Food + Drink » Patio Guide

The complete downtown Halifax patio drinking guide

Because it's important to get outside whenever possible during those precious summer months.


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We visited every bar with a deck, and any restaurant whose drinks are worth a special trip, to write this bible of boozing in the great outdoors. There are other bar patios around Halifax, and other restaurant patios downtown, but for downtown drinking there’s no better resource. Use it to find your place(s) in the sun for the Canada Day long weekend. Or for any other day in Canada.

Downtown Halifax is perfect for summer patio drinking (we're looking at you, veranda July) and spreading Canada Day's beaver fever. - RILEY SMITH
  • Riley Smith
  • Downtown Halifax is perfect for summer patio drinking (we're looking at you, veranda July) and spreading Canada Day's beaver fever.

Plenty of large trees create a lush atmosphere at the Argyle’s large rooftop patio, giving you the sense that you’ve climbed off the street into another world entirely. Bartender Kellsi Trevor says The Argyle’s heated rooftop patio is packed on Thursday and Saturday evenings, when it’s “tradition” to come out and drink in the open air. Patio-goers can cool off with a refreshing mojito under huge umbrellas or in the shaded bar area. Rooftop bathrooms are a huge plus for anyone who’s had a few too many drinks to walk down the stairs gracefully. The Argyle has a sidewalk patio to boot, which is decorated with potted evergreens and is a superb spot to observe Argyle Street’s lively, downtown bar crowd.
1575 Argyle Street, 492-8844,

Located in the historic Morse’s Tea building, Baton Rouge is new to Halifax and their raised wooden patio is a great place to relax in the sun or shade. You’ll find plenty of Bâton Rouge’s steakhouses all over Canada as it’s a Moncton-owned chain, but we’ve got the only one in Eastern Canada so far. Though the menu is mostly the same as those at other Bâton Rouges across Canada, you will find a selection of Nova Scotia wines. Several flower boxes border the patio, providing refuge to any pedestrians or cyclists who’ve managed to navigate their way through the Cogswell Interchange. The restaurant’s Hollis Street patio provides at view of the harbour as well as umbrellas to provide shade to anyone who needs to escape the sun.
1877 Hollis Street, 407-0007,

The Bertossi group’s new restaurant, The Bicycle Thief, dishes up North American food with an “Italian soul.” Visitors to the restaurant’s waterfront patio can plop down in comfortable wicker chairs for a prime view of the harbour, or admire the two attractive vintage bicycles decorating the patio. The Thief serves some of the best herb cocktails in the city, such as their Rosemary Pink Diamond Fizz, which combines Hendrick’s gin and fresh rosemary. Located in Bishop’s Landing, this patio is a great spot to come with your kids as they can run through the nearby fountain while you nibble on Italian cured meats and sample their extensive wine list. If you’re solo, you can sit at a long communal wooden table on the patio.
1475 Lower Water Street, 425-7993,

Kick back in trendy black and silver chairs while sipping summery martinis---the “Sail Away” features Polar Ice vodka, melon liqueur, peach schnapps and lime juice---at the Bitter End’s patio. Plenty of hanging flowers and a maple tree growing out of the concrete create an attractive atmosphere on the shadier side of Argyle Street, and if it gets hot you can hide out under the awning. The Bitter End is hopping on Mondays, when martinis are discounted and a DJ sets the mood for no extra cover charge.
1572 Argyle Street, 425-3039,

Located on the sunny side of the car-free Granville Mall at the north end of Granville Street, the Brussels patio is the place to go if you’re having fantasies about escaping the city. Manager Stephanie Poteri says those hanging out on the patio at Brussels can experience a little “vacation away from home,” as the cobblestone ground and occasional pigeon create a nice European feel. Potted leafy plants and cheery red patio umbrellas add a nice touch, and getting away from the traffic exhaust and noise of downtown is also a huge plus. Brussels’ Lambic Fruit Beers are big sellers on hot summer days, especially the Kriek (cherry). There’s plenty of bike parking near Brussels, as many Nova Scotia College of Art and Design students park their rides nearby.
1873 Granville Street, 446-4700,

