AOL PICK from our Editors
Halifax is famous for its epic nightlife. There are more bars per capita here than anywhere else in North America, and you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to live music. Whatever you are into, you’ll find it here, and what is great about the nightlife in Halifax is that there is very little snobbery—everyone is friendly and welcoming. On any night of the week there will be live music at (at least) a dozen venues around town. There’s great blues music to be found seven days a week at Bearly’s, indie and rock music a plenty at the Seahorse, and traditional Celtic tunes can always be found at the Lower Deck or the Split Crow. Plenty of famous Canadian acts came from here (such as singer Sarah McLachlan and indie rockers Sloan), and the huge support for local music feeds the hotbed of musical talent in the city. If you want to dance the night away there are lounges like Mosaic and Taboo, as well as massive dance club Pacifico (which has great visiting DJs, such as Dimitri from Paris) and cool local spot the Paragon. There is also a local theatre, comedy and dance scene (if you get a chance to see comedy theatre group Picnicface, do it, they are hilarious). Pick up local free paper The Coast for all manner of nightlife listings.
A night out at the Lower Deck is pretty much a guaranteed good time. Squeeze your butt onto a bench in the downstairs beer hall and sing along with the house band as they put a Celtic twist on old favourites such as Tom Petty’s “American Girl” (complete with fiddle and Irish drum). Every night of the week, the Lower Deck is a great place to hang out, and in the summer it has a huge patio on the waterfront. There’s a dance club upstairs, which attracts a younger clientele and tends to be a bit of a meat market on weekends. The Lower Deck is tacky, but so much fun that you just won’t care.
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The Seahorse is a dark and dingy music venue that attracts great indie and rock bands. The venue has been there since the late 40’s, and it was legendary as a biker bar back in the day (check out the names scratched into the worn wooden tables), but these days is the domain of hipsters, rockers and every other kind of live music lover. Some nights you can see three decent bands for as little as $5 (that’s such a great thing about Halifax, seeing local live music is dirt cheap) and if you are into rock there are often heavier music nights.
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Definitely Halifax’s classiest bar and live music venue, the Carlton is owned by Canadian 80s Much Music legends Mike and Mike. The Carleton is a sweet place to grab a cocktail and listen to visiting folksy and indie musicians. There is a restaurant attached and, consequently, the bar food is pretty darn good (especially the ribs). The crowd here is quieter and tends to skew a little older, so if hanging out with uni students isn’t your thing, the Carleton is a good place to go.
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This cavernous bar and restaurant is a starting point for many locals on a big night out. It is noisy, friendly and fun, packed full on weekends, and has a large patio out front. The Economy Shoe Shop is legendary for its piled-high nachos, but be prepared to wait a long time for them at peak times. There is a full menu of fairly decent (but sometimes inconsistent) dishes to choose from should you want to line your stomach before drinking your way up the rest of Argyle Street.
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Neighborhood: The South End
With live music every night and packed out karaoke on a Wednesday, Bearly’s is a great place to spend an evening. The house bands are solid, and there is an ever-changing list of visiting musicians that come to play here. The pub grub is decent (especially the ribs) and service is fast. There’s a pool table in the back, and if you arrive before 9PM the place is fairly quiet so it’s a good place to sit and chill with a pint.
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