Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Almonak opens at Almon and Isleville

A new north end hangout for ya

Posted By on Wed, May 8, 2019 at 5:40 AM


There’s a little something for everyone at Almonak (5659 Almon Street). The north end eatery—which opens today—aims to blend together its kitchen, coffee and bakery into one welcoming space.

“Our unofficial motto for Almonak is: We're here for you wherever you are in your day,” says Kandace Homer, one of four owners. “Whether you want a coffee in the morning, you need a snack, you want to go out with your mom for lunch, you want to go out for a date at night, you want to go for a cocktail–Almonak’s here for you for whatever you're feeling in the day or even the evening.”

Floor to ceiling windows fill the space with natural lighting, plug-ins line the walls and the seating plan is designed to accommodate everyone from the solo person working on their laptop with a coffee to a group of pals laughing over dinner. The kitchen is focused on healthy, homemade lunches from Wednesday to Fridays, brunch on the weekends and dinner service with cocktails Wednesday to Sunday.

“It’s a small drink menu but it’s an eclectic menu,” says Almonak GM, Megan Kaufman. Compass Distillers is providing all of its liquors and is supplying kegged cocktails to serve on-tap, alongside Goodmore Kombucha and Planters Ridge bubbly for mimosas.

Homer says they’re trying to source as much as they can from local businesses–even some of their furniture comes from Project 9 on Agricola Street–and they’re passionate about the restaurant being as waste-free as possible. (There’s a water bottle refill station open to the public, people will be encouraged to stay and enjoy their coffee or bring a reusable mug next time they get a cup to go.)

The dinners will be large, family-style, shareable plates for families and groups, and bringing your own reusable containers to take home leftovers is encouraged. “For lunch hour, our real focus is hearty and healthy,” says Kaufman, describing the colourful bowls and salads designed to be keto-friendly, gluten-free and vegan inspired. The brunch menu will hone in on a big eggs Benny selection and healthy twists on classics, like swapping out Clamato juice with in-house beet juice in a Caesar.

When people come into the restaurant, they're spending their time, their money and their appetite, “so we don't want anyone to ever leave here regretting any decision,” says Homer.  “We want to be that place in the north end that still creates community, where everyone can come and gather." 
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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Cafe Fest comes to town because, coffee

The Quebec-based celebration heads east, bringing hot stuff to coffee shops across the HRM.

Posted By on Wed, May 1, 2019 at 4:19 PM

DANIEL DOMINIC
  • daniel dominic

Cafe Lara is calling all coffee geeks to its launch party of Cafe Fest, a week-long celebration of all things coffee, local and independent from May 5-11. "I like bringing the community together," says Lara Cusson. "I've been trying to get the coffee community together as much as possible—I think it's important that we all support each other."

Cafe owner (and namesake) Cusson reached out to fellow coffee people in the HRM to participate. Nineteen coffee shops got on board, all of which will be handing out coffee passports to their more adventurous patrons.

Haligonian coffee enthusiasts will be traveling from the Cottage Cafe in Dartmouth, to the Raven Espresso Boutique Coffee in Spryfield, Dilly Dally on Quinpool and Trident Booksellers in the south end, collecting stamps for a chance to win "highly caffeinated prizes." The goal is to get people talking about—and hopefully walking into—their local coffee shop. Maybe even inspire them to wander into a new coffee shop, in a new neighbourhood.

The idea originated with small batch coffee roasters Barista Microtorréfacteur in Montreal. They wanted to support other independent coffee shops, but also wanted to have a little fun, and thought festivals were the best way to get people involved in a little bit of both.

DANIEL DOMINIC
  • daniel dominic

The festival has been gaining traction for the past four years in Quebec and has expanded in number of participating shops, special events and now, thanks to Cusson (who's originally from Montreal), its first east coast appearance.

