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Two 11th Avenue pubs bring back Electric Avenue for Calgary Flames playoff run

It’s the modern version of Three Cheers and Fox and Firkin. Throw in a little Coconut Joe’s and Bandito’s.

Two 11 Avenue pubs are attempting to gift the Calgary Flames with special luck these playoffs by bringing back Electric Avenue, the notorious party zone from the Flames’ only Stanley Cup winning year in 1989.

Last Best Brewing and Broken City are partnering in the promotion, as well as Wild Rose Brewery, who named their Electric Avenue lager after the location.

Younger Flames fans may know the Red Mile as the team’s signature playoff headquarters for fans.

But according to James Hill, a senior manager with Last Best, fans were forgetting the original, and better, destination for playoff memories.

“We were confused why everyone goes to 17th Avenue, when the Flames first won the Cup on Electric Avenue,” said Hill.

“I’ve heard all the stories about that crazy [1980s] run, read a bunch on it, watched a bunch of documentaries. . .I’ve been lucky enough to experience a couple of runs here and there for the playoffs, but everyone goes to 17th, and we just thought it’d be fun to bring everyone back.”

The original Electric Avenue was centered around 11 Avenue SW, with one of the hottest spots being a bar called Coconut Joe’s. Broken City is across the street from Coconut Joe’s former location.

“Broken City used to be called Stinky’s Sports Bar, which is the worst name ever,” said Charlie Hinton, co-owner of Broken City.

Hinton said that they were inspired by stories from Tubby Dog owner Jon Truch, who worked on Electric Avenue in the 1980s.

Just as the most famous edition of the Red Mile did in 2004, when the Flames came within a goal of winning the Cup, Electric Avenue became infamous for its raucous atmosphere.

A 2013 retrospective by Avenue Magazine notes that “the high concentration of bars, mixed with the density of drunken patrons, made nightly altercations ubiquitous on the Avenue. Fistfighting was the strip’s official sport, and dustups were just as likely to involve door staff.”

Hinton was careful to note he was not looking to recreate that atmosphere.

“It’s all good fun. I mean, we want to preach safety and all that jazz now,” he said.

Last Best Brewpub, left, and Broken City pub, far right, in Calgary.

At the same time as the two pubs are seeking to distinguish themselves from others as a fan haunt this spring. They’re also attempting to breathe new life into a struggling industry, and foster the magical community feeling a long playoff run can bring.

“17th has definitely been hit hard, but we’ve been hit just as hard,” said Hill.

“We just want it to work together [with the Red Mile],” added Hinton.

“It’s that whole idea of community collaborative, you know?”

The Flames recently clinched the Western Conference for the first time since the 1989-90 season. Bringing back Electric Avenue is not just about nostalgia, but a good-luck charm after 30 years of heartbreak.

“The Red Mile’s great, it’s all good fun, but the last few times we partied there, we’ve lost,” said Hill.