Those looking to add a little magic in their lives need to look no further than Calgary’s Inglewood community.
It’s there where Sony Sharma drew inspiration from her favourite books — the Harry Potter series — to open Calgary’s first permanent magic-themed bar, The Potion Room.
“I’ve been a die-hard Potter fan, magical-themed fan my whole life, so I’ve always wanted to do something that brings out other fans as well,” said Sharma.
“There’s a lot of people like myself who are timid in a lot of places, but this is a place where a lot of nerds like myself can let loose. Even non-Potter fans can enjoy it because it’s a cocktail bar.”
Potter-themed drinks tested and re-tested
The process to open took months, she said. Each drink, also known as potions and elixirs, was rigorously tested. Sharma said there was a desire from the beginning to concoct high-end drink options. It was also important to include a full-scale menu and a decor that draws off its magical theme.
“We wanted to bring in something that’s an actual enchanted feeling, so that was quite the lengthy process to put in a starry night ceiling,” she said.
“Every single cocktail was tested, re-tested (and) made 30-plus times. Each recipe was done over and over to get the proper taste and then coming up with all the names and all the details to make people interested.”
And it isn’t just a one-time thing, either. Sharma said there plans in place for specific menus for each season of the year.
The menu pays homage to the Harry Potter books penned by J.K. Rowling. Every item is priced with ¾ at the end of it. It’s a tip of the wand to Platform 9 ¾, the train stop that where a students’ journey to Hogwarts begins and ends.
Opening comes after Diagon Alley shut down
Sharma’s wanted to open this type of bar for some time. It came to a head when The Potion Room opened just after Christmas. Since then, Sharma said they’ve received a warm welcome.
“It’s been a really amazing response… the last two weekends we’ve had lineups around the street.”
In mid-June 2019 it was announced that Kensington’s Diagon Alley — a Harry Potter-themed street festival — was shut down.
For more information on The Potion Room, visit their Facebook page.