The fest's closing party will coincide with Open City on May 11 and be dedicated to hardworking baristas. Cusson encourages loyal customers to come out and support their favourite barista for some "very silly, very friendly" competitions, including a blindfolded late art challenge and announcing the winner of the photo competition to win a full year's worth of coffee.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Coastal Cook House offers Fisherman's Cove a new feed

Gourmet takeout by the ocean

Posted By on Wed, Apr 10, 2019 at 4:35 PM

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Kale Boucher and Jeff Lucas want to make their mark at Fisherman’s Cove.  The pair of restaurant vets share 23 years’ experience between them—Boucher as a Red Seal chef, Lucas in both the front- and back-of-house—and have teamed up open Coastal Cook House (16 Government Wharf), a gourmet take-out restaurant on the scenic waterfront strip.

“We’ve had so many ideas at different restaurants we worked at and couldn’t implement them,” says Lucas. “So when the opening came up at Fisherman’s Cove, we decided to pursue it.” Boucher says the menu will be small but diverse. They’ll be flexible to change it based on customer desires but are hopeful diners will find favourites that they’ll come back for. “The idea we came up with is come out with a small menu we can execute to perfection. When people ask what the best dish is, we want to be able to tell them everything is great.”

The debut line-up features sandwiches (like chicken and waffle), burgers, lobster and bacon mac and cheese and a couple of rice dishes. Lucas, who calls the Eastern Passage neighbourhood a “mini-Lunenburg,” is excited about the potential of their business’ new home. “This place is like an untapped market,” adds Boucher. “There are not many restaurants around and we wanted to add something new to the area. It’s developing and growing, and we wanted to make it boom.”

Coastal Cookhouse aims to open on May 1.
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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

DRINK THIS: Petite Riviere Vineyards’ Mighty Maroon


A Port-style wine that invites coziness with its sweet, strong balance.


Posted By on Wed, Apr 3, 2019 at 4:29 PM

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This Nova Scotian wine perfectly expresses our spring. Its rich, velvety, dark red berry flavours are the soft wool scarf you still need to wind around your throat to bury your chin before stepping outside. Its sweet heat is the wood fire that has been going since November, eating up your now dwindling supply in the woodshed. Its fresh acid kick is the bite of winds reminding us that cold, in these parts, is king.

Get cozy with Petite Riviere Vineyards' 2016 Mighty Maroon because this wine is all about skin contact. The grapes Leon Millot and Lucie Kuhlmann are fermented in their own skins, in a process called carbonic maceration. In this process, grapes are not in contact with oxygen during fermentation, but carbon dioxide instead, resulting in a fresh, fruity style of wine. After alcoholic fermentation, the wine—still on its skins!—went through malolactic fermentation, which converts astringent malic acid into softer lactic acid.

This delicious south shore wine is then fortified with the winery's own grape spirits (distilled by Ironworks Distillery), resulting in a velvety, mouth-filling, sweet, strong and beautifully balanced Port-style wine. The Mighty Maroon—available at Petite Riviere's winery, the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market (1209 Marginal Road) and Alderney Landing Farmers' Market (2 Ochterloney Street)—will ease you into spring. After all, winter is in no hurry to leave.

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Friday, March 29, 2019

Who's behind the mysterious Beverley Taco Service?

1-800-TACOTIME

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2019 at 5:21 PM

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Have you seen this poster? If so, between scratching your head and wiping the drool from your chin you may have wondered who Beverley is and why she wants to feed both your curiosity and your belly.

Turns out mysterious masa-loving taco maker, Beverley Taco Service (which has plastered telephone poles as of Friday), comes to us from Highwayman chef Blair Clarke and his beer buds at Stillwell. A longtime taco fanatic, Clarke has been researching the handheld Mexican meal for years and after a trip to Oaxaca this winter with Stillwell's Chris Reynolds, he's ready to debut his own.

"It was pretty eye-opening. You can read and research all you want but going and experiencing—it kind of re-instated that simple is always better," says Clarke, who says his tacos will be all about freshness and flavour, but its the tortilla itself that will be the star.

