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Best Buskers' Festival hangouts

There are few places a stone's throw from the stages, so when you're finished watching the fire-eater swallow flames, walk your weary feet to one of these close-by watering holes.

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Voted Best Free Event 2008 in our Best of Halifax readers' poll, it's a sure bet the waterfront's going to be packed from August 6 to 11 for this year's Halifax International Busker Festival. There's only one restaurant in plain view of a busker stage (Stayner's Wharf at Chebucto Landing), and the chances of seeing a performance from a seat at that patio are close to zero---yelling "Down in front!" probably won't get you anywhere. There are a few places that are a stone's throw from the stages, though, so when you're finished watching the fire-eater swallow flames, walk your weary feet to one of these close-by watering holes.

Stayner's Wharf Pub & Grill

5075 George, in front of the ferry terminal

"It's like a circus down at the waterfront," says Stayner's owner Todd Abbass, remembering past busker festivals. He adds that there aren't any special events happening at Stayner's for the festival, though his staff might dress up for the occasion.

Hart & Thistle

Historic Properties, 1869 Upper Water

Formerly the Harbourfront Market, this venue almost qualifies as being in view of a Busker stage. Set just one level below the Nathan Green Square stage (on the side of the ferry terminal where the ferries dock), the busker performance can undoubtedly be heard from your patio seat. Catherine, a server at H&T, says, "I've been working here on the patio for 11 years, and it seems to be the place to be."

Lower Deck/The Beer Garden

Historic Properties, 1869 Upper Water

Yet another nook on the north section of the waterfront docks, the Lower Deck looks like the only restaurant that's doing something special for the busker festival. During the second weekend (Fri Aug 14 and Sat Aug 15), there will be all-day music with Paul Lamb and Corey Tetford doing matinees, and Shameless and Wreckhouse performing at night.

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