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downtown Halifax

Hot Dining: Grab a Slice at Halifax Pizzerias

Pizza at Morris East. Photo: Andrew Chow

For those with gourmet tastes, check out Morris East on Morris Street. Try a thin-crust pizza made in a wood-fired oven, topped with fresh local ingredients. Find unique flavour such as peach, margherita and gluten-free selections, too. Pair your pizza with a wine from the extensive wine list.

For the family, head to Boston Pizza (Lower Sackville, Portland Street, Granville Market, Dartmouth Crossing and Bayers Lake). There are pizzas for meat lovers, vegetarians, spice lovers and those with more exotic tastes.

If you’re looking for a quick slice at lunch, stop in at Jessy’s Pizza on Barrington Street. Meat, pepperoni, works and donair pizzas all available by the slice for a great price.



Hot Shopping: Flirt With Fashion at Two Unique Halifax Shops

J&R Grimsmo

Halifax has a style all its own. Be sure to visit these two local shops and discover the finest fashions Halifax has to offer.

• Find the latest designer styles at J&R Grimsmo Boutique on Barrington Street. Opened last fall, this womenswear shop offers East Coast summer staples, like striped shirts and flirty dresses, as well as bolder items, like vibrant purses, animal print scarves and handcrafted jewellery. There’s plenty to mix and match for each day of the week.

• Whether you’re outfitting for a night on the town or keeping it casual, Kick Ass Shoes has the footwear for you. Drop by the shop on Spring Garden Road to check out the selection of neon pumps, comfy flats and wedge sandals.

Hot Shopping: Go Bold at Biscuit General Store and Pseudio

Biscuit General Store

Colour blocking is the hot trend this spring, wearing bold complementary colours to create a dynamic look. You can’t go wrong with any combination of teal, black and white, while mint green is proving to be one of the season’s hottest colours for a splash of vitality. Find plenty to work with at Biscuit General Store on Argyle Street.

You’ll find colour-blocking options galore at any of the city’s four Pseudio locations as well. Vibrant, flirty tri-colour tanks are sure to be a hit on the beaches down south.

Hot Dates: New Year’s Eve

Grand Parade square in downtown Halifax, in front of Halifax City Hall, hosts Atlantic Canada’s biggest New Year’s Eve party. Festivities begin at 9:30pm, with live entertainment and a spectacular fireworks show at midnight.

Hot Dates: 5 for music lovers

  • Finger 11.

    November 18: Canadian rockers Finger Eleven, best know for hits like “One Thing” and “Paralyzer,” perform at Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street.

  • November 26: The Dartmouth Community Concert Association hosts the multi-talented Rhapsody Quintet at Woodlawn United Church. The ensemble performs light classical, salon, musical theatre, movie music, jazz, tango, klezmer and more.
  • November 27: Soft-rock dreamboat James Blunt, best known for “You’re Beautiful” and “Goodbye My Lover,” makes a rare visit to the Halifax Metro Centre.
  • December 4: Performing in Halifax for the first time, the Mastan Group offers an “uplifting, mesmerizing” performance of Persian music.
  • December 9: New Orleans music legend Dr. John (joined by the Lower 911 band) rocks Casino Nova Scotia.

Pop a Cold One at Halifax Seaport BeerFest

With nearly 200 varieites on offer, this annual festival is heaven for beer lovers

By Trevor J. Adams

Taps Magazine picked Halifax’s as Canada’s “favourite beerfest” and it’s not hard to see why. Running from August 5 to 6, the Halifax Seaport BeerFest on Marginal Road features some 200 beers and ciders from around the world.

Now in its fifth year, the festival has been growing steadily and is now a beloved rite of summer for the city’s committed tipplers. “For the past two years, evening sessions have sold out,” says festival co-chair Bruce Mansour. Organizers are expecting 5,000 attendees
this year.

This year’s highlights include an expanded Quebec pavilion, Baxter Brewing (Maine), King Brewery (Ontario) and Canada’s newest brewer, Spearhead Brewing from Toronto. In addition to the ample array of ales, vendors will sell beer-inspired food on-site. Forget about the stereotypical hot-dog-on-a-barbecue vendors, though. Some of the city’s most popular restaurants will be serving up sample-sized creations. They include Saege Bistro, Fid Resto and Brussels Restaurant & Brasserie.

Once again this year, organizers are offering a Ladies VIP Brew Tour with Mirella Amato. For a $10 surcharge, women can skip the line-ups and enjoy a 30-minute talk, sampling and food pairing.

The weekend kicks-off on August 4 with a one-of-a-kind beer dinner at Brussels Restaurant & Brasserie. Troy Burtch of Taps Magazine hosts. The meal features four courses paired with five festival beers, each introduced by a brewery representative. New this year is the Beer Brunch at The Maxwell’s Plum on August 6 from 10 a.m. to noon. It’s a chance for attendees to meet some of the brewers in town for the festival.

BeerFest Survival Guide
With dozens of vendors, hundreds of beers and thousands of dedicated drinkers, BeerFest can overwhelm newbies. Organizers have provided these survival tips to help you get the most out of the experience (without doing yourself permanent harm).