That's because Beverley Taco Service has its own custom-built corn mill. The
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 beloved contraption means Clarke's taking heirloom corn from Oaxaca and grinding fresh masa on the daily at a downtown prep kitchen he and Reynolds affectionately call The Masaplex. "Once you’ve had a tortilla made with fresh masa, it kind of sets the bar," says Clarke. "It did take some leg work"—or a couple of years of searching—"but 600 pounds later here we are."

If you haven't already called the poster's taco hotline and are wondering when/where/how you can taste the "life-giving salsas," Stillwell-quality drink selection and those fresher-than-you corn tortillas—we're here to tell you BTS will make its entrance via pop-up.

The first appearance is slated for Friday, April 12 at Cafe Good Luck (145 Portland Street) from 6pm to 10pm and the second goes down Saturday, May 4 at the Mayflower Curling Club (3000 Monaghan Drive) from 7pm-11pm. But you should still give that number a call. It's a treat.

The pop-ups will continue through the summer as Clarke and the Stillwell gang nail down a permanent location for their soon-to-be restaurant (which will be downtown). And even better? BTS will spend the summer serving up its best stuff at the Stillwell Beer Garden (5688 Spring Garden Road).
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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Tako Loko takes the north end by storm

Life is but a dream for Vicky Ruiz, who opened her Mexican restaurant to a surge of hungry Haligonians.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 28, 2019 at 1:18 AM

KYLEE NUNN
  • KYLEE NUNN

Tako Loko (3248 Isleville Street) opened its doors last Wednesday to a hungry crowd of north enders. Keeping the menu simple, the 20-seat restaurant offers seven types of tacos: Chicken, carne asada (grilled steak), chorizo, carnitas de Puerco, suadero (brisket), fish and veggie. Customers can also choose between beans, rice, quesadilla and guacamole and chips.

"This is my language, my meat, my flavours, my colours," owner Vicky Ruiz says.

Tako Loko has labelled itself an authentic Mexican restaurant in order to let people know they won't find Tex-Mex tacos—you know, the ground beef, cheese, lettuce and sour cream kind—here. In Mexico, a taco is a soft corn tortilla with meat, onions, cilantro, lime and salsa.

Ruiz and her children, José, Daniela and Enrique, moved to Halifax from Mexico more than 15 years ago. Minus a few exceptions, like Mexico Lindo in Fairview, they were hard-pressed to find restaurants that served the food they loved and missed.

In an effort to make sure Tako Loko had a look as representative of Mexico as possible, she chose all of the restaurant’s vibrant colours and decorations. Green and yellow walls are adorned with a chalkboard menu and yellow coat hangers that look like garden spigots. Four lights are suspended from the ceiling with knotted hemp rope. On a shelf behind the cash, a rainbow donkey piñata relaxes – just out of reach.

As we sit in the restaurant, four separate groups of people knock on the door. Each time, José tells them politely, "We open at five tonight."

Apparently, this has become a common occurrence. Ruiz isn't sure how word has spread so quickly—she's already gone through 1,500 tortillas. She says several people have been by twice, and often stay for more than one round of food.

Luckily, service is fast-paced as tacos are easy to prepare and quick to disappear.

"This has been my dream for many, many years," Ruiz says.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

DRINK THIS: Boxing Rock’s 14 Carrot Gold pale ale

The Shelburne brewery and Square Roots turned ugly carrots into something beautiful.

Posted By on Wed, Mar 27, 2019 at 1:22 PM

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It may not count towards daily vegetable intake, but who cares? Boxing Rock Brewing Company just released a beer made with carrots.

The aptly named 14 Carrot Gold is a collaboration with Square Roots, a social enterprise formed by Enactus Saint Mary's, working toward reducing food waste and increasing food security. For example, Square Roots buys imperfect produce (or "seconds produce") that would normally be thrown away, then sells it in inexpensive 10-pound bundles. Boxing Rock's 14 Carrot Gold contains locally supplied seconds carrots.

