Urban Halifax edition
When the subject of Nova Scotia craft beer comes up, most immediately think about the explosion of local craft breweries. It’s impressive, to be sure. And fortunately for us, there are some great beers coming from many of the 50+ craft breweries that call Nova Scotia home. But the explosion has not been limited to breweries on their own. We’ve seen a considerable increase in the number of places catering to raising a glass too. True craft beer destinations. Taprooms and beer bars and restaurants that chose to serve small-batch artisanal versus the often one-dimensional, mass-produced brews that come from the big guys. It’s a true renaissance – a golden age if you will.
In this feature, we introduce you to a few of the craft beer hot spots in urban Halifax. Beer is best shared with friends, so we’ve chosen to highlight an eclectic mix to satisfy a diverse community of aspiring hopheads. Some have full kitchens, others don’t. Some even make beer, but the common thread is a commitment to the cause. We love them and you should too. So let’s check them out, shall we?
BATTERY PARK BEER BAR & EATERY
Battery Park is an essential craft beer destination found in Downtown Dartmouth. It’s a great place to experience a wide variety of beer, including one-offs and unique collaborations. The selection, curated by Peter Burbridge of North Brewing, is focused on Atlantic Canadian brews. At the end of your session, you can grab a can or growler from the brewery downstairs.
A south end bar and restaurant that features a crazy happy hour. With five rotating taps, a small selection of bottles, and a super relaxed vibe, the best beer drinking happens right at the bar. It’s the perfect spot for a night out or a maybe drink or two after the movies.
Located in Downtown Dartmouth, Brightwood shares space with newly-opened Lake City Cider. It’s a ‘best of both worlds’ scenario. Bright and modern, the street-side windows open nearly all the way, making it feel like you are sitting right on Portland Street. It’s a good place to anchor down for an afternoon beverage or two.
35 Portland Street, Dartmouth
CHAIN YARD URBAN CIDERY
If you love craft beer but your friend prefers cider what do you do? Simple. Take them to Chain Yard on North and Agricola. Here you will find a selection of local craft beer, and your friend will get to enjoy unique and delicious cider, many made in-house.
Found right across the street from Java Blend at North and King Streets, Charm School is Unfiltered Brewing’s taproom, where there’s an undercurrent of soup Nazi vibes. As the website states the pub has, “No fucking TV to watch the game”, “no Wifi (unless the bartender likes you)” and there’s “no bullshit” allowed. The beer is always immaculate though and very hop forward – that’s their specialty! But we suggest leaving your Bud Light drinking friend at home for this mission.
There is no better way to enjoy Halifax’s waterfront than over a pint of craft beer and Gahan House really is the year-round go-to for that sort of thing. Most of the in-house line-up tends to be on the traditional side, but you would be mistaken for thinking that means the beer is boring – far from it. It is very accessible though, making it the perfect place for an office lunch or a beer with someone you’re just getting to know.
Following a rather substantial renovation in 2017-18, there’s now a good deal more space for drinking at Garrison. There are more taps too, meaning more styles to choose from. The patio is open during the warmer months and weeknights tend to be quieter, with more room for you and your friends.
GOOD ROBOT BREWING
The mission at Good Robot Brewing is singular; make craft beer fun and accessible. The vibe in the taproom, where a mix of house-made brews and guest taps are featured, is relaxed and welcoming. They also have a beer garden style patio outside. And they host dozens of fun, zany events throughout the year, so you’ll definitely want to give these guys a look.
Newly opened Hopyard is a no-frills beer bar with 10 taps on rotation and an $8 cheap eats menu. There’s also a small record collection on-site you can rummage through, before picking one to put on the turntable for all to have a listen.
2103 Gottingen Street, Halifax
LION & BRIGHT
Lion & Bright has been flying the craft beer flag since day one. The beer list is always changing and always local, and now you can take home Boxing Rock beer from their grocery store (Local Source) next door. Be prepared for party vibes in the evening.
NEW SCOTLAND BREWING
Full disclosure: we have yet to experience the newly opened New Scotland Brewing, or tried any of their beer. What we do know is that they have nearly 40 seats, make their own beer, and feature live music from time to time. A visit is on our immediate to-do list. Maybe you should add it to yours too.
91 Alderney Drive, Dartmouth
Located in the south end of the city centre and close to downtown, the tap list is on the small side (four) but consistently exceptional. If somehow nothing tickles your fancy (unlikely), a selection of bottles is also on hand. Our recommendation is to tuck into the $6 happy hour, daily from 4 – 6 PM.
Located on Gottingen Street in the north end, Propeller features a taproom where you can choose from their core roster of brews, seasonal releases, collaboration brews, and beers from the legendary ‘One Hit Wonders’ series. And they have Cask Night every Friday, with a special cask made just for that evening!
Halifax’s first dedicated beer bar is perhaps the most unique place to drink beer in the city. Local is a constant feature on their ever-rotating tap wall, but the focus here is the craft itself – the very best beers from across the globe are here for your enjoyment. Stillwell also hosts a number of interesting beer and cider related events, and even brews its own beer offerings.
The Stillwell Beergarden is one of the city’s more unique offerings. Built on an empty lot between two buildings, it truly captures the spirit of what a beer garden could and should be. Vibes are casual, and food and drink are ordered from a take-out window cut out of a shipping container. It’s a great place to meet with friends.
Not previously known as a craft beer destination, The Carleton definitely fits the bill now. With 8 craft beers on tap and two in bottles, it’s an impressive selection for what is commonly considered a live music venue. We recommend checking them out for lunch or happy hour, but you could also take in a live performance.
THE HENRY HOUSE
With all the activity on the craft beer front these past years, it’s easy to forget one of the city’s original craft beer destinations, and that’s a shame. The Henry House is an icon and pretty much THE PLACE to experience beer from the province’s unofficial craft beer godfather, Kevin Keefe (Granite Brewing). Beers tend to be on the traditional side, but there’s nothing wrong with that.
1222 Barrington Street, Halifax
THE STUBBORN GOAT BEER GARDEN
Located on the Halifax waterfront, The Stubborn Goat Beer Garden is both a beer garden and full-service outdoor restaurant. If you are bringing your dog, stick to the beer garden, if not, check out the full-service side. The choice is up to you. Regardless, you’ll have many tasty brews and ciders to sample and loads of casual eat options to go with.
THE STUBBORN GOAT GASTROPUB
The Stubborn Goat may have the largest craft beer list in the city. It’s a solid selection too, with lots of variety and no dead weight. Lots of local offerings, along with an impressive selection of imports from Ontario, Quebec, USA, and Belgium, and a bunch of cider as well. And it’s a safe place for craft beer lovers with friends who can’t handle the good shit, with Bud and Corona available too.
2 CROWS BREWING
Perhaps the most experimental brewery in Halifax,
2 Crows is constantly pushing the envelope with new styles. Luckily, they also know what they’re doing so the beer is always good. The taproom is situated in an open-concept brewery, meaning there is little separating you from where the beer is made.
1932 Brunswick Street, Halifax