• Pace yourself. It’s not a race and there’s plenty of beer to go around.
• Protect yourself. The event is predominantly outdoors. Check the weather and bring rain gear or sun block as needed.
• Carry cash. The beer is included in the ticket price but the food isn’t. After a
couple hours, you’ll want food. Trust me.
• Eat before you go. Trying 200 different beers on an empty stomach will end badly.
• Do a quick circuit and pick out some must-try highlights before you start
drinking with gusto. You probably won’t get to try everything, so be strategic.
• Drink water. If you’ve had beer before, this one is self-explanatory.

The Details
Tickets are available at some Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation stores and online. The cost is $40 per session or $45  at the door. Sessions run Friday night 7:00 p.m. to 9:30pm, Saturday afternoon 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday night 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tickets sell quickly, so it might be wise to buy in advance. Follow the link for more information.

Sax and the city

Colin Stetson performs at the Halifax Jazz Festival on July 9 at Saint Matthew's Church.

The Halifax Jazz Festival celebrates 25 years of swingin’ sounds

By Trevor J. Adams

The city’s biggest annual music event, the Halifax Jazz Festival returns July 8 to 16. This is the 25th edition of the festival and, as befits a silver anniversary celebration, it boasts an array of established masters and hot innovators. While venues around the city host concerts, the Festival Tent is always the busiest spot. For years, Spring Garden Road hosted the party but this year it moves to the waterfront. The tent will plant its stakes at the foot of Salter Street.

The Tent is home to the biggest concerts. Things kick off there on July 8 with The Bad Plus and Yaron Herman. On July 9, the Tent hosts one of the Festival’s most anticipated concerts: Idle Warship (the latest project from MC extraordinaire Talib Kweli) with local hip-hop stars The Extremities opening the show.

The tent will be jumping on July 10, too, as the legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band from New Orleans takes the stage. And on July 11, chanteuse Jill Barber returns to her roots. Now living in British Columbia, she began her career here. “I am very excited,” she said in a recent interview with Halifax Magazine. “I have performed at almost every venue and festival in and around Atlantic Canada but I have never played the JazzFest… Halifax will forever feel like home to me. It is the place where I found my voice and it is where I came of age both as a woman and as a musician.”

Busy every night, the Festival Tent closes in fine fashion on July 16, as the Digable Planets return to Halifax. The tent is also jumping during the day, when it hosts free matinee concerts with Samba Nova, the Ghostrider Blues Band, Jeff Torbert and many other acts. Bluesman Morgan Davis takes the stage around 2:50pm on July 11. If you’re a fan of old-school guitar blues, this is probably going to be the best free concert you’ll ever see.

There will also be free shows on the new Whirligig Stage (the waterfront helipad). Australian expatriate Daniel Matto, now living in Halifax, performs there at about 4:50pm on July 10. Matto is a smooth jazz crooner—just the thing for a sultry summer afternoon.
You can even enjoy jazz on the waves of Halifax Harbour. There are concerts for kids aboard Theodore Too tugboat, while the Tall Ship Silva hosts shows by the Carson Downey Band and Gypsophilia.

Other venues include Saint Matthew’s United Church, which hosts the free JazzEast 25th Anniversary Big Band show on July 14, the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia (Freddy Cole on and Kenny Barron), the Imperial Ballroom at the Lord Nelson (Keren Ann, the Jubilee Swing Orchestra), 1313 Hollis (Paul Cram’s 4 Flavours, The Unsupervised), The Company House (Wordrhythm, Friendly Rich and the Lollipop People), the Georgian Lounge at the Lord Nelson and several pubs and lounges.

Clubs, pubs and bars around the city will host Festival performances too. Participants include Stayner’s Wharf on George Street, Pipa on Argyle Street, The Press Gang on Prince Street, Bearly’s on Barrington Street, Onyx (page 90) on Spring Garden Road and Elephant & Castle on George Street.

Hot Dining: Sweet Tooth

Tempting desserts at Il Mercato.

Justifiably noted for its Northern Italian house specialties like pasta and pizza, Il Mercato on Spring Garden Road and at Sunnyside Mall also serves up head-turning desserts. House specialties include Zuccotto (alternating layers of genoise, straticiatelle and chocolate mousse, covered in chocolate ganache), fresh-fruit cheesecake, fruit tarts and gelato.

Hot Shopping: Send for the Super Heroes

Strange Adventures appeared in an issue of "Superman."

Strange Adventures on Sackville Street is simply one of the coolest stores in downtown Halifax. The little subterranean shop is jammed floor to ceiling with comics, games, books, toys and action figures. Reader’s Digest called it “Canada’s Best Comic Store” and it appeared in an issue of Superman.

Hot Dates: Local Talents

"Red Woman" by Donna Mancini.

A group of 21 local artists and artisans run Art 1274 Hollis. The Hollis Street gallery showcases locally made paintings, jewellery, woodcarvings and pottery. In June, it features works by Donna Mancini and Karen Phinney.

Hot Dining: Editor’s Choice

Obladee on Barrington Street. Photo: Lisa Enman

Shining like a beacon on Barrington Street, Obladee has brought a touch of style and class to its downtown neighbourhood. Intimate and tony, the casual wine bar serves some 30 wines by the glass and 40 more by the bottle. Vintages are artfully paired with
artisanal cheese and charcuterie.

Hot Dates: In the Navy…

Adapted from an exhibition created by National Museums Liverpool (U.K.), Hello Sailor explores “gay life on the ocean wave.” The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic also highlights a Canadian and Nova Scotian perspective from May 19 to November 27.