When Boxing Rock owner Emily Tipton first met up with Square Roots, she was unsure how to tackle the key ingredient. "Vegetables are not normally an ingredient that you would put in beer," she says, because "they don't actually have a lot of usable sugar." But 1,100 pounds of carrots (and some help from The Juice Press) later, the team made it work. The result is a mild, earthy pale ale with herbal hops, honey malt and just a hint of carrot flavour. Tipton says the Square Roots folks "were so incredibly enthusiastic and really got involved with the whole process" and she's hopeful Boxing Rock will be able to donate some of the beer proceeds to Square Roots' token program.

Sehmat Suri, the director of strategic partnerships for SMU's Enactus groups, says it's been a fulfilling experience for everyone involved.

"It was just so important to start that conversation about food waste and about looking at the amazing ways that you can turn food that you think you can't use—not just nutritional aspects," she says, "but also something fun."

The beer is expected to be on the shelves of most NSLC stores by April 1. On April 2, Boxing Rock will be hosting its monthly beer tasting and food pairing—featuring 14 Carrot Gold—at its Halifax bottle shop inside the Local Source Market (2530 Agricola Street).

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Do your weekend feasting at the Pakistan Food Festival

The annual event is back on a grander scale

Posted By on Wed, Mar 20, 2019 at 5:01 PM

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“I was fascinated with the Greek Festival, I loved to go there and see the culture,” says Anila Najaf, president of the Pakistani Canadian Association of Nova Scotia and organizer of this weekend’s Pakistan Food Festival.

She was the woman in charge of the first iteration of the celebration back in 2016, an event that drew in 700-plus attendees–over double the number of people she expected. “That was the incentive behind it, we thought ‘People actually have an appetite for this.’” After a couple of years in transition, this year’s festival will take place on a much grander scale, Najaf says.

On Saturday, March 23, vendors, entertainers and food stalls will take over St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church (38 Purcells Cove Road) from noon to 6pm.

“I think we have a lot of offer, a lot of show off and we just love to eat. In Pakistan every recipe, every problem, the solution is food. Why not show that to people?” says Najaf. “We don’t actually have a Pakistani restaurant here. This is a great advertisement for small businesses that don’t have the money to invest in publicity for themselves.”

On top of Pakistani food vendors, there’ll also be some Indian food to cater to vegetarians and vegans, plus henna, jewellery, performances and fun stuff for the kids, too. “There’ll be a lot of unique stuff,” promises Najaf, “things people from Nova Scotia have never seen.” 
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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Tom's Little Havana is re-branding

After 22 years, the bar signs off to become Sura Lounge

Posted By on Tue, Mar 19, 2019 at 1:11 PM

The OG Tom's on Doyle - SAMSON LEARN
  • The OG Tom's on Doyle
  • Samson Learn

It might not feel that surprising to hear that Tom’s Little Havana (1535 Dresden Row) is saying goodbye. The adored Halifax watering hole’s been through a lot of change in the last stretch of time—most notably when it moved from its (loveably) dank hole in the wall on Doyle Street back in 2015.

Entrepreneur Deeksha Bhaskar took over Tom’s and The Fireside in 2017 and flipped the latter to become Rasa Flavours of India. She says the writing was on the wall as soon as Tom’s namesake Tom Wile wasn't on the scene.

“It was no longer Havana, that was pretty clear,” says the business owner. “It was getting complicated running two very different establishments and not being able to do justice to Tom’s as it was. It wasn’t our strength anyway, it’s better to run something that represents our strengths.”

Like Sura Lounge, the new concept for the bar, which Bhaskar says will offer tapa-style small dishes, and Indian-fusion cuisine. It won’t be an extension of Rasa, just a better complement.

