Liquid dreams

This town sets the bar high for drinking establishments. The selection’s a lot to swallow, but luckily the student weekend starts on Wednesday.

If you're going to hit up the Saturday power hour at The Split Crow, it's best to pace yourself.
If you're going to hit up the Saturday power hour at The Split Crow, it's best to pace yourself.

You guys, I only want the best for you. So when I sat down to write this exhaustive, encyclopedic, meticulously researched, comprehensive (and humble) guide to hitting the town, it was with the notion that in Halifax, although the myth of the most bars per-capita remains unconfirmed (and I remain skeptical), there is most certainly a bar for every occasion. At that point, the task at hand became clear: to map out a made-to-order night out for every reason to celebrate that punctuates a student's life of drudgery and toil. I put on my thinking cap.

Then I realized that, as far as I know, the only reason students need to celebrate is that it's Friday. Or in some cases, um, Wednesday. All you need is a friend or two who are committed to Having Fun, cheap and the promise of late night snack food. With this in mind, let us go forth and imbibe!

Let me set the scene: It's Wednesday at 3:55pm, you just finished your last class of the week (oh, to be young), and you're looking for a slow ramp-up to the weekend. Happy hour!

If you're looking for the highest density of bars with pub food and what are some of the most reliably cheap drinks you can find, mosey on down Spring Garden Road, and behold: on one block, we've got Pizza Delight (5680 Spring Garden Road), open 24/7 with maybe the cheapest doubles around, Your Father's Moustache (5686 Spring Garden Road) boasting a rockin' rooftop patio and in the basement, Rock Bottom Brewpub (5686 Spring Garden Road), one of the hoppiest microbreweries around town.

On the other side of the street is The Fickle Frog (5675 Spring Garden Road) where on Wednesdays you can get a 60-ounce pitcher and a 12-inch pizza for $20 (so don't forget your wallet!), and The Oasis (5661 Spring Garden Road), where Thursday is wing night but the ambience remains gloriously in tact no matter the day.

Further down the street sits Bubba Ray's (5650 Spring Garden Road), where the sheer number of televisions on the wall boasting all aspects of various sporting endeavours will make your head spin, and Mexicali Rosa's (5472 Spring Garden Road), home of another sought-after patio and the tastiest frozen margs.

Closer to Barrington Street and as the sun goes down, things start taking a turn for darker corners and darker beers at Tom's Little Havana (5428 Doyle Street), where happy hour is every day from 5 to 8pm and Sundays are scotch nights, featuring deals on some nice single malts. Across a corridor sits Rogues Roost (5435 Spring Garden Road), another microbrewery with huge windows that look out onto the main drag.

End the night cozied up in front of the top-floor fireplace at The Fireside (1500 Brunswick Street), which boasts an impressive cocktail list and a cozy atmosphere, or at Locas Billiards (5430 Doyle Street) for some pool. If you love karaoke, though, make the trek down Barrington to Mimi's weekly party at Bearly's House of Blues (1269 Barrington Street)---you won't be disappointed.

Thursday's a doozy. So many options, so little time. End game: First in line at The Seahorse Tavern (1665 Argyle Street) for a wild dance party thanks to the tried and true Hali favourite, The Mellotones. Or, on the next block, student night at tried-tested-true The Dome (1726 Argyle Street) where you'll surrender to the top 40 and the incredible crowds it attracts. Bonus? Attached to The Dome are both Cheers Bar & Grill (1741 Grafton Street) and the classy Taboo (1739 Grafton Street). Before that, though, make sure you stop by The Split Crow (1855 Granville Street) for power hour from 9 to 10pm where beer is $2.50. Split Crow's power hour is legendary, and if you want to be falling down before sunset, check it out from 4:30 to 5:30. Just remember that families are still out, and you've probably been drinking since noon. Just down the block from the Crow is Brussels (1873 Granville Street), which offers a sweet selection of beers, as does The Maxwell's Plum (1600 Grafton Street), just up the hill.

If there was ever a night for dancing, Friday is it. Choose your own adventure: Barrington or Argyle Street? You can do both! Friday is student night at Reflections (5184 Sackville Street), and there are two things you can be certain of: to see people sans shirts, and to probably get toilet paper stuck to your shoe. But the party! If Reflections is the main event, there are a host of options for the warm-up. If you're looking for a speakeasy vibe, check out Noble in the basement of the The Middle Spoon (1559 Barrington Street), but make sure you have the password (find it on Noble's Facebook). Or if you're more of a grape person, Obladee, A Wine Bar (1600 Barrington) has an enviable wine list, but maybe wait until your parents come into town so you don't break the bank. Perhaps your purple teeth will lead you to Pacifico (1505 Barrington Street) for five different rooms that showcase sweet DJs, disco balls galore and bottle service, if you so desire.

As for Argyle Street, just start at one end and work your way down to the other. The Loose Cannon (1566 Argyle Street), The Argyle Bar & Grill (1575 Argyle Street) and The Bitter End (1572 Argyle Street) are great for casual beers and less casual cocktails, and if you're looking for a good ol' Maritime dance time to live music, check out Durty Nelly's (where Sackville Street meets Argyle) either Lower Deck location (1887 Upper Water Street or 278 Lacewood Drive), or the Alehouse (1717 Brunswick Street). For east coast music that isn't Barrett's Privateers, The Carleton Music Bar & Grill (1685 Argyle Street) is a reliable choice, and comes with a great vibe. You're a country music fan? There's only one place for you---The Toothy Moose (1661 Argyle Street)---just look for the monstrous moose head lording over the block.

Saturday? You're probably pooped by now. All the more reason to check out what's on the other side of the Common! First on the roster: The Company House (2202 Gottingen Street), home of consistently great local live music of the folk/indie/rock variety. Across the street is Alter Egos, (2193 Gottingen Street) featuring great DJ nights and delicious breakfast food! The Marquee Ballroom (2037 Gottingen Street) is recently re-opened and offers a sweet venue for bigger acts. Don't miss it. If you're looking for a gay bar that is not Reflections, try Menz & Mollyz Bar (2182 Gottingen Street). Further north, we've got Gus' Pub, home to many metal and punk shows, as well as It Felt Like A Kiss, a monthly Motown dance night you have to check out at least once. Go further north and find the Lion's Head Tavern (3081 Robie Street)---known for its regulars, sports and karaoke with Laurie the Guy and Michael's Bar & Grill (6100 Young Street) where there's live music Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. a

Soak it up

But wait, the most important element of this whole experience still lies ahead of us: snacks. Quinpool Road is a great area for late-night food— it's got Freeman's Little New York (6092 Quinpool Road), King of Donair (6420 Quinpool Road)—and if you don't know what a donair is, just do it OK?—Sicilian Pizza (6302 Quinpool Road), and McDonald's, all open late. But if downtown get to Pizza Corner, a Halifax landmark where four corners of food meet (or meat) with donairs (European Food Shop, 5246 Blowers Street), pizza (another Sicilian at 5245 Blowers Street) and the new addition of frozen yogurt at Yeh! (1560 Grafton Street). A poutine from Willy's (5239 Blowers Street) or Smoke's Poutinerie across the street is just gravy, meat on a stick from Rocky's Filipino BBQ is perfect and garlicky shawarma from Mezza Lebanese Kitchen (1558 Barrington Street) is addictive. If you want to experience heaven on earth, go to Burrito Jax (5215 Blowers Street). Just make sure you remember it in the morning.

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