Monday, April 29, 2013

Pogue Fado says so long

A decade of foot stomping and beer drinking later, Barrington's Irish bar says Slainte

Posted By on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 10:10 PM

All signs point to closed
  • All signs point to closed

Weekends on Barrington Street just got a whole lot quieter. After over 10 years of offering a venue for rowdy nightlife, live music and quality pub grub, the Pogue Fado announced today via Facebook that it'd be closing its doors permanently, effective immediately. This is a pretty shocking blow to the bar scene, mourned loud and clear across social media tonight.

"After a decade of business, today we bid you farewell. A long and careful evaluation of our position indicates to us, like it has to others in our industry, that moving forward given the current business environment downtown simply doesn't make sense," said the post from the pub's owners this evening. "As owners, we are happy and proud of Pogue Fado Irish Public House and of all those among you who have made it possible. We are grateful for the past ten years and all it has given us; you have our heartfelt thanks."

Tonight we're drinking to the memory of the Pogue, it's long lineups, very Irish stamina and its long (and seemingly popular) run as a lively fixture on Barrington Street.

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Culinary champs

Two Nova Scotia chefs take their place on Culinary Team Canada

Posted By on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 1:45 PM

Luis Clavel, one of two Nova Scotians chosen for Culinary Team Canada
  • Luis Clavel, one of two Nova Scotians chosen for Culinary Team Canada

Nova Scotia has often been lucky when it comes to food. There’s a certain remarkable quality to the food here that’s hard to find anywhere else in Canada. Culinary Team Canada obviously gets it; they’ve selected two Nova Scotian chefs, Luis Clavel and Peter Dewar, to be part of the team.

Culinary Team Canada is about as elite as it comes. The chefs on the team compete in the World Culinary Olympics representing Canadian cooking to the rest of the world. With six team members and two of them cooking for Nova Scotia, it’s something to be proud of.

Dewar is a full-time culinary arts professor at NSCC in Kentville. He has been a part of Culinary Team Canada for the past few years and joined the team at the 2012 Culinary Olympics in Germany. Of his experiences on the team, Dewar feels that being around so many talented chefs has been the greatest opportunity. “I’ve learned so much from different chefs that are on the team and being able to bring that back to my students," he says. "It creates a legacy.”

Originally from New Brunswick, Dewar is well aware of how being from the Maritimes has affected his cooking style. “The bounty of different types of food here is incredible, so many different choices,” says Dewar. “I don’t think you get that anywhere else in Canada, what we have here.”

Clavel is the new recruit for the Team. If you’re lucky, you might have already had the chance to try some of his dishes at Seasons by Atlantica. “It was a bit of a fluke, my original passion was to be a percussionist,” says Clavel about his foray into cooking. “I got a job as a dishwasher at McKelvie’s and let’s just say I fell in love more with the kitchen than my own drumsticks.” Before long, Clavel was the corporate chef for Energetic Foods —the same company behind McKelvie’s effectively making him the lead chef.

“Being able to achieve some medals at the Olympics, that’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for a handful of chefs. It doesn’t happen for everybody. That’s very exciting,” says Clavel about why being on Team Canada excites him. “The biggest thing for me to get from this team, is the opportunity to learn from other chefs on this team and to be able to pass it along to my cooks. That’s why I’m so excited about it.”

But Clavel is determined to stay true to his Nova Scotian roots. “My big thing is being able to put Nova Scotia on the map as a culinary destination in Canada and say yes, we can cook.”

On July 26, Team Canada will be coming to Halifax and hosting an event at the Atlantica hotel. The menu will be the same that the team will be presenting in Switzerland and offers a chance for Halifax to see just how Culinary Team Canada cooks. Tickets will be available in a month's time, but until then you are able to contact Clavel at to reserve a space.

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Hello Stubborn Goat, goodbye G Lounge

When one door closes, luckily another one opens

Posted By on Fri, Apr 19, 2013 at 12:00 PM

The soon-to-be Stubborn Goat Gastropub
  • The soon-to-be Stubborn Goat Gastropub

The Argyle entertainment district is getting a new gastropub. Hoping to open its doors in early July, the Stubborn Goat Gastropub will be run by food-veterans Joe McGuinness (Durty Nelly’s), Geir Simensen (Saege Bistro), Kyle Drake (Durty Nelly’s) and Ryan Dubois.