Tom’s signs off officially on March 27, after 22 years of offering a tucked away spot for Scotch-soaked heart-to-hearts and intimate first dates. With beer galore and an auction of Tom’s memorabilia, Bhaskar hopes it’ll be more celebration than mourning.

“So many people are connected to Tom’s and we wanted to make sure to try our best not to hurt anyone's feelings,” she says, adding that much of that attachment comes thanks to the beloved staff—who will be staying onboard at Sura Lounge. “We completely respect the connection people have, and we have gotten to know those regulars. We want to keep that connection going if we can.”
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Monday, March 18, 2019

Yeah Yeahs Pizza is coming to Halifax

PRAISE BE

Posted By on Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 6:57 PM

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If you're a Yeah Yeahs Pizza fan you're probably willing to go to the ends of the earth (or at least across the harbour) for your fix, but brilliant news—soon Haligonians won't have to.

Co-owners of Dartmouth's highly addictive pizza joint, Josh Nordin and Dean Petty, have just started the renovation phase of their new location, which will call the character-filled 1663 Barrington Street (AKA the former Little Mysteries book shop, across from Stillwell and The Barrington) home later this spring.

"We always had been toying with the idea of opening a shop in Halifax, but doing Dartmouth first made sense for us," says Nordin. "Every day I run into someone who’s like ‘I never get a chance to get over there.'"

The stand-alone pizza shop will offer the same relaxed vibes and aesthetic as its Dartmouth counterpart, a mostly identical menu (with a few additions) and is aiming to serve both beer and wine to wash it all down with. There'll also be space for 40ish people to sit down and stay awhile. And delivery? It's not off the table.

"If we can make it work, we’d love to make it work," says Petty. "If we can’t offer delivery and keep the quality high, we won’t do delivery."

For now, the business partners—who opened a Yeah Yeahs in Toronto in collaboration with Boxcar Social just over a year ago—are focused on taking the character-filled Barrington Street space and building a place folks want to hang out, pig out and doodle on their paper plates.

You can be one of those people, slice in hand, in mid/late May.
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Thursday, March 7, 2019

The Ville Caffeine Bar opens on Sackville Street

Taking over one of the former Smiling Goat locations, the cafe offers rotating coffee roasts, buttery baked goods and fresh-to-order sandwiches

Posted By on Thu, Mar 7, 2019 at 9:49 AM

Jenna Oosterholt is The VIlle's owner - KYLEE NUNN
  • Jenna Oosterholt is The VIlle's owner
  • Kylee Nunn
“I was done working for a boss and I wanted to do something on my own,” says Jenna Oosterholt, owner of the newly opened The Ville Caffeine Bar (5146 Sackville Street).

The Ville offers a rotating bean, cycling through various roasters from around the world to provide a diverse selection of coffee. To start off, Oosterholt is featuring Shock Coffee from New York, which is known for containing 50 percent more caffeine than the average roast. For those looking for something more consistent, The Ville also has a regular supply of Java Blend’s organic Colombian medium.

With baked goods from Michelle MacDonald’s Buttered Bliss, customers are invited to pull up a stool at the 18-foot live edge maplewood bar that wraps around the cafe as they bite into almond bourbon pecan tarts and lavender blueberry doughnuts.

“I’m basically just made out of Buttered Bliss and coffee now,” Oosterholt says, laughing.

Sandwiches are also available and made fresh-to-order. The sunriser, crafted for the morning breakfast crowd, consists of applewood smoked ham, spinach, tomato, mayo and old cheddar on a croissant or English muffin that is grilled with an egg wash. Other sandwiches include the vegan clubhouse and the BTM (basil, tomato and mozzarella—the sandwich version of a Caprese salad).

Oosterholt, 24, has been in the restaurant industry since she was 12. Originally looking to open a gourmet coffee cart at Bishop’s Landing, she upgraded her idea from cart to cafe upon noticing the empty space that used to house Smiling Goat’s Sackville Street location.

