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12 Iconic Pubs Every True Nova Scotian Needs To Visit At Least Once

Friday night has finally rolled around, and Nova Scotians are gearing up to hit the town and start their weekends off early.  Before you head out tonight consider hitting up one of the bars we’ve listed below in no particular order!  Whether you’re trying to party in downtown Halifax, or just grab a pint with friends in Wolfville, there are some legendary bars all over the province with some major historical significance!

Take in the history of these unique Nova Scotian pubs, and stop by for a drink next time you’re looking to party somewhere other than The Dome.

1. Glenora Inn and Distillery

This gorgeous Mabou Inn and Restaurant began as North America’s first single-malt whisky distillery, built in the early 1800’s by Scottish immigrants who had recently arrived in Cape Breton. Today guests can enjoy overnight stays at the Inn’s luxurious chalets, tours and tastings of the distillery, as well as drinks (of course) and snacks in The Washback Pub.

2. Paddy’s Brewpub

With locations in both Kentville and Wolfville, Paddy’s Brewpub has been brewing handcrafted beers for millions of Nova Scotians since 1995. Book a party at one of their locations or take a tour to discover how Paddy’s brews their in house to perfection.

3. Rudder’s Seafood Restaurant & Brew Pub

This legendary 18th century Yarmouth Brew Pub is also known for preparing handcrafted beers on site, and serve up a delicious selection which includes Blonde Rock, Rudder’s Red, Yarmouth Town Brown and Raspberry Blonde. Grab a classic East Coast meal with your beer from their extensive menu, and park your boat on the property’s marina for easy access to the waterfront!

4. The Port Pub

When summer comes around the patio at this Port Williams pub is bustling with visitors who flock to the restaurant for an unprecedented view of the surrounding landscape. Built in the interest of supporting local farmers and beer makers, The Port Pub serves food produced nearby, and handcrafted beer that’s made in house!

5. The Fo’c’sle

Nova Scotia’s oldest pub sits on Queen Street in Chester Nova Scotia. Functional since 1764, what was once a grocery store/stable/tavern/restaurant is now a popular local pub that serves great food and beer. With tons of daily drinks specials and live music every Saturday, this Chester landmark is a pub you must visit ASAP.

6. The Split Crow

A classic Halifax bar, Split Crow is known for more than just their incredible Saturday power-hour beer deals. Splitty’s – which was originally known as “The Spread Eagle” lol – received the first liquor license to be issued in New Scotland, which is now Nova Scotia. Now with three locations spread all over the province, The Split Crow remains a notable landmark for every tourist and broke student to visit when they’re looking for a pint.

7. Governor’s Pub & Eatery

One of the best restaurants in Cape Breton, not only does the Governor’s Pub serve up some amazing surf and turf on their extensive menu, but this traditional pub also has a massive beer and cocktail list of guests to enjoy. If you’re looking for a more upscale dining experience next time you’re in Sydney, you have to try the Governor’s Pub – they also have a beautiful patio that’s open all summer long!

8. The Knot Pub

Being over a century old, Lunenburg’s popular The Knot Pub is a must-visit spot for all those who plan on spending time in the UNESCO world heritage town. With a decidedly traditional vibe and fully decked out in nautical décor, the construction of The Knot was inspired by the boat building culture of Lunenburg. Order some delicious eats and chat with your fellow diners – this pub is a hot spot for interesting visitors from all over the world, and you never know who you might meet!

9. The Red Shoe Pub

This historic Mabou pub is a popular place for locals and tourists to visit and take in some amazing live music, played in traditional Nova Scotian style almost every day. Named after Dan Rory’s “The Red Shoes,” drop by The Red Shoe Pub next time you’re in Cape Breton for some beers and a meal off their Red Shoe Pub Menu.

10. Durty Nelly’s

Another classic Halifax hot spot, this Argyle Street pub is named after one of Irelands most popular landmarks, a famous restaurant located in a village called Bunratty. In an effort to authentically emulate an Irish culture at Durty Nelly’s, the bar was designed and built entirely in Ireland, before being brought piece-by-piece to Halifax in 2008. Now diners can enjoy live music, delicious food and great beer at this popular downtown haunt!

11. Finbar’s Irish Pub

This popular Dartmouth pub is another Nova Scotian watering hole that seeks to bring the charm of Ireland to Atlantic Canada. The family friendly vibe, traditional pub food and cold Irish beer make this a spot across the harbour that you have to visit! Also located in Bedford, stop by on Wednesday nights for their weekly Quiz Night Cup, and test your trivia skills against a dedicated crowd.

12. The Shore Club

Though they don't technically consider themselves a “pub,” we thought The Shore Club's historical presence and lively atmosphere made the venue an important addition to this list! For 70 years this Hubbards club has hosted some of the best Saturday night dance parties in Nova Scotia, hosting talented musicians from all over the world. There’s always something fun going on at the Shore Club, and their lobster suppers cannot be missed!

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