The Carleton’s patio marries a relaxed dress code and atmosphere with a more up-market feel, thanks to white Georgian-style pillars and quality pub fare, such as lamb lollypops and fresh Atlantic mussels. Bar staff tell me their mojitos are ideal for warm patio weather and “a little different than everyone else’s,” as Malibu Rum and Lamb’s White Rum are muddled with mint and lime juice and topped with soda. A classy black awning provides enough shelter from the hot sun to allow you to stay for awhile and slurp back several cups of sangria.
1685 Argyle Street, 422-6335,

When things get too steamy inside The Dome’s complex of bars, you can always take it outside to this patio. Cheers is that section of The Dome where it’s easiest to relax and chat with your friends, and their patio has the same laid-back vibe. Sip draft Keith’s and relax at faux marble tables in plastic maroon chairs. If the heat’s zapped your energy, you can seek refuge under a patio umbrella and get amped up with their Red Bull drinks, such as the “Liquid Viagra” shooter or “Shag a Bull” cocktail.
1743 Grafton Street, 421-1655,

CUT’s cheaper and more casual downstairs eatery, the Grill at the CUT, has two patios nestled beside plenty of leafy green foliage and large trees that look great for climbing. Located on Lower Water Street at Salter Street, you’ll likely feel a cool harbour breeze while seated outdoors. Try the Grill’s decadent lobster poutine on the patio on cooler evenings (think halloumi cheese, hollandaise and chunks of lobster meat), washing it down with a summery Mojito or some sparkling wine. Visitors to the upstairs CUT can sit on a patio with a few tables, and enjoy a large selection of wine from their wine cellar (voted “Best Wine List” in The Coast’s Best of Food Readers’ Survey).
5120 Salter Street, 429-5120,

Durty Nelly’s patio is the place to go for anyone who’d like to sip a layered beer (try getting a Guinness floating on top of a Pumphouse Blueberry beer) while listening to Irish ditties. On the busy corner of Argyle and Sackville Streets, this streetside patio is packed after 9pm on Tuesdays, when Halifax bar staff get discounted drinks and appetizers. Durty Nelly’s bartender Tina Prinsenberg recommends their popular Molly Johnson cocktails or Limerick Lemonades to patio guests on hot days.
5221 Sackville Street, 406-7640,

The Shoe’s garden-like patio is decked out with so many trees and potted and hanging foliage, that it often attracts wildlife, such as birds. This bustling sidewalk-level patio is a great place to come chow down on hefty platters of nachos after work with a group, or to bring a date. Sitting in the lush jungle of patio greenery and swigging mojitos may trick you into feeling like you’ve teleported from Halifax to a tropical far-away city. Staff say the patio is a prime location during brunch on the weekends, when they serve up plenty of tasty Caesars.
1663 Argyle Street, 423-8845,

Escape the busy corner of Argyle and Blowers Streets on patio at Greek restaurant Ela! (formerly known as Opa!). Blue trim on the exterior of Ela!, checkered blue and white table cloths and yellow patio flowers create an attractive, Mediterranean ambience. The newly formed Argyle Entertainment District committee voted Ela’s Lemonata the “official summer drink” of the area, meaning plenty of other establishments will be trying to replicate it. Enjoy the original Lemonata---Absolut Citron, Triple Sec, fresh lemon juice, lemonade and Sprite, served in a martini glass rimmed with sugar and decorated with lemon slices---on the cozy, sunny patio.
1565 Argyle Street, 492-7999,

Starting around the beginning of July, the Fife & Drum plans to offer a drink special involving mini kegs and a free platter of nachos to patio-goers. This means you and your friends can share two pitchers of beer and chow down on the patio at this casual Scottish pub, while listening to live music drifting over from the nearby Lower Deck. Attached to the Halifax Harbourfront Mariott Hotel, this patio has a kitschy charm, blending an unusual mix of green plastic chairs and faux pink marble tables. It’s a great spot for anyone who wants to sit in the shade in the afternoon and enjoy the cool waterfront breeze under an umbrella.
1919 Upper Water Street, 428-7805,

