Considering Halifax is home to the most bars per capita in all of North America, it should come as no surprise that the industry has yielded a pretty high turnover rate. Some of the most legendary bars in the HRM were only open five or ten years before they were priced out of a competitive industry.
I was lucky enough to hit a few of the bars listed below, while others were made popular and shut down before I came of legal drinking age. Either way there was a crowd loyal to all the awesome bars mentioned in this article who miss their local watering hole greatly.
1. The Pogue Fado
Formerly located at Barrington and Sackville, The Pogue was a popular student fixture that closed in 2013. Turns out the cheap drink deals that brought out huge crowds every Thursday night were a little…ambitious. The Pogue will be fondly remembered for its awesome live music sets and downstairs dance floor!
2. The Palace
This monstrous nightclub/live music venue on Brunswick also closed in the fateful year of 2013 – a tough time for drinkers all over the HRM. The huge space hosted some amazing shows, and I'll remember it fondly as the first place I ever saw someone try and fight a bouncer (he lost).
3. Rogue’s Roost
Rogue’s Roost and Tom’s Little Havana used to share the corner of Spring Garden and Queen before 5435 was demolished last year. Tom’s relocated to Birmingham street but Rogue’s shut down – however their name will live on in the form of the Rogue’s Roost IPA, their in-house beer that will now be sold in stores across the Maritimes by the Prince Edward Island Brewing co. this fall.
Located below what is now the TD Halifax Holdings building at 5171 George St, Scoundrel’s was known for their cheap pitchers and award winning Halifax explosion shooters. Getting to Scoundrel’s in the icy winter months was treacherous on account of the steep decline one had to traverse in order to access the front door – many bailed in their drunken attempt to walk home at the end of the night. Now Locas Billiards lives here!
5. Misty Moon
The Misty Moon opened on Gottingen in 1969, before moving first to Kempt Road, then Barrington - where The Discovery Centre is now. A popular local watering hole, the Misty Moon put on quite a few remarkable shows over the years. In 1990 The Tragically Hip played a concert there that was filmed by Much Music. The bar closed later in 1995, but recently the staff reunited to commemorate The Misty Moon’s legacy with a party.
6. Peddler’s Pub & JJ Rossy’s
Peddler’s Pub was established in the eighties by the Ross brothers: Joey, Jimmy and Dave, during a time when the tavern business in Halifax was booming. Quickly Peddler’s became one of the most popular bars in Halifax, particularly for their Saturday Matinee shows. For fifteen years the Ross brothers were also able to open a second awesome pub called JJ Rossy’s before both closed in the early 2000's due to financial trouble.
7. Brandy’s Café & Lounge
Formerly located above what is now The Keg on Market Street, Brandy’s was a dance bar that formed a reputation as a late night hangout. Patrons waiting in line at The Palace on a busy night would often filter down to Brandy’s rather than wait in the cold – and they served cheap shots!
8. The Thirsty Duck
Opened in 1986, the Thirsty Duck was a Spring Garden neighborhood hangout owned by small group of doctors and lawyers. The crowd there was mostly young professionals in their thirties but everyone was welcome. They’re remembered for their beautiful deck, their shuffle board and some awesome live musical acts. Today a Mexican restaurant exists here, so it's not all sad news.
9. Hart & Thistle
Famous for their take home craft beer, Halifax’s Hart & Thistle gastropub closed it’s doors two years ago. Located on the waterfront where the Gahan House now is, the brewery was only open for about five years before it went out of business, but in that time Hart & Thistle was able to build a crew of loyal customers by whom it will be sorely missed.
10. Jerry’s Pub
Jerry’s entertained a younger, student crowd in their heyday – formerly part of The Palace, new owners took over in 1992, and tried to get prices even lower. In line with their prime demographic, Jerry’s played top forty beats and were known for their venue’s high vaulted ceilings.