Jacob Carey Paradis is polishing glasses, peeling oranges and stocking ice when The Coast swings by for a visit on a rainy May afternoon. Despite the gloomy weather, the mood is bright—Anderson .Paak’s Malibu floats over the bar stereo, and Carey Paradis is singing along. It’s been quite the week for the 26-year-old co-manager of Walter’s Snack Bar (1533 Barrington Street), the newest cocktail and wine bar to open in downtown Halifax: Last Thursday, the bar—which shares ownership and the ground floor of the former Freemasons Hall with eatery 2 Doors Down—held its soft opening, and Haligonians crowded the room.
“That was amazing,” Carey Paradis tells The Coast.
And now, one week in? Business is starting to pick up—and for good reason.
There’s more than a little bit of the old 2 Doors Down Bar + Bites in the new Walter’s Snack Bar: The focus is still on well-made, no-nonsense cocktails and shareable plates. The atmosphere is laid-back and unpretentious.
“We want it to be accessible and fun,” Carey Paradis says. “There’s a lot of really great cocktail bars in the city. We’re not trying to compete with any of them for what they are… We just want to be a place where you can go, have a cocktail, but not feel like you have to dress up.”
That come-as-you-are spirit extends to the menu. Walter’s offers a range of taste-bud-teasing comfort dishes, from butter chicken wings and mezze platters, to brisket cheesesteaks and kimchi grilled cheese sandwiches, to ice cream and Pop Tarts. Much of it is locally-sourced: The sausage comes from 2 Boy’s Smokehouse & Deli in Cole Harbour. The cocktail juice blends come from Dartmouth’s Sprout Therapy.
And while the attitude is relaxed, the Walter’s crew is serious about cocktails. Carey Paradis honed his craft while working his way up the ranks behind bar counters at East of Grafton, Bistro Le Coq, The Mercantile Social and the since-closed Hermitage. The team also brought in three-time Best of Halifax Gold-winning bartender Nicki Brown from Good Robot Brewing Co.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Carey Paradis tells The Coast. “I like being creative, being able to hang out, make cocktails and also just be social. It keeps me out of trouble on Friday and Saturday nights.”
WHEN YOU GO
Try the Hyperfixated.
“It’s like a mango ginger gin cocktail,” Carey Paradis tells The Coast. “So it’s got some juicy, fruity notes, and a little bit of ginger spiciness going on, with kind of herbaceous chia notes in the background—it’s really, really tasty and deadly.”