With a view of the Spring Garden Road public library and the Dalhousie architecture school, The Fireside’s patio is the perfect spot to relax and people-watch in slick, silver chairs. A striped awning and a couple of umbrellas also make this patio a great place to escape the sun. Martini lovers can look forward to The Fireside’s new summer menu, which will be unleashed sometime in July. Bartender Jeanine Zahara suggests patio-goers looking for a summer drink try the tentatively named “cream shoes,” which apparently tastes just like Skittles. Mondays are their hottest nights, when bartenders pour discounted martinis.
1500 Brunswick Street, 423-5995,

The patio at the Foggy Goggle is a solid place to head with a crew after work, as they’ll let you push tables together and you can munch on comfort food, such as mac ‘n’ cheese. The kitchen also stays open until midnight, which is a huge plus. Big umbrellas provide shade on this sunny Argyle Street patio, where staff say the recent heat has brought a lot of requests for the St-Ambroise brews by McAuslan. And Saturday evenings are packed on the patio, as revelers cool down with discounted Keith’s jugs.
1667 Argyle Street, 444-1414,

Decked out in hanging purple, orange and yellow flowers, Freeman’s patio is more mellow during the day and quite a lively spot most nights. Bartenders say they serve plenty of Caesars to patio guests on the daytime shifts, while daiquiris are most popular on warm summer evenings. If you’re not a booze drinker you can relax under a patio umbrella with one of Freeman’s homemade milkshakes. Although the restaurant is open until 5am, but the patio is only open until 2am.
1726 Grafton Street, 455-7000,

After trekking to The Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market on a hot day, why not treat yourself to some Garrison beer before heading home with your sacks of veggies? Equipped with umbrellas to protect you from the sun, the Beer Store’s patio is an ideal spot to relax and enjoy that harbour breeze, kicking back in wicker chairs around beer-barrel tables. Since this spot is technically a store and not a bar, they sell only tiny 4 oz cups of beer, which is not really a problem because it gives you an opportunity to sample all of Garrison’s summery microbrews, such as their Raspberry Wheat or Tall Ship Amber.
1149 Marginal Road, 453-5343,

At Gatsby’s sheltered patio on Spring Garden Road, it’s not unusual to see drinkers sitting comfortably alone people-watching, or crammed together at tables sharing a pitcher. Bar staff at Gatsby’s say they’re redoing their patio to include new high tables and bar chairs. The front of the restaurant opens up to the patio in the summer, so you can sit outside and still enjoy the sounds of live music or amateurs belting out karaoke on Tuesdays. If you can focus amongst the sounds of whirring traffic, Gatsby’s is the kind of place you can sit and write in a notebook or read a book.
5679 Spring Garden Road, 429-9999

Sink into comfortable cushioned wicker furniture and enjoy the sun at Grafton Lounge’s patio. After an inspirational visit to Australia, manager Josh Preston decided Halifax needed a bigger cocktail culture, so he and his bar team have been busy revamping classic drinks. Their refreshing twist on a caipiroska is a big patio hit you’re unlikely to find anywhere else, showcasing fresh, muddled fruit. Kick back on the patio couches with friends or impress a date with your cocktail knowledge at a small patio table for two. And for something less shaken and stirred, Preston’s also installing a draft tap on the patio, with plans to open a beer garden.
1579 Grafton Street, 444-4777,

Catch a prime view of sunbathers on Citadel Hill and suck in the afternoon rays at the Halifax Alehouse’s upstairs patio. On cooler evenings, you can relax on cushioned couches and chairs, near two warm (but fake) fire pits. And if you’d rather be closer to the Brunswick Street bustle, there’s a sidewalk-level patio, too. The Alehouse lives up to its namesake, as patio-goers can cool off with a selection of 25 different drafts, ranging from local microbreweries to international beers. Bar staff say Saturdays and Wednesdays are their most packed nights, as people flock for their wings and beer specials.
1717 Brunswick Street, 423-6113,

Nestled beneath an attractive historic building on Morris Street, Hamachi House’s patio is a lively spot to hit during the 10pm-midnight sushi happy hour, when their maki goes on sale. Though the patio faces a brick wall on the other side of the street, you’ll likely be too busy stuffing your face and sipping Sapporo to notice the lack of a view. On really hot days, dip into a bowl of Japanese ice cream or a refreshing plum wine and soda concoction. Hanging pink flowers add a nice touch, as do the umbrellas for sun-sensitive sushi lovers.
5190 Morris Street, 425-7711,

