The concept is killer. An almond milk latte with your manicure? A mimosa with your blowout? How about all of the above plus some appetizers to keep you satiated with five of your closest friends for your next birthday celebration? At Distilled you can do all of that, or you can just keep it simple and grab a coffee. By combining the more traditional beauty bar concept with a social house, Distilled has become a staple neighbourhood hangout in Calgary’s Marda Loop.
And did I mention how beautiful it is? With perfectly elegant and yet warmly inviting interior design by one of Canada’s best (and a Calgary local) Nam Dang-Mitchell, Distilled could easily be one of the chicest spots in Calgary for coffee, a cocktail, or a salon service.
Lucky for me, one of the owners of this trendy new spot is my aunt (well, technically she’s my cousin but I don’t call her that), Lisa Maric. It means I not only get to spend a ton of time hanging out here, but I have seen, first hand, the hours upon hours Lisa spent mulling over every single detail of this place while she built it from the bottom up. From the cups your tea is served in to the array of products they use on your skin, hair, nails, etc. Lisa has gone over every option and picked nothing but the finest, and with of course, nothing but the most eye-pleasing, minimalist packaging.
The coffee is provided by Calgary’s local roaster, Rosso, the hair products are all Living Proof (a favourite of mine), and I can promise you will not be displeased with the selection of nail polish colours, which include gorgeous neutrals like stone grey and deep mauve in both shiny and matte finishes.
You’ll also find Distilled has pop-up shops for local producers, like Jewelry by Amanda. And all the other products used or sold are hand-picked by a woman who I can tell you for certain has incredibly refined taste. That means all-natural ingredients, local if possible, and in terms of food you can find both vegan and gluten free options.
Initially, Distilled was only serving coffee, but now they have expanded to include a full bar. So whether you’re looking for a caffeine boost or a cocktail, they’ve got you covered.
And then of course there’s the beauty bar side of Distilled, where you’re not sitting in gross plastic massage chairs, but rather, you’re sitting in comfortable armchairs from West Elm while you get your toes painted, or up at the finger bar, where as you get your cuticles carefully looked after, you’ll notice all the thought that went into the decor at Distilled to create the perfectly balanced aesthetic of trendy yet classic.
In the back area of Distilled is where you’ll find the bathrooms (duh) but also the treatment rooms for things like waxing, facials, and mink eyelashes. This is where they also have space for parties, and sinks/chairs for you to get your hair blown out.
Distilled is the first of it’s kind in Calgary, and it’s multi-concept plan that houses spa services and a restaurant under one roof is certainly one of few across Canada. One of it’s owners, Lisa, has never opened a storefront business, let alone one that is essentially three different businesses (food/beverage, nail salon, and blowout salon and spa), and if you can’t already tell, she has poured her heart and soul into it. She is not the owner that sits back and watches; she is the one taking out the trash, going around and making sure everyone’s water glasses are full, and taking your jacket as you come in.
So, yes, the decor is stunning (it was designed by Nam Dang-Mitchell, of course it’s gorgeous). Yes, the coffee is delicious, and so are the range of foods they bring in from a local chef. Yes, the quality of service is TOP NOTCH with warm and welcoming staff, including Lisa’s two sons. But the heart of Distilled is Lisa.
You can bet you’ll meet her if you pop in, and chances are she’ll introduce herself to you and welcome you in as if she were welcoming you into her home. You can also bet she’ll do everything she can to make sure your experience is both special and worthwhile. And if true dedication and care to make sure every customer has a personalized, enjoyable, and memorable experience isn’t what you want from a place you’re going to be trusting with your business, than what is?