Coney Island Parachute Jump

Just got back from a weekend of fun in Halifax to celebrate my birthday. I’m kind of tired, so no prose this time. Just the highlights of places we hit, both new and familiar.

BAR AT THE PRINCE GEORGE HOTEL
Since we stayed at the Prince George hotel we decided to have a lunch at the new bar downstairs. The fried chicken sandwich was pretty tasty, and they had a surprisingly good beer selection; before I started on the locals I had two from Dieu Du Ciel: the Blanche du Paradis and the Aphrodisiaque.

FIELD GUIDE
After meeting up with our friends we tried to hit this place, but they don’t open ’til 6pm. Next time, then.

STILLWELL
This was the one I was really excited about. It’s a new(ish) place modelled after places like Volo and Pony Bar, and I’ve been following their progress and Twitter account since they were under construction. We all started with samplers; I got the PEI Brewing 1772 IPA, North Brewing Belgian IPA, Boxing Rock Sessionista, and Picaroons Dark and Stormy Night. Our entire group then split a stellar bottle of Brooklyn Sorachi Ace — what a treat. I wrapped up with the Uncle Leo’s Smoked Porter, which tasted like bacon. By the time I left this was my new favourite place in Halifax.

AUCTION HOUSE
This was another new stop for us. There’s a gimmick where they raffle off special appetizers and desserts and such, and people bid using paddles at their tables. We only took part in one auction and weren’t quite willing to part with $20 for a dessert, but it was still kind of fun. We split half a dozen appetizers and I had a Hell Bay Dark Cream Ale.

CARLETON
This was another first for me, even though the Carleton has been there for years. See, when I lived in Halifax, the Carleton was a SMU bar, so I didn’t go there. And old habits die hard. Anyway, it’s gotten a bit swankier inside, and the live music was pretty good. Not a great beer list, but they did have Unibroue Blanche de Chambly and cocktails named after local 90s indie bands like Thrush Hermit and Eric’s Trip. So there was that.

MAXWELL’S PLUM
Yet another Halifax institution which had never had the pleasure of my company. We were getting pretty silly by this point. I remember starting with a Boxing Rock Hunky Dory Pale Ale and ending with a Big Spruce Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout; there may have been another in between those two but I can’t be sure.

STILLWELL
That’s right, we went back. It was that good. And before I left I’d noticed they had bottles of Dieu Du Ciel Péché Mortel in the fridge, which our friend Becky had never tried, so I ordered two (and some delicious Atari fries). After this magnificent reprisal the girls dragged us somewhere awful. I won’t even discuss it here. Awful.

PIZZA CORNER
Aaaaaaaaaaand the evening was back on track. And by “evening” I mean 2am. And by “back on track” I mean covered in donair sauce.

EDNA
After a very slow start to Sunday morning we dragged ourselves over to EDNA for brunch. By the time we left it had joined Stillwell atop my list of favourite Halifax places. The food was outstanding — I had a smoked pork chop, eggs, beans, toasted sourdough baguette, duck fat potatoes, and a cappuccino. The space (rustic, open) felt completely welcoming, the music (folk, blues) was perfect, and the clientele was almost universally happy and attractive. I can’t wait to go back for dinner some day.

TWO IF BY SEA
We braved the drizzela and walked down to the waterfront, stopping at TIBS for some fuel: capp #2. From there we threaded the needle of Buskerfest crowds down the waterfront, past a superyacht, all the way to the market.

GARRISON
The rain had let up and the sun was out now, so we stopped for two wee samples on the Garrison patio. I had the Raspberry Wheat and the Nut Brown.

HENRY HOUSE
Since we were just around the corner and felt we needed just a little more food in our stomachs we visited an old familiar haunt for some spicy calamari and a Granite Brewery Best Bitter on the patio. Nellie got one of her new favourites, the Ringwood.

STUBBORN GOAT
Sunday night’s plan was to have a proper dinner at another new stop, the Stubborn Goat. The Murphy girls rejoined us, and we added three others, but none of us had much in the way of energy. Even Nellie and I had to power through a few drinks, but we couldn’t leave that beer selection untouched. I had a Boxing Rock Sessionista, a Picaroons Best Bitter, and a Dieu du Ciel Pénombre. The menu looked impressive, though it didn’t really blow us away…or maybe that was the service, which was pretty amateurish the whole night. Still, I want to go back — our friends assured us this was out of character for the Goat, so we’ll keep it in mind for next time.

No Pizza Corner on night #2; we all rolled out of there and made for home. I crashed into bed immediately; Nellie insisted on watching The Other Woman, which even Kate Upton in a bikini couldn’t save. Our travel back to Toronto was unremarkable except for the limo driver who had spent his childhood working on a blueberry farm only a few miles from our own. Small world.

Thanks for the 46 hours of fun, Halifax. It was a hoot.

Wrapping up the trip

The fruits (ha ha) of our labours
The fruits (ha ha) of our labours

In the twenty-four hours since my last blog post we:

  • Watched Taken (imdb | rotten tomatoes) which was both highly entertaining and patently absurd;
  • Had dinner at Seven Wine Bar with many Halifax friends, followed by drinks at Durty Nelly’s and yet another stop at Pizza Corner;
  • Awoke, arose and had breakfast with T-Bone and The Sof (who had an earlier flight) and were joined briefly by Marney and Amy;
  • Got to the airport early so we could catch a bite, where our friends were still waiting (their incoming flight was diverted) and who eventually took off after us, despite being on a flight meant to leave three hours earlier;
  • Arrived home to find some happy, happy cats.

By the way, here’re the wineries we visited Thursday. I couldn’t be bothered to find all the sites before:

None of the samples really blew us away, but we found enough interesting ones to buy nine bottles. I think the one we’re looking forward to the most is the Alchemy from L’Acadie, which we couldn’t sample but has drawn some fanfare.