Right on the Bishop’s Landing boardwalk, Hamachi Steakhouse’s patio gets tons of sun and one of the best harbour views in the city. It’s an ideal place to observe the boats that are docked nearby, while hiding from the sun under a large black umbrella. This patio is a great spot to hit with a group of friends to enjoy a nicely chilled bottle of wine (from nearby Bishop’s Cellar) or rounds of Hamachi’s summery and aptly named champagne cocktail “Sex on The Boardwalk.” There are usually plenty of friendly wait staff floating around the large patio, who’ll ensure your glass stays full.
1477 Lower Water Street, 422-1600,

You can spot The Hart & Thistle’s big patio from a mile away with their bright lime green umbrellas. The deck at this harbourfront British-style gastropub and brewery offers a prime view of the Dartmouth skyline. Plop down in plastic patio chairs with the Hart & Thistle’s handcrafted ales and observe boats as they dart across the harbour. If you’re looking for a bite to eat outdoors, you’ve come to the right place, as chefs dish out tasty offerings such as Proscuitto-wrapped Digby scallops or a Northumberland lamb burger.
1869 Upper Water Street, 407-4278,

Overlooking Spring Garden Road, Havana Nights’ small, lively patio is a great place to brush up on your Spanish by mingling with patrons from Cuba and Latin America. Head bartender Neil Daoust created his refreshing vodka-based “Jardin Breeze” cocktail for summer patio visitors, an unlikely fusion of flavours including pomegranate, cilantro and ginger. It can be tough to get a seat on this patio, which is a prime sunbathing location, as its four tables are often packed. Luckily, many of the friendly clientele are quick to offer to share their tables.
5680 Spring Garden Road, 444-7671

Creeping vines up the side of the historic Henry House building (which dates back to 1834) create a unique ambience at the pub’s four-level patio. Patio visitors can enjoy a full drinks menu from the Henry House as well as selected prohibition-era inspired cocktails from the upstairs Drawing Room. Beer lovers can also sip the Granite Brewery’s English ales in the true fashion of the sun-sensitive Brits---under large shady umbrellas. Last call for patio food, such as their heaping platters of nachos, is at 10:30pm. The patio closes at 11:30pm to respect its residential neighbours, while the bar inside closes at midnight.
1222 Barrington Street, 423-5660,

Scotch and whiskey lovers flock to the patio at The Loose Cannon. Perch yourself amongst potted trees and hanging flowers on high, cushy red chairs on the deck---under one of the many umbrellas if that’s your thing---while friendly servers help you choose from distillers such as Glennfiddich and Smokehead. And if you’re interested in learning about Scotch, this Scottish pub is a worthy summer school: Bar staff sometimes have an encyclopedic book about Scotch handy that you can peruse.
1566 Argyle Street, 407-8797

The great thing about the Lower Deck’s huge waterfront patio is that the live music plays on the patio, rather than inside the building. The other great thing is that they serve salty deep fried pepperoni, which you may find you crave after drinking pints of draft beer in the sun. Sit alone at the patio bar or at a table with a group and expect to hear plenty of requests for Blue Rodeo. This patio catches plenty of the sun’s rays, but you can take shelter under a large umbrella if you’re the type that peels.
1889 Upper Water Street, 422-1289,

This patio on the corner of Grafton and Sackville Streets is packed on most sunny days, as it’s a great place kick back with cold beer or their famous burger platter if you’re feeling peckish. Beer-loving patio goers can choose from over 60 brews on tap, plus a healthy selection of bottled beer. This patio’s well-equipped for varying weather, as patrons can perch in tall bar stools under umbrellas if the sun is out in full force or warm up under heat lamps if it’s chillier.
1600 Grafton Street, 453-5090,

Mexicali Rosa’s rooftop patio has a fun atmosphere, with bright lime green decor and images of geckos creeping across the walls. Margarita Mondays are packed nights on the patio, as the drinks go on sale. Manager Chris Connely says strawberry mango margaritas are “no question” the most popular drink in the heat for patio guests. A great escape from Spring Garden Road, as you can cram a group of your friends onto the long benches surrounding the tables and go splitsys on a pitcher of sangria, this patio also has both an onsite bar and bathrooms---essential attributes for nonstop rooftop fun.
5472 Spring Garden Road, 422-7672,

