At the first sign of sunshine and a warm sea breeze blowing off the ocean, Halifax gets ready for patio season.
Halifax is a city that loves its patios so much that April 21st is annual “Patio Day.” This is the day when City Hall allows restaurants, pubs, cafes, and diners to take over sidewalks with wooden planks and fences.
Patio furniture is pulled from storage, umbrellas are opened up, and patio season officially starts. Only a brave few will pull on jackets and dine outside in chilly April weather, but once May’s sunshine hits, patios all over the city overflow with happy diners and drinkers.
From historic waterfront decks to modern rooftop patios, Halifax knows how to make the best of warm weather with al-fresco dining.
After doing some hands-on research (which included lounging on multiple patios and sampling delicious drinks and fabulous food—it was a hard job, but someone had to do it) I present seven of the best patios in Halifax.
Get ready to sit back, relax, and take advantage of the warm weather with a cold drink:
The Argyle Bar and Grill
The Argyle makes the list with not one, but two patios. The spacious rooftop patio (open Wednesday through Saturday) is one of the largest in Halifax, and is divided into three bars, with plenty of tables, chairs, and umbrellas to go around.
The sidewalk patio (open daily) is a great place to sit and people watch, and best of all, it’s close enough to the kitchen to tantalize patio-lovers with the smell of pizza cooking in the Argyle’s traditional wood ovens.
A hot spot for the party crowd on Thursday nights (as the Aqua Lounge dance club is located in the downstairs level) and a relaxing place for Sunday brunch—the Argyle really is the best of both worlds.
Tara Recommends: Thai Chicken Pizza and a frozen Velvet Berry (a delicious blend of strawberries and amaretto)
Your Father’s Moustache
One of the most popular patios in the city. Yellow footprints guide the way through Your Father’s Moustache restaurant to the rooftop, where you get the best view of Spring Garden Road, the busiest street in Atlantic Canada.
All-day sun access, affordable food and drink specials, and a laid-back atmosphere make this a destination spot for students, tourists, and businesspeople trying to get an hour of sun on their lunch break. Heaters and fire pits keep dedicated patio lovers warm through Halifax’s often unpredictable weather.
Tara Recommends: The award winning Pub Club and a cold Corona with lime
The Economy Shoe Shop
An infamous meeting place for the Hali-famous crowd (musicians, artists, actors, film makers, etc), the “Shoe”, as locals call it, has a cozy and European atmosphere.
The patio is located on the sidewalk of Argyle Street, in the trendy downtown area of Halifax. Filled with greenery, foliage, and lots of long tables, it’s a great place to go with a big group of friends.
Offering a late-night tapas menu, the Economy Shoe Shop is open every night until 2 a.m., which makes it a great place to end the evening with a heaping plate of nachos and a drink from their wine list.
Tara Recommends:The nachos (considered by many to be the best in the city) and a glass of Lindeman’s Sauvignon Blanc
The Lower Deck
You can’t get much closer to the Halifax Harbour than this patio. Located in the Historic Properties of downtown Halifax, the Lower Deck’s patio is the place to go for good beer and good music. Live entertainment seven days a week, ranging from Celtic to classic rock, keeps the patio packed with locals and tourists alike.
The Lower Deck is also home to the much-anticipated “Patio Parties”, where their patio is opened up and extended into Historic Properties and several live bands take to outdoor stages to play live music until late into the night.
Tara Recommends: Fish and chips with a bottle of locally brewed Alexander Keith’s Indian Pale Ale
Live outdoor jazz music draws patio-lovers to this supper lounge’s chic outdoor patio, which seats more than 100 people.
Located on the corner of Spring Garden Road and Barrington Street, in the heart of downtown Halifax, Niche‘s modern patio offers “upcasual dining” with an extensive cocktail list.
With a great atmosphere, live entertainment, and an attractive outdoor setup, this patio is definitely one of the most romantic places to dine al-fresco in the city. On weekend evenings, reservations are usually your best bet to securing a seat under the stars.
Tara Recommends: Curry Chicken Linguini and a classic martini (delicious, and it rhymes)
The Split Crow
The oldest tavern in Halifax, The Split Crow was granted Nova Scotia’s first liquor license in 1749 and is still one of the most well-liked pubs in the city. A popular meeting place after work and on weekends, the Split Crow patio offers good ol’ fashioned Maritime entertainment and generous mugs of grog.
The patio may not be the biggest, but Granville Street is a car-free, so patrons usually spill out onto the cobblestone road to dance to the live music. Raise your glass every time someone calls out “sociable” and you’ll fit right in with the local crowd.
Tara Recommends: Crow’s wings and Garrison Raspberry Craft Beer
Murphy’s on the Water
Also known as Murphy’s Cable Wharf, Halifax’s harbourside restaurant is also the city’s largest tour boat operator (Theodore Tugboat, the Harbour Hooper, and the Harbour Queen are all owned and operated by Murphy’s Cable Wharf).
This “floating patio” extends over the actual harbour, and is a great place to stop and watch boats cruise by after walking along the 3-km long Halifax Boardwalk. Venture inside the restaurant to visit the touch tank, where children and adults can touch local marine life and net their own lobster.
Tara Recommends: The lobster (served hot, with melted butter and lemon) and a traditional margarita
Halifax on a Budget: Food
Halifax is a university town full of frugal students and, as an alumnus of University of Kings College, I know how to stretch a dollar. One of the best things about the city is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a good time. Here’s a list of fun and affordable places to eat and drink on your next trip to Halifax.
Eat like a Nova Scotian
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