“We feel we’re going to bring something a little different to Halifax,” says Simensen of the all-star team. Being the self-proclaimed "food guy", Simensen hopes to change the Goat’s menu seasonally, based on available local ingredients. “I find as consumers now a day, we’re getting smarter about food, I think we’re leaving behind the fast food generation,” he says.

Equipped with a Woodstone oven, customers can expect to see comfort-food items like thin-crust pizza and fresh naan bread with Dragon’s Breath cheese—and to top it all off, a nice Nova Scotian wine or beer. “It's about time that we started celebrating our Nova Scotia Wines,“ says Simensen. “To me that’s just like giddy up, that’s just good times.”

Keeping in tune with Halifax’s relaxed attitude for culinary experiences, the Stubborn Goat will provide a relaxed atmosphere and simple food. “I’d rather have a lot of different plates with their own flavors than a bunch of flavors on the same plate,” says Simensen who also emphasizes a social perspective towards the menu’s design. As for interior, “We’re planning for awesomeness.” With a 30-foot wall made of 100 year old brick, Simensen says they hope to let the building’s rustic character speak for itself.

Oh, and did we mention it’s moving into 1579 Grafton Street, the now previous home to G lounge? While we weren't able to get a comment in regards to the sophisticated bar’s future, G lounge did take to Twitter last night to confirm its closure.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sprucing things up

Big Spruce Brewing prepares to launch in Halifax/Dartmouth

Posted By on Tue, Apr 16, 2013 at 10:09 AM

Big Spruce joins Nova Scotia's growing craft club
  • Big Spruce joins Nova Scotia's growing craft club

Born and brewed in Cape Breton, Big Spruce Brewing has been concocting its two varieties of craft beer since the beginning of March. After selling it’s first beer in house on April 1, the company has been spreading the love throughout Cape Breton ever since. Now, this brewery newbie is kicking things up a notch by expanding its horizons to the Halifax and Dartmouth areas.

The official launch will take place at the Dartmouth location of The Wooden Monkey (40 Alderney Drive) on Saturday, April 20 at 7pm. There will be live music provided by Cape Breton native, Kevin Mullins and his band and, of course, free 4 ounce samples of the two new brews.

You’ll have your choice between the two flagships Big Spruce Brewing has conjured up. One is a dry, hops pale ale called Kitchen Party Pale Ale (no surprise this one is brewed in Cape Breton). The other is an oatmeal stout aptly named Cereal Killer. Following the launch, you’ll be able to find these suds on tap at The Wooden Monkey, The Argyle and Chives Canadian Bistro. If you ever find yourself out in Cape Breton you can pop into the brewery and buy it by the growler. Bottoms up, beer-lovers.

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Thursday, April 11, 2013


Gottingen Streets hub gets a new looks and more

Posted By on Thu, Apr 11, 2013 at 1:46 PM

  • Hey good lookin'

Welcome to Extreme Makeover: Cafe Edition, in which inspiring entrepreneur Michelle Strum’s cafe and hostel Alteregos (2193 Gottingen Street, 431-3170) gets a serious facelift. Thanks to some hard work (by an entirely north end crew) the already homey-feeling hangout has become ever more inviting, with a bright and expanded space, a new chef and summer-ready patio. “As the street starts to develop there's the ability for us to really zone in on what we're good at and we're pretty excited about that,” says Strum, who opened Alter Egos in 2001. The neighbourhood hub welcomes not only a new look, but new menu, extended hours (it’ll open until 10pm starting in May) and evening events like spoken word performances and DJ nights. “What I love about this place its that it represents what's on its exterior on Gottingen. Often what you see n the streetscpae is what you see inside. We have a really diverse mix of people working here and using the space,” says Strum. “We're not interested in changing to a new market, we're interested in educating a new market on what Gottingen Street is. I think the essence of Alter Egos is the realness and the accessibility and the integrity of what we do in terms of the community.” Celebrate the first of many evenings at the cafe by cashing in on this deal: two Propeller draught and nachos for $15.