This late-night patio overlooks Citadel Hill and has cushioned wicker-style seating and trunks that you can put your feet up on. By day, the sun’s rays are so scorching that the plants on the second-storey balcony have a hard time surviving, but that doesn’t stop Palace-goers from flooding the patio on a Saturday night, when plenty of students line up for the drink specials before midnight. If it’s chilly, you can warm up beside the glow of a faux firepit.
1721 Brunswick Street, 420-0015,

As if having a new wine bar in town wasn’t good enough, Obladee is building a street- side patio with plans to open by Canada Day. Heather Rankin, who opened Obladee with her brother Christian, says the Sackville Street patio will mimic the interior of Obladee, with communal bench seating. She says Obladee is a popular spot on Fridays, when the downtown office crowd comes to relax and unwind. Rankin suggests those looking to try some summery wine on the new patio go for a glass of their Nova 7 by Benjamin Bridge or the Blomidon Rose.
1598 Barrington Street, 405-4505,

You can get in touch with your Irish roots, real or imagined, on The Old Triangle’s summer patio. The street-side deck is decorated with potted flowers and Celtic knots, wrapping around the large brick archways on the exterior of the pub. Heat lamps provide warmth in cooler temperatures, while green umbrellas shelter guests from the sun. Hungry patio guests can wash down traditional Irish fare, such as steak and kidney pie or Irish stew, with a thick Guinness, or stick with more modern pub offerings such as nachos.
5136 Prince Street, 492-4900,

If you’re strolling down Argyle Street and get a tempting whiff of barbecue this week, your nose will likely lead you to Pipa. This Portuguese/Brazillian restaurant and bar is adding a barbecue to their patio this week, so patio-goers can savour vegetarian, pork, seafood and beef skewers. Thanks to that gaping hole on Argyle that used to be the Herald Building, Pipa’s patio gets plenty of sun. It’s also the best spot in town to sip a refreshing caipirinha, Brazil’s national rum cocktail. Leafy green plants create a pleasant atmosphere, while patio umbrellas provide refuge to anyone who burns easily.
1685 Argyle Street, 407-7472,

With four tables, two large umbrellas and plenty of beer-logo streamers, Pogue Fado’s patio is a lively destination in the heart of downtown. If you’re walking on Barrington Street, you can often hear the sounds of people laughing and joking at the Pogue when you’re a block away. Bar staff say they’ve been serving up plenty of cold beer to patio-goers in the sun, but to really heat things up come down on Thursdays and get a beach bucket full of Red Bull to mix with shots of your choice.
1581 Barrington Street, 429-6222,

If you could use a cold beer in the sun after getting groceries at the Saturday Brewery Farmers’ Market or practicing your downward dog at 108 Yoga---or for any reason, really---follow the signs up a winding staircase to the Red Stag’s rooftop deck. Located atop the Alexander Keith’s brewery building, the multiple friendly and attentive servers scurrying about in kilts are sure to keep you in drinks. The patio has the benefit of both the cool breeze coming off the harbour and prime open-air suntanning. Those who love fresh air but shrivel in the sun can sit at the shaded patio bar, where bartenders say they serve plenty of Keith’s White on hot days.
1496 Lower Water Street, 422-0275,

Ristorante a Mano’s patio wraps around the side of the restaurant, which is located in Bishop’s Landing right on the downtown waterfront. Husband and wife pair Maurizio and Stephanie Bertossi recreate the feel of a typical Italian neighborhood trattoria, using picnic-style checkered table cloths and serving hand-made Italian pastas and platters. Manager Kelly Neil suggests patio guests sip on some “wicked Sangria,” which is chock full of fresh fruit, port, red wine, Triple Sec and fruit juices. Guests can also choose from a rotating selection of wines, many sourced from the excellent Bishop’s Cellar wine shop next door. Plus there’s no better patio to cool down with a hefty hand-made Italian ice cream sundae, splashed with mouthwatering toppings and dessert liquor.
1477 Lower Water Street, 423-6266,

