One can only drink, eat and wander so much during a weekend, but here are my picks from a short visit this spring. If you’re there on a Saturday I highly recommend that you start at the Farmers Market and let the day unfold from there. Perhaps night capping at the Lord Nelson! While Halifax has some upscale wine bar/restaurants I find these places to be the same all over the world ““ not much fun when you’re looking for local colour.
The Wooden Monkey ,1685 Argyle Street www.thewoodenmonkey.ca
Shades of hippy days in San Fran. Lots of cozy nooks, organics, but not strictly vegetarian. Tables opposite the bar are flooded with natural light during the afternoon ““ the back dining room is a romantic place at night. Great murals. Best selection of local wines.
The Lord Nelson Bar, 1515 South Park Street www.lordnelsonhotel.com
Traditional, cozy old bar in the hotel of the same name. Conducive to many pints. Informal, Dublinish atmosphere. Other features are a good wine selection and a kitchen that’s open late.
Garrison Brewing Co.,1149 Marginal Road www.garrisonbrewing.com
There are several craft breweries in town, but Garrison was my fav. It’s located down by Pier 21 ““ beer always seems to taste better close to the ocean! Garrison Pale Ale could hold its own with the best from Britain. Bartender Damien recommended the Raspberry Wheat after mowing the lawn.
Morris East, 5212 Morris Street at Barrington www.morriseast.com
Contemporary café specializing in pizza from a wood burning oven, plus great anti-pasta, sandwiches and salads using mainly local ingredients. Wood-fired cooked potatoes are a must. There’s a few well chosen wines and beers. Relaxed, neighbourhood atmosphere. I liked the historic nature of this locale.
Jane’s on the Common, 2394 Robie Street www.janesonthecommon.com
Contemporary bistro with a great neighbourhood feeling. High quality, comfort food and a simple, good wine list. No pretense ““ just lots of people having a good time. I’d be with them if I lived in Halifax!
FID Restaurant, 1569 Dresden Row www.fidcuisine.ca
Bright, contemporary, arty place offering upscale Franco-Asian food along with a serious commitment to wine. For a gourmet, blow-the-wad, night out.
Ciboulette Café, 1541 Barrington Street www.ciboulette.ca
There’s a few tiny tables that overlook a knitting room. Honest! Watching people knit as you sip you java ““ double relaxing! Good espresso and baked goods by Chives Bistro next door.
Trident Coffee House/Bookstore,1256 Hollis Street www.tridenthalifax.com
Tiny, old-world joint. Excellent espresso and a literary atmosphere.
WINE & FOOD SHOPPING
Halifax Farmer’s Market 1696 Lower Water St. www.halifaxfarmersmarket.com
The place to be on Saturday between 7am and 1pm. Set in a warren of old buildings and courtyards ““ feels like a big party. You can taste all the Nova Scotia wines and Glen Breton Whiskey here too. How civilized!
Bishop’s Cellar, 1477 Lower Water Street www.bishopscorner.com
Just across the road from the market, this independent wine store make a good second stop on Saturday morning. Every inch of the place is jammed with wines from all over the world ““ lots of smaller and organic producers. The feel-good thing that government stores can’t offer.
Port of Wines, Doyle Street at Queen
This is one of the best government wine shops in Canada. Even the largest LCBOs don’t come close to the selection offered here ““ I counted seven wines from Bruce Jack, one of South Africa’s best. The LCBO hasn’t a single bottle.