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Common grounds

After one season on the corner of Bell and Robie, Common Roots Urban Farm’s fearless leader Jayme Melrose looks back—and forward to the site’s growth.

Posted By on Thu, Apr 11, 2013 at 4:00 AM

Common Roots gets planting.
  • Common Roots gets planting.

Being on one of the city's busiest corners, what kind of response were you getting from passersby?

The vast majority of the city never got out of their cars, but on the other hand we've had I'd say thousands---hundreds for sure---of people coming through the site. In the height of the summer I would say there easily could be 10 to 15 people an hour coming through the gardens. It was really neat because it was a lot of Capital Health staff, patients and visitors. And then a lot of community members and day camps or service organizations, like preschools, adult mental health groups, church groups. It was really heavily used.

How many people were actually planting things at the farm?

There were 21 groups that had their own plots and then we had a big collective garden too that produced, I'd say, close to 200 pounds of food. It tastes good, it tastes better than any supermarket stuff you get.

Why is access to community farm important to a city like Halifax?

There are a number of reasons.One is capability: knowing how to build something, or grow food, adds confidence in capability and some resilience. Gardening is great because gardeners always have things to give away, and its great when there are generous people all around us. And one of the major ones is food security. Nova Scotia produces 12 percent of its food right now and the average age of a farmer is 57 years old. We need more farmers. We need more young farmers. So, having the opportunity for young people to just consider being a farmer and explore the network of food things happening is really important. Then there are the conversations around healthy food, and preserving food, and other sustainability issues and environmental health---all of those conversations are really important for us to have right now and it's really important to have them in a place where we get to do active stewardship. All the of the talking can get us down. Having a site in the middle of the city where we actually get to take part in active stewardship is really important.

Also, it helps us remember that plants produce so much: our foods, our medicines, our fuel, our dye, our fibre. You can grow flowers, you can grow herbs, you can grow veggies, you can grow firewood, you can grow art supplies.

What's in the works for Common Roots' second season?

This year the community plots will be open to individuals as well as groups, and they'll be a quite number more of them. Actually, something really exciting is that Fiskers, the scissors company, has selected our site as an Orange Thumb Makeover. They're going to hire a local designer to fulfill a little wish list and design quite a big area for us. And then on June 19---that'll be the big work party day---we're going to build this big piece of garden. That'll be quite a big, interesting expansion to the garden this year.

Will we continue to see this kind of growth in the future?

The site has always been a temporary land use because they are planning on doing all this expansion and development to the hospital and that site is part of that plan. I feel like this year we can expand out, we'll probably double our size and become a good acre, if not a bit more. So, we have three more years [the expansion is targeted for 2016] and I think that's fine and good. We can really do a lot of learning and sharing and planning for the future. We actually need one of these in every 'hood, so this gives us a few more years to build capacity on a individual, community and collective level---and identify other locations ---and then if the money is there for them to expand, we move.

Jayme Melrose, the HRM's resident Garden Doula, is the project coordinator at Common Roots. Dig in to what's up by finding it on Facebook.

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All fired up

The Park Avenue Community Oven is the first of its kind in the HRM. Thanks to a determined community, it lit up Leighton Dillman Park last fall.

Posted By on Thu, Apr 11, 2013 at 4:00 AM


When Jeff Overmars and his wife lived in Toronto a few years ago, a Sunday potluck at Dufferin Grove Park's bake oven was part of their routine. The weekly event made a community hub out of the winning combination of public space and good food.

When the pair moved into a yardless condo, they took up a plot at the nearby Dartmouth Common Community Garden where Overmars met fellow gardener Billy Lewis. Lewis, a veteran in food education, told Overmars of a pizza garden project he'd done with youth in Vancouver--- and that's when the wheels started turning.

"I thought, how great would it be for Billy to do that and for there to be an oven nearby where people could actually take the produce they'd be growing and make a pizza," says Overmars, who then took the idea straight to the area's councilor, Gloria McCluskey. "I met with her just to gauge interest and she was enthusiastic from the beginning."

After McCluskey helped to fund the project, Overmars gathered a small core group of volunteers to brainstorm and make plans, and it wasn't long before the Park Avenue Community Oven became a reality. There was a slight hitch, though. Some park regulars and nearby neighbours expressed concerns about how the project could change the space, and how quickly it was moved along.

