I feel pretty fortunate to live in Halifax. For a town of about 400,000 people, it punches well above its weight for food, drink, art and music. When I travel, I’m always looking for things that let me get a taste of the culture; a brief feel for what it would be like to live in a place. With that in mind, here are 7 ideas for the visitor looking to get a feel for my hometown. Whether you’re in town for a day or a week, check out a couple of these aimed at the food/drink/music loving 30-something.
1. A show at The Company House (@thecompanyhouse) – I think this is Halifax’s friendliest bar. If it was in my immediate neighbourhood, I might never leave. The music here tends toward the singer-songwriter, folksy/acoustic in style, and frequently local. The sound is first rate. There’s a great selection of drinks and a limited menu of bar snacks that enhances the feeling that you’re watching a show in a good friend’s living room.
2. Eating a Banh Mi in the Public Gardens – Stop at Indochine Banh Mi (@IndochineHfx) on South Park St. across the street from our fabled Victorian gardens to pick up one of the best sandwiches in town. Then find a bench in the park overlooking the pond from which to enjoy lunch. You are guaranteed to leave here more refreshed than when you entered.
3. Sipping wine in the front window at Obladee (@ObladeeWineBar) – Grab a seat in the front entry areas enclosed in glass for the best views of the action on Barrington St. A strong by the glass selection of wines (and a very comprehensive bottle list) is complemented by a heavily local charcuterie selection.
4. Pick up a six pack at Propeller (@propellerbeer) – In my option, the best of a growing and outstanding group of local microbreweries. Their store on Gottingen St. features their full selection of beers, with many of them on tap to allow for purchase of an almost 2 litre growler. My personal favourite is their Pilsener, but they also make an outstanding IPA and bitter. If you’re in town in the fall, make sure to try the seasonal Pumpkin Ale.
5. Music and frites at The Carleton (@CarletonHalifax) – Take in a performance here, any performance, these guys don’t book bad shows. This is a listening room – when the music starts, people listen and the waiters move quietly to allow full attention on the performer. Don’t miss ordering the frites for a delicious snack.
6. Find the perfect bottle at Bishop’s Cellar (@BishopsCellar) – Check these guys out for the ultimate wine buying experience in Halifax. A great selection across all price ranges and truly knowledgeable staff that wants to make sure you’re getting what you want. Check out their website for tasting events – if you’re here during one, use it as a starting point for a great night out.
7. Coffee and croissant at Two If By Sea (@twoifbyseacafe) – Make this a stop for breakfast at least once. If you get a beautiful day, visit their original Dartmouth location by taking the ferry across the harbour to enjoy the views from the water. All of the baked goods are made on-site (pick up something to go for a snack, you’ll regret it if you don’t) and there isn’t a better place for coffee in town.