You’ll be immersed in the sights, smells and sounds of Spring Garden Road on Rogue’s Roost’s bright blue sidewalk-level patio. Bartender Lekas Bell encourages customers to hang out on the patio, as it’s a great people-watching location with a “nonstop parade of things to look at.” And the wrap-around bench seating creates a nice communal feel. Bell recommends patio visitors cool off with Rogue’s refreshing Raspberry Wheat beer, which is brewed on site.
5435 Spring Garden Road, 492-BEER,

The Split Crow’s wheelchair accessible patio provides both sunny and shaded seating, with a green and white awning and multiple umbrellas. Located on the car-free Granville Mall, this patio gets a lot of traffic Monday to Friday between 4:30pm and 7pm, when draft and well shots are discounted. The restaurant and bar opens up to the patio in the summer, so patio-goers can feel immersed in the action inside. Bar staff say they’ve been serving up plenty of Coor’s Light and “way too many waters” in the heat.
1855 Granville Street, 422-4366,

Potted beach grass adds a summery feel to this big waterfront patio, where guests can sit in plastic chairs at green faux marble tables and observe the bustling boardwalk activity. Bartenders say their lighter beers are popular patio favourites in the heat, which they serve up to guests with a side of good-humoured jokes. Canada Day is one of the most packed days at this patio, where you can enjoy the open air with your friends, while hearing the live music from inside.
5075 George Street, 492-1800,

Tucked around the corner from the Spring Garden Road traffic, this cozy patio feels like a secret hideaway. The street-level deck is a great spot for a game of chess with a friend and to relax with a specialty beer or one of Tom’s delicious, horseradish-heavy Caesars. Bubbles from the bubble-blowing machine outside Sweet Jane’s candy shop across the street often float over to the patio, which only adds to the summery experience. Hanging flowers create a nice ambience and a shade umbrella provides protection from the sun on hot days. Sunday and Monday nights are also big on this patio, thanks to the specials on Scotch.
5428 Doyle Street, 423-8667

Overlooking the Halifax Public Gardens, Victory Arms’ patio is the ideal spot to wear that hat in the back of your closet that’s a little too fancy for your normal life. Guests are well turned-out at this nautical-themed pub attached to the Lord Nelson Hotel, and for locals the patio, which is decorated with several potted plants, is a great spot to relax after a day of running errands on Spring Garden Road. Escape the sun under one of their umbrellas and cool off by sampling three different flavours of house-made gelato.
1515 South Park Street, 420-9781,

If you journey through the long and dark tunnel-like Waterfront Warehouse and Tug’s Pub building, you’ll reach a slice of sunny paradise when you hit the back patio. This harbourfront patio boasts an unblocked view of George’s Island and the Dartmouth waterfront, and catches the sun’s rays until about 2pm. (After that, you can soak in the afternoon sun on a smaller side patio.) Patio-goers can enjoy oyster and wine pairings while watching the boats chugging across the harbour.
1549 Lower Water Street, 425-7610,

The Wooden Monkey’s mustard-yellow patio is a great place to catch some sun and sip organic local beer, such as Granite Brewery’s Green Man. Patio guests can unwind alongside aromatic herb gardens in wooden containers, and escape the beating sun under large umbrellas. If you’re off the booze, the Monkey also serves a wide selection of Propeller natural sodas in zippy flavours such as ginger beer. This patio’s a great place to star watch, because eco- and health-conscious celebrities such as Alicia Silverstone and Ellen Page have been known to patronize the Monkey.
1707 Grafton Street, 444-3844,

On sunny days, Spring Garden Road is crammed with pedestrians showing off their summer garb and motorists from out of town. Escape the hustle and bustle of Halifax's main promenade at Your Father's Moustache's famous rooftop deck, reigning winner of Best Patio honours in the Best of Halifax readers’ survey. Soak in the sun, or cool down beneath large umbrellas or in the shaded patio bar. Plenty of wait staff are on the patio at all times, so you'll never wait long for your drink to be refilled. Head to the Moustache on a packed Thursday night to enjoy specials on their famous chicken wings.
5686 Spring Garden Road, 423-6766,


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