"I was a little disappointed, but very understanding that people were possessive over the public space," says Overmars. "We did endeavour to get people to come out to help plan, and met with the upset people to break it down for them...many of them were converts and were some of the most active people showing up to the oven because they lived nearest."

The wood-fired, clay and sand cob oven---which sits on a wishing well-style stone base--- was thoughtfully built by Eco Developments' Gena Arthur. Located in the Leighton Dillman Park section of the Dartmouth Common (off Park Avenue), it's protected by a one-of-a-kind shelter, that blends in with the surrounding park area and was built using locally harvested wood.

When the oven's in full swing, protective awnings open up and 33 feet of stainless steel countertops fold down to reveal the open concept cooking space. Plus, the shelter's roof that allows water to run off into two rain barrels and then be used for oven's hand washing station. Not only is the oven smartly and sustainably built, it's efficient---this thing can cook bread in just over 10 minutes, pizza in less than a quarter of that.

"It creates another gathering place for people to learn about food, talk about the community and enjoy public space," says Overmars. "We had a really great first couple of months, the experience was awesome for everyone."

In its first season, the Park Avenue Community Oven got lots of use, training newcomers on how to properly light a fire and cook on Saturdays. The hope is to continue getting interested bakers trained, allowing for it to be used more often. Overmars says they'd also love to partner with community groups, restaurants and festivals to broaden the events and workshops that can be held right in the common.

For now though, the oven sleeps, resting up for another big season of cooking and conversation that'll kick off in May.

"People who live nearby take a lot of ownership over the park, they consider it their backyard," says Overmars. "It's nice having them there to cast an eye over the oven."

For more information, check out

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What's the deal with the Palace?

Rumours spread that the Brunswick Street nightclub is closed

Posted By on Tue, Apr 9, 2013 at 7:03 PM


If what we've heard today is true, the Halifax club scene is about to change. Big time. This afternoon the wonderful world of the internet was buzzing with word that The Palace Nightclub (1721 Brunswick Street) was done for. Local promoter and maker of fun times, The New Halifax, was told that the club was closed as of today, with no firm plans of re-opening, renovations or a change of hands.

At this point, there's been no confirmation of a closure from The Palace. Cross your fingers, and stay tuned for updates.


Late Tuesday rumours were confirmed that the legendary nightclub and prime live music venue had, in fact, permanently closed. In a statement, Michel and Marcel Khoury said: "We are always keen to recognize demographic changes and industry trends and as a result have decided to renovate the current location into a new and unique concept. We are excited about the new venture and optimistic about Downtown Halifax's future." They expect the project to be completed by September. Until then raise your Jägerbombs and join me in remembering (and forgetting) over three decades of late nights, and early mornings, at the Palace.

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Humanity Day= a whole gelato fun

Calling all Humani-T-arians! Trade your generousity for cool treats

Posted By on Tue, Apr 9, 2013 at 12:18 PM


Whoever said the best things in life are free was definitely onto something. Case in point, on April 15, Humani-T Cafe will be giving away free gelato at the launch of it’s first annual Humanity Day. All these lovely Humani-T-arian folk are asking in return for their delicious gelato is for a little generousity in the form of a donation to the IWK. Gelato in return for generousity—talk about a win-win. The fundraiser is set to occur annually with proceeds going to a different charity each year. Volunteers with donation boxes will be posted up at the event ready to collect your cash while you go to town on the free gelato. As far as flavors go, the world is your oyster. From classic fruity varieties to chocolaty concoctions, Humani-T has 18 flavors to choose from —six of which are dairy-free. And yes, this glorious event will be taking place at both Humani-T Café locations (5755 Young Street and 1451 South Park Street). It’s going down from 2 to 8pm, giving you a six-hour window of opportunity to get out there and get gluttonous, all in the name of charity.

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Beer vs Bar Snacks: Your Winner!!!

Drumroll, please....

