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A guide to Halifax's greatest patios

With the province initiating the first phase of its reopening plan following the latest COVID-19 lockdown, most of HRM's patios are thrilled to welcome back patrons starting today
Garrison Brewing Co
The Seaport patio at Garrison Brewing Company is prepared for the return of customers

Following more than a month of lockdown, the province has begun to loosen it’s latest COVID-19 restrictions by initiating the first phase of it’s reopening plan for Halifax.

Starting today, Nova Scotia restaurants and bars are allowed to open their outdoor patios as long as such public health measures as two metres of physical distance between tables and a cap of 10 people per table is maintained.

Struggling businesses will definitely seize the opportunity — but they aren’t alone. Many Haligonians who have been shut-in since the end of April will also be jumping at the chance to soak up some suds on a sunny patio.

Inspired by the onset of summer and (hopefully) the last of the pandemic lockdowns, here is a brief set of Halifax’s most inviting patio destinations to reintroduce yourself to a cold drink in an outdoor environment.

Downtown’s Destination Patio

Old Triangle – 5136 Prince Street

Last summer, Halifax’s authentic Irish taphouse put up a beautiful extended patio on Bedford Row that allowed the pub to accommodate more customers looking for great Irish grub, a good pour of Guinness and excellent live music. While people will have to wait a wee bit longer for that extension as the Old Triangle waits for final inspections and compliance from HRM, they are hoping to keep their original decks on Prince Street busy in the meantime. After all, the pub recently put out a message on social media noting the lockdown has cost the business $76,500. 

Newest Urban Patio

Lion’s Head Tavern – 3085 Robie Street

Since moving last year from its legendary decades-old Demone Street digs into its brand new spot around the corner, the popular Lion’s Head Tavern has not been able to showcase its rooftop patio — until now.  The three-level building now boasts The Terrace at the Lion’s Head where thirsty patrons will undoubtedly crowd the outdoor space for a glimpse of Halifax’s North End. However, patio seekers best take advantage this summer before the new 10-storey condo development that is scheduled to replace the old Lion’s Head Tavern’s home partially blocks any prospective views of the Hydrostone. Also, the patio will be on a first-come, first-served basis so be prepared for a queue but, as one of the tavern’s staff says, “it’ll be worth it.”

On the Waterfront

The Bicycle Thief – 1475 Lower Water Street

Definitely one of the most popular and gorgeous views of the Halifax Harbour, The Bicycle Thief’s waterfront patio is ideal for observing people strolling the boardwalk or watching boat traffic in the harbour. With its upscale Italian-inspired cuisine and cool wine bar, the restaurant is one of the city’s highest-ranked eateries, with good reason. Toss in the fact that they supply their customers with cozy red blankets when the weather turns cool and The Bicycle Thief will steal many patio hunter’s hearts. 

Coolest Craft Brewery Patio

Garrison Brewing Company – 1149 Marginal Road

With its barrel-adorned, wide-open patio at the Seaport, Garrison Brewing provides a casual, dog-friendly outdoor space for patrons eager to sample the established East Coast microbrewery’s popular Tall Ship Ale or simply a flight of tasters. Located a short walk from Pavilion 22, Garrison’s sun