The corner of Prince and Argyle Streets, now home to the The Carleton Music Bar & Grill (1685 Argyle Street, 422-6335), has always been a prime piece of real estate. Halifax’s first governor Sir Richard Bulkeley, a known entertainer, chose this spot to build his mansion. and the doors were officially opened in 1760 to a plethora of guests including Prince Edward and Sir Guy Carleton, the then Governor General of Canada who Bulkeley decided to name his house after.
The Carleton House became a lot more musical when Mike Campbell and Mike Rhodes opened its oak doors once again in the spring of 2008. The goal of entertaining remained but this time the co-owners had a vision of a hybrid music venue-restaurant.
It’s safe to say that their vision has been realized because the establishment has hosted approximately 1,000 nights and counting of not only intimate music but also great food and drinks. Plus, the proof is in the hardware—it's won two ECMAs and four Nova Scotia Music Awards in a row, all for Venue of the Year. Amd this month marks the fifth anniversary of the bar.
Musicians and patrons alike have made many memories at The Carleton since its rebirth in 2008. It was admittedly hard for Campbell to choose a favourite memory out of so many from his five years, but he puts Lloyd Cole's performance at the Halifax Urban Folk Festival at the top of the list. This was a ‘holy shit moment’ for Campbell because when he worked at MuchMusic, where he met current business partner Rhodes, Cole was on constant rotation.
As for the next five years, the owner hopes that the bar will live long enough to earn legendary status like Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern, his self-proclaimed second home while he lived in the city. “I want to see us at the forefront of a burgeoning live music scene in Halifax. I want to see a resurgence of it,” says Campbell of the future. “I’d like to be able to provide a space where people trust that even if they don’t know who is on stage, they know it will be great.”
In true Carleton fashion, they are celebrating with a two week long series of concerts (check out Aidan Knight and co. TONIGHT) that'll conclude with Three Sheet and Anna Ludlow on May 17. Get your tickets either online or at the door and join in on the party.