Posted By on Tue, Apr 9, 2013 at 11:12 AM

These past few weeks have been pretty intense, haven't they? Broken bottles, mussel shells and a variety of dipping sauces have paved the way to this, judgement day. There've been some serious blowouts (our condolences to Faxe and vending machine chips who went down fast and hard) and some incredibly tight matches, most of which included our dearly beloved local brews. We're sad to report the Final Battle was a little lacklustre, especially after the Final Four Weekend which was the most intense three days of food and drink since Thanksgiving. But maybe that's because we all knew who'd come out on top. Regardless, here's how it went.

The third place snack saucepot, chicken wings, elbowed its way to the final after taking out peanuts, onion rings and—in two crazy nail-biters—poutine and nachos. On the beer side, tenth-seeded Bridge Farmhouse Ale eliminated Stella Artois, Garrison Nut Brown, Granite Best Bitter and, in the best showing of the entire tournament, Propeller IPA. That shit was crazy, what a match! Props to both teams for some serious sportsmanship. In the end it came down to the underdog of all underdogs vs an army of two dozen wings that somehow slipped through the competition. In no surprise at all (because, duh, beer rules all) Bridge pummeled the spicy little buggers and their wet naps, 63 to 36. High fives and butt pats to the new kid on the block! We love a Cinderella story. Cue the obligatory dog pile.

That settles it folks, beer trumps bar snacks. Liquid lunches for all! Thanks for humouring us in this strange experiment. Eleven months until our next random bracket...get training!

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Monday, April 8, 2013

Final Match: Bridge Farmouse Ale vs Chicken Wings

Before calling it a night, will voters want one last nightcap, or grab for the grub?

Posted on Mon, Apr 8, 2013 at 10:48 AM

It's been a gruelling 18 days of combat. The strong have vanquished the weak. The wheat has been separated from the chaff. The merely delicious bested by the wonderfully delicious. The damn good beer sidelined by the god damn that's good beer and I'll have another beer beer.

And now, folks, we're down to the last battle, winner takes all, we are the champions, Na Na Na Na Hey Hey Hey Goodbye.

On the beer side, we have the incredible Bridge Farmhouse Ale, coming off an exciting victory over the other local favourite, Propeller IPA. A whopping 1,867 people voted in that contest, and it was bottleneck and bottleneck right to the end, with Bridge prevailing 51 to 49 percent. Before moving on, let's give Propeller a rousing toast for a beer well drank. And another! And another...

OK, let's get to the bar grub. Our finalist is Chicken Wings, having just edged out Nachos in the semi-final. Wish we had something interesting to say about this, but, well, yea, Chicken Wings. There you are.

So, folks, what's it going to be? Are you all a bunch of lushes, drinking a few thousand more Bridge beers to end the season, or will you insist on that last bit of protein before sleeping off a mad month of bar drink and grub hilarity?

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Friday, April 5, 2013

Day 17: The Final Four Battle!

Check out these tasty scrappers! Good work everyone—but the battle isn't over.

Posted By on Fri, Apr 5, 2013 at 11:35 AM

I can barely contain myself. The final four battle is here and it sounds like a recipe for a great Friday night: Propeller IPA versus Bridge Farmhouse Ale, chicken wings versus nachos. Read here for all the necessary background you'll need to complete your mission, and peruse our updated bracket below while pouring out something for the fallen boozes and bites.

First, let's talk yesterday. Nachos crushed the potato skin competition like so many discarded tortilla crumbs at the bottom of the bag. 76 percent to 23 percent! I have to admit, I thought it was going to be closer than that. But then again, one of the snacks had the word "skin" in the name so...

That crushing defeat brings us our final four. I'm all a-tingle with excitement! Will nachos defeat wings? Will wings raise their tiny fists to heaven in victory? You decide:

The beer category is a local barroom brawl, Propeller IPA versus Bridge Farmhouse Ale. Growlers clash, pints attack and you pick your favourite, old favourite and new favourite?

Polls close on Monday morning, so you have a whole weekend to deliberate, throw your rune stones, pray to the snack gods and bite your lip over your choices.

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Waiting on Edna

Jenna Mooers' new tapas resto set to open in May

Posted By on Fri, Apr 5, 2013 at 4:00 AM

Edna, the north end's most anticipated lady
  • Edna, the north end's most anticipated lady

The legacy of jane’s on the common has made its way to Gottingen. Jenna Mooers—whose mother Jane Wright was behind the beloved north end eatery—is following suit, opening a similar, tapas-style restaurant next door to jane's next door at 2053 Gottingen Street. For Mooers, the new location is what’s most exciting. “Halifax traditionally has been pretty separated,” she says. “But the mix of commercial and residential is what makes a community.”

