasper Avenue, on 117 Street, there used to be a bar slash pizza joint called the Rose Bowl. It was home to one of the city’s finest pies and watering hole for many of its oddest citizens. Six years ago, I was living in a house 56 steps (not my count) from the Rose Bowl, and needless to say, it became a large part of my life. Most nights either began or ended there and, with a good friend tending bar, the Rose Bowl seemed like an extension of my living arrangement.

As a bar, the Rose Bowl was your standard neighbourhood pub: Karaoke on Thursdays (hosted by Mike McDonald of Maibu Kens fame), open Mic on Saturdays, and sadness during the week. On the weekends a younger crowd would mix with the older regulars, and it was usually a lot of fun.

As a pizza joint, the Rose Bowl was amazing. They were not trying to re-write the book as far as toppings/specials are concerned (I did not try the seafood special though), but they knew how to put together a good pizza. Any pie was made twice as nice with the addition of their secret Spicy Sauce option. That stuff was key. On the off-chance that you forgot to ask for the Spicy Sauce, your pizza experience was, simply put, “less-than”.

The Rose Bowl ‘za was literally the stuff of legend. According to my lovable (but gullible) bartender friend, Sarah Mclaughlin would demand Rose Bowl’s pizza when in-town, and an Edmonton ex-pat living overseas had once paid to have a 12 inch flown to his new home in Germany.

In 2006 or so, the Rose Bowl Pizza and Bar – a downtown Edmonton institution – underwent an awkward re-branding. The broken tables were replaced with fancy booths, its name was changed to the Rouge Lounge, and its regular crowd of older men, was replaced with, well, nobody. The Rose Bowl had gone from a modest neighbourhood pub to a fake-club with a disingenuous website.

The pizza is bassically the same under the new bowl order, and you can still order the Spicy Sauce, but it doesn’t taste the same to me.

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Very nice, I wish I’d lived here to experience that place, though I would probably have been too scared to go (nerves-related). I notice that Rouge Lounge shows UFC, that’s a last ditch effort for a supposed “club”. Do they do delivery? Where did those old men move to? What’s Malibu Mike doing now?

  2. this site is excellent.
    this post was beautiful, nostalgic, i was envisioning days in an old fashioned pizza joint in blurry, muted colors … and then, gentrification, capitalism seemed to have won out -their new web site is unreal- and i almost began to weep.
    i’m also remembering being little and realising that i actually preferred other places to the standard pizza hut … and growing up, and looking around to see that somehow pizza hut survived while the mom and pop places sold out or just closed down.
    it’s the back stories i always find compelling.


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