A strong believer of simplicity, Oosterholt furnished The Ville in industrial textures, such as wood and metal, and decorated with praying plants and vines that dot the black and white walls. The bathroom, Oosterholt’s favourite place, has a collection of framed quotes, similar to scribbled notes left on bathroom stalls, except these notes are words of wisdom she has gleaned from family and friends over the years.

“‘Trust your gut,’” Oosterholt says. “That one’s mine.”
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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Fire closes CHKN Chop—for now

The blaze was out in 30 minutes, but the damage is significant

Posted By on Tue, Feb 26, 2019 at 2:48 PM


CHKN Chop (6041 North Street), the north end charcoal rotisserie chicken restaurant, will be closed for an undetermined amount of time after a fire broke out on Sunday.

The restaurant’s co-owner Jenna Mooers says the fire was deemed accidental and likely started in a laundry dryer in the backend of the building. While fire damage was largely contained to the storage area and staff room, there is still significant smoke damage throughout the entire space.

“It’s going to take quite a bit of painting, cleaning, and refinishing,” said Mooers. “I would say we’re going to be closed for some time, with hopes of reopening in the spring at some point.”

Mooers received a call around 6pm on Sunday that smoke had been reported billowing out from the restaurant. The alarm system alerted the fire department and the fire was contained and extinguished within approximately 30 minutes.

“We’re so fortunate that the fire was contained to our unit and didn’t spread to our neighbours,” Mooers says of the blaze.

CHKN Chop shares a strip mall with Jessy’s Pizza and Unfiltered Brewing.  Mooers expressed her gratitude to the Halifax Fire Department and Halifax Regional Police, as well as the support of her neighbours—like Java Blend, who brought coffee while they waited outside in the cold on Sunday.

Mooers says that, while “the loss has been pretty devastating as a business owner,” she is focusing on the good fortune that the restaurant was closed at the time and no one was on site.

“It has been an emotional loss for me,” said Mooers. “But we’re focusing on the fact that no one was hurt—that’s the most important thing. Beyond that, all of this is just stuff and money.”
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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

DRINK THIS: Windmill Craft Cocktails' Winter Blues

Propeller collaborates with bartender Shane Beehan on a new cocktail in a can.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 13, 2019 at 6:29 PM

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Propeller Brewing Co.
is fighting the winter blahs with Winter Blues, the first in a new line of canned cocktails. The veteran brewer teamed up with lauded local bartender Shane Beehan for the debut in its Windmill Craft Cocktails series, which officially launched last Friday. Beehan, who currently mixes drinks at Lot Six, has been a fan of Propeller’s beer for years, so he was thrilled to help his favourite brewery come up with something new.

For Winter Blues, Beehan was largely inspired by “tiki bar culture,” which dates back to the ’30s and ’40s.

“The idea was that it brought the tropics to you—it offered you this exotic experience wherever you are,” says Beehan. “That was kind of what our driving force was.”

The result is a rum-based beverage featuring falernum: a Caribbean syrup with flavours of toasted almonds, warming spices, lime and ginger. “For me personally, in the bar world, it’s one of the most unique flavours you’ll ever come across,” says Beehan. The bright blue-green colour is a pretty unique look, too.

Winter Blues is a limited-edition cocktail only available at the Propeller storefronts and private liquor stores. Propeller plans to turn out more Windmill Craft Cocktails, including both limited-edition and year-round offerings. Perfect Storm—a Propeller-made rum and ginger beer cocktail, released in late summer 2018—will be rebranded to fit into the line, with additional new releases to follow.

“The important thing as a bartender is you really care about your craft and you really care about getting your drinks in people’s hands,” says Beehan. “The ability to create a canned cocktail means that I’m able to offer a drink to anybody, anytime.”
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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Garrison Brewing announces The Oxford Taproom

Quinpool Road's most beloved building gets a taste of local craft beer

Posted By on Tue, Feb 12, 2019 at 3:35 PM

The Oxford circa 1957, courtesy of the Nova Scotia Archives
  • The Oxford circa 1957, courtesy of the Nova Scotia Archives
Over a year after the closure of the iconic Oxford Theatre on Quinpool Road, Garrison Brewing Company has announced the landmark is coming back to life. This spring, the longtime brewer will debut a brand-new retail shop and neighbourhood local, The Oxford Taproom in the former Elegant Touch Beauty Salon (6418 Quinpool Road).

