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Halifax student bars 

Halifax to Hogsmede: Here are few of the city’s best student-friendly watering holes.

click to enlarge The Henry House is probably the most Potter-esque pub in Halifax. - KRISTA COMEAU
  • The Henry House is probably the most Potter-esque pub in Halifax.
  • Krista Comeau

Hogwarts has Hogsmeade, Halifax has downtown: When Hogwarts students need a break from strict professors and all those confusing, moving staircases, they'd head down to the village of Hogsmeade for a beverage at a pub. Likewise, Halifax students can find respite at local taverns. They may not serve butterbeer, but Henry's House's six British-style ales---non-pasteurized, all natural ingredients, could give The Three Broomsticks a run for their wizard money. Not far from the Hogsmeade, er, Halifax train station, The Henry House's (1222 Barrington Street, 423-5660) ale sampler offers a copper-coloured best bitter, best bitter special (known as Dry Hopped to regulars), Peculiar (also dubbed lunatic broth), Keefe's Irish Stout, pale blond Ringwood and India Pale Ale. Run across to Bearly's House of Blues and Ribs (1269 Barrington Street, 423-2526) for just those things, plus great karaoke.

Wander further down High, er, Barrington Street, a block past DeSerres, Halifax's version of Scrivenshaft's Quill Shop, and pop into Obladee, A Wine Bar (1600 Barrington Street, 405-4505) for an extensive array of vino and charcuterie boards, sampling local breads and cheeses. (Too bad it doesn't smell strongly of goats, nor does it have a severed boar head leaking blood on the floor.)

If you are seeking a dark, old-pub feel with live music six nights a week, Pogue Fado/The Frigate (1581 Barrington Street, 429-6222) boasts jumbo wings and a great selection of draft. Perhaps you'll find Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Dumbledore's barman brother Aberforth pouring frothy pints.

Intimate and chic, Tribeca Bistro and Bar (1588 Granville Street, 492-4036) can be both cozy and a great place to kick up your heels. Known for its low light, exposed brick and weekend dance parties, it's a great place to wiggle with muggles.

After filling up your pockets with the equivalent of chocolate frogs, licorice wands and Bertie Bott's at Freak Lunchbox (1723 Barrington Street, 420-9151) wizards and arts students alike hit up Split Crow (1855 Granville Street, 422-4366) for generous mugs of grog. For a rooftop and sidewalk patio, drink specials and wood-oven pizza, Argyle Bar and Grill (1575 Argyle Street, 492-8844) is a student hub. Looking for a reason to disrobe and get gussied up? Bitter End (1572 Argyle Street, 425-3039) certainly knows how to make a martini---try the Northern Exposure.

Since 1948, The Seahorse Tavern (1665 Argyle Street, 423-7200) has been a below street-level gem, these days it's home to punk, metal and indie bands with a stellar draft---Horsepower Propeller beer. The Toothy Moose Cabaret (1661 Argyle Street, 407-3170) is hard to miss---look for the gigantic moose head poking out. With its European architecture and fabulous nachos, Economy Shoe Shop (1663 Argyle Street, 423-8845) is a place to hobnob with the Halifamous and out-of-town celebs. If Gary Oldman ever shot a Stephen King miniseries in Halifax, he'd show up here.

Run by MuchMusic buddies Mike Campbell and Mike Rhodes, The Carleton Restaurant (1685 Argyle Street, 422-6335) is a class act for music, drinks and food. The Foggy Goggle (1667 Argyle Street, 444-1414) holds a prime stretch of patio, lobster mac and cheese and drinks aplenty. And The Grafton Lounge (1579 Grafton Street, 444-4777) is a stylish cocktail bar.

With its wood-heavy decor, Halifax Alehouse (1717 Brunswick Street, 423-6113), is a quintessential student hotspot---think 22 brands of beer on tap, Celtic bands and bar-wench costumes not a far cry from Hogsmeade. And with over 60 beers on tap and 100 in bottles, Maxwell's Plum (1600 Grafton Street, 423-5090) is a local legend. (Hard to believe they don't have butterbeer.)

Let your hair down at The Loose Cannon (1566 Argyle Street, 407-8797), a Scottish-style pub akin to an Edinburgh watering hole. DJs pack the dance floor at The Dome (1726 Argyle Street, 422-6907) until the early hours with house music, top 40 and rap beats all night long. Pop in for liquored fizzy drinks at Club Soda (5287 Prince Street, 407-8994) and a bite to eat or hit the club Tuesday and Thursday to Saturday. And every night at dance club New Palace Cabaret (1721 Brunswick Street, 420-0015) is a good night.

Reserve a private booth or just find your groove at Taboo Nightclub (1741 Grafton Street, 423-8226). Elephant and Castle (5171 George Street, 405-8875) hosts a happy hour daily from 5-7pm and English-style pub fare. Live music every night of the week, worn wooden and solid stone floors, Lower Deck/The Beer Market (Historic Properties, 1869 Upper Water Street, 425-1501) has been showing Halifax a good time since 1974. Old Triangle Irish Ale House (5136 Prince Street, 492-4900) has a triad of rooms: the Snug, the Pourhouse and Tigh An Cheoil ("house of music") for a pint among pals. For jazz cats, Stayner's Wharf Pub and Grill (5075 George Street, 492-1800) offers live local and international music, fine food and beverages. Bubba Ray's Sports Bar (5650 Spring Garden Road, 405-4344) is a sports fan's haven, with dozens of screens to go with the wings. (No quidditch tourneys, though.)

The Fireside Bar/Restaurant (1500 Brunswick Street, 423-5995) makes for a mean Monday martini, and Gatsby's Pub and Eatery's (5679 Spring Garden Road, 429-9999) got everything to fill your bellies. Havana Nights (5680 Spring Garden Road) is Halifax's only Cuban restaurant and nightclub. Locas Bar and Billiards (5430 Doyle Street, 423-2522) has a Spanish vibe, great for a round of pool or board games. Oasis Pub and Eatery (5675 Spring Garden Road, 422-2227) is a karaoke or beer lover's idea of paradise. Stylish Onyx (5680 Spring Garden Road, 428-5680) is for those fanciful nights on the town. In-house micro breweries Rock Bottom Brewery (5686 Spring Garden Road, 423-2938) and Rogue's Roost (5435 Spring Garden Road, 492-2337) offer great draught and trivia nights.

With a rooftop deck overlooking the city, Your Father's Moustache (5686 Spring Garden Road, 423-6766) is great for people watching. For all those philosophy majors and Ron Weasleys, Tom's Little Havana (5428 Doyle Street, 423-8667) is the perfect spot to muse about the meaning of it all.

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