Walking into The Hat on Jasper Avenue, with its polished wooden floors and old-fashioned brick walls, feels like stepping into a 1930s speakeasy. The restaurant is one of the longest-running businesses in downtown Edmonton and remains in its original location. It has been operating for 107 years, beginning as a diner called The Silk Hat in 1913 and going through many phases to become the restaurant and pub it is now.
Owner Mike Bhatnagar bought the location and business six years ago and renovated it to become the perfect mix of trendy pub and historical locale that Edmontonians can enjoy today.
Local Edmonton residents have often gone out of their way to tell Mike that the restaurant is vital to the downtown core’s history and that they are grateful that he has kept it up as well as he has. The Hat, in some form or another, has been a presence on Jasper Ave. for as long as locals can remember.
As for studying, The Hat offers many tables with booth-style seating running along the entire length and movable stools on the other side to accommodate slightly larger groups.
The tables are big enough to spread out your books and supplies, and of course provide enough space for you to order a drink or meal alongside your studying. The added bonus of free Wi-Fi along with the cozy atmosphere makes The Hat a great location to spend your study day.
After the initial afternoon lunch rush, the place typically calms down leaving plenty of opportunity to grab a snack and catch up on studies during the week.
On the subject of food and drinks, both menus offer many options for every preference. The Hat features daily drink specials catering to a wide range of styles and tastes, which is great for any financially struggling student looking to come and try something new or to get their tried-and-true favourite at a discount. The Hat boasts an abundant wine list, featuring both local and international bottles, on special by the glass on Thursdays and by the bottle on Saturdays.
For something a little different, stop by on Wednesdays and sample selected Scotches on sale — a less common offering by restaurants, available due to the owner’s personal affinity for the beverage.
A must-try house cocktail is the This Little Piggy Caesar, which features BAKON brand vodka, a maple syrup-infused, chopped bacon rim, and, as the menu declares, a ‘hunk of pig’ — a slice of perfectly crispy bacon on a skewer next to a spicy green bean. For only $7, this drink comes with its own complimentary appetizer!
The Hat is known to host private events, for which they reserve their entire spacious restaurant at no rental charge — an appealing idea for larger groups of student-run initiatives looking for event locations.
The Hat is located very close to MacEwan University, at 10251 Jasper Ave., a quick LRT ride away and with plenty of parking on surrounding streets, which is free after 6 p.m.
The Hat’s latest news is the addition of a food truck, The Hat on Wheels, which delivers restaurant-quality menu items to mobile and distant locations such as festivals, business conferences, and recently University of Alberta events.
The This Little Piggy Caesar features BAKON brand vodka alongside Clamato juice, and garnishes galore. The drink comes with a bacon skewer, spicy pickled bean, and lemon and lime wedges.
The Hat on Jasper
10251 Jasper Ave.
Monday/Tuesday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Wednesday/Thursday: 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Friday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Saturday: 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.