"I’m a sucker for old buildings, hence the spot we have down here at Halifax Seaport," says Garrison's founder Brian Titus. "I drive by [The Oxford] twice a day at least. I stopped in to talk to the Nahas brothers because I knew it had been over a year since they’d taken over the Oxford without a plan, other than not wanting to knock it down. I kept going down Quinpool a couple times a day thinking, 'Why can’t a guy get a growler here?'"

The rest is soon to be history. Titus says work is underway on the new space, which will pay tribute to the building's 82-year history as a cinema. The Passport Photo space next door to the theatre (6414 Quinpool Road) will house a beer, merch and pop shop, while the Elegant Touch footprint will house a nano-brewery for experimentation, a small kitchen space and 16 taps pouring up beer and cider. While there'll be some snacks available at the taproom, the Garrison team aims to host pop-up food events and will encourage patrons to order-in from surrounding Quinpool restaurants.

"It's the idea of a local. A social spot for people to walk two, three or four blocks to sit and have a pint and carry on," says Titus. The new Oxford will also boast an outdoor terrace space—dog-friendly with full sun exposure, tucked away from the busy street. "It’ll live and operate like the Seaport location," he adds.

Garrison will take over about 30 percent of the Oxford footprint, meaning there's theatre space still up for grabs. Titus teases that there could be news of another tenant coming very soon.

"Ultimately, if there hadn’t have been a good fit the people that own it are developers. The easiest thing in the world would be to knock it down and it was literally the last thing they wanted to do," says Titus, who says it's been difficult trying to keep lips sealed about this project. "It’s been hard to sleep at night because it’s such a cool thing and it’s come together really quickly."
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Thursday, January 31, 2019

Propeller Brewing's arcade fires up

The wizards at Propeller Brewing Co. debut a basement bar with a lineup of pinball machines and video games.

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2019 at 1:50 AM

KYLEE NUNN
  • kylee nunn
Propeller Brewing Co. (2015 Gottingen Street) is providing some nostalgia to pair with your pint.

The brand new Propeller Arcade Room—complete with its own little bar—opens below the existing taproom this Thursday, January 31. There’s no cell phone reception in the basement which—in the spirit of escapism—may be a blessing in disguise for dates or folks trying to meet new people.
“You could bump into somebody and immediately become friends with them. That’s the vibe that these machines put off,” says Ian Matheson, a Propeller store clerk who’s also a classic game fan. He’s previously brought arcade games to the taproom on a temporary basis “Everyone definitely showed up, and when the machines went away people showed up asking where they were. The next step was this.”

Matheson owns multiple pinball and other game machines. He purchased many of them after they’d fallen into disrepair and fixed them up back to working order. Not only did he champion the idea of an arcade at Propeller—he provided the bulk of the games from his own collection.

The current set-up is a slew of pinball machines: Iron Maiden, Guardians of the Galaxy and Skateball-themed games light up the room. Other options like Space Invaders (Matheson’s personal favourite), Hit The Ice and Big Buck Safari are also part of the mix. The arcade will be open Thursday through Sunday nights.
“Nostalgia is a huge escape from the nine-to-five life that can be a little overpowering sometimes,” says Matheson. The games aren’t the only throwback, either—the room used to be part of Gottingen Street’s old Wormwood’s Dog and Monkey Cinema.

“The concept of putting an arcade next to a brewery that used to be a movie theatre on Gottingen Street is just way too perfect.”
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In Print This Week

Vol 26, No 52
May 23, 2019

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