With the aim of opening in early May, Mooers' Edna will use locally-sourced ingredients to help nourish the “mind, body and soul.” Renovations have been underway since January, with Breakhouse in charge of interior-design, which will include a communal table and large bar. A menu is still in the works but a chef has already been chosen. “He’s been in the local scene for a while,” says Mooers, who has decided to keep her culinary artist a secret (for now).

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Day 16: The Elite Eight- Nachos vs Potato Skins


Posted By on Thu, Apr 4, 2013 at 9:03 AM

Good morning Halifax, and welcome to the final round of the Elite Eight Battle. And what a battle it's been. Finally some tighter matches that have been both finger-licking, and nail-biting. This weekend brings the beginnings of the Final Four showdown and if your staring at this lovely fried-food graphic and wondering, "Is this real life?" you owe it to yourself to click here to read up on what you've missed over the last couple of weeks. Frankly, I'm way too pumped about today's face-off to educate you on the serious world of bracketing.

Yesterday brought another local beer vs local beer duel, with the underdog success story of the tournament, Bridge Farmhouse Ale (which has pummelled its way from tenth seed), taking on Halifax's nostalgia brew, Granite Best Bitter (which entered the tourney as a confident third place bevvy). And yet again, the new kid in the north end came out swinging its ceramic growlers, showing its Belgian roots (whatever that means, are Belgian people feisty? For the purpose of this blog I'm going to assume YES.) And I'm gonna say it, for someone who should've been defending that "Best" title, Granite really didn't show up for this one. It was a 71 to 28 percent spread, with one percent of sportsfans getting lost in the ether.

Now, today. A food fight to place bets on. Number one seeded nachos is looking for another victory, hoping to take out its piled-high competitor, potato skins, a surviving fifth place snack. Which one of these layered-with-cheese delights warms your belly best? Do you fancy a corn chip or spud slice base? Is sour cream enough or do you yearn for a little salsa too? These are hard questions for the appetizer lovers, I know, but let me share a little prediction here: I think it'll all come down to whether or not those bacon bits are real. If they're true, honest-to-goodness, chopped up bits of bacon, potato skins have a chance. If it's actually those weird dehydrated, slightly-burgundy, sprinkled from a can ones—game over. When you're trying to take out number one, it all comes down to details.

Go teams go! Stay tuned tomorrow for the introduction of your Final Four.

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Day 15: Granite Best Bitter vs Bridge Farmhouse Ale

North end microbreweries face off in quarter-final!

Posted on Wed, Apr 3, 2013 at 11:00 AM

We're into the second round of the semi-finals, folks, and the beer's flowing something fierce. In case you've been on a Lenten hiatus or for some reason have been tee-totalling and have no clue what we're talking about, here is the backgrounder for all the hilarity.

Yesterday, over in the first snack quarter-final, Chicken Wings just barely slipped past the Canadian favourite, Poutine, and let's all say a silent prayer in the memory of our 4am drunken mistake of embracing liberté, égalité, fraternité or sovereignty or whatever the fuck we were going on about when we thought three orders of gravy-ed-up Poutine was a great idea on top of the 14,000 mixed drinks we had had earlier in the evening.

Anyway, on to today's matchup of two north end favourites, both small in stature, but huge in flavour. In one corner, we have Granite, which has bounced around town for decades, a loyal following, er, following, from Hollis Street to south Barrington to Gingers to, now, up on Stairs Street as a retail outlet only. And in the other corner, we've got the upstart Bridge, still wet behind the ears, so new you can smell the new-beer packaging, but hitting the beer fashion world like the bikini hit the beach fashion world in the Atomic Age: BOOM! Talk about trendy! It's hipster heaven over at the Agricola Street brew dispensary, but this is clearly no one-time fad: this very, very decent beer will be here for generations, no matter the result of today's contest.

Polls stay open until Friday morning.

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In Print This Week

Vol 27, No 17
September 19, 2019

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