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Drink like an Irishman 

Haligonian drinkers are doing their best to support the public good.

From the hallowed, boozy days of Sam Mallone and Ernie "Coach" Pantusso on Cheers to weekly armchair visits to MacLaren's, the haunt of Barney Stinson and the rest of the gang on How I Met Your Mother, our culture loves to celebrate the neighbourhood pub. But more than that, we like to go to a neighbourhood pub, even if it's not actually in our 'hood.

Since Halifax loves the British Isles like Scorsese loves DiCaprio, the latest spate of peninsular pubs has some distinctly brogueish charms. Not that an Irish pub is anything new to the city---some of our finest pubs have been around for quite awhile, whether downtown or in those unfathomably far away lands we like to call Cole Harbour and Bedford. You know, places with neighbourhoods. (Weird!)

The Liam Neeson of Halifax pubs is Durty Nelly's---all sleek darkness and traditional Irish charm. This old-fashioned, upscale bar is a real beaut, with a sea of mahogany stain that gives the bar a lacquer that rivals Cary Grant's hair.

One of a chain that has 20 locations across Canada and the US, Elephant & Castle falls on the wrong side of the Indian Red Ale, if you know what I'm saying. They celebrate all things British, whether it's the photos on the wall or the food on your plate. Their daily happy hour (5pm to 7pm) offers cheap pints & plates. I think they call that "getting bangers and smashed."

There is little in Halifax that can make you feel more like you're in Britain than the historic waterfront. After you walk through the stony entrance, the Hart & Thistle's high ceilings and oodles of windows makes it a bright, clean space. What it lacks in cozy it makes up for that with a rambling seafront patio. Also: they have their own craft beers!

The stony walls and cavernous basement absolutely drip with19th century character, and the Henry House is perhaps the mothership for Anglophiles on the peninsula, and is a long-time fixture in the lives of those who like a good tipple now and then. They offer five of the Granite Brewery's English-style ales and own the hearts of many south enders.

Pretty much unbeatable in The Coast's Best of Food survey when it comes to restaurants in Cole Harbour, Jamieson's has also been one of the stalwart Irish pubs in the HRM, open for almost the entire 21st century.

For a relaxing, quiet bar where you can while the hours away with whiskey and take refuge in a cozy corner after a long work day, try The Loose Cannon. The scotch and whiskey menu is off the charts. And even though it's Scottish, you only have to deal with haggis one day of the year---Robbie Burns Day.

A cozy, relaxing pub with a roaring stone fireplace and luxe leather chairs, the Rockbottom Brewery is a great place to grab a pint after work, and has a steady group of regulars who do just that. But at the heart of the Rockbottom is its microbrewery, which churns out six craft beers of its own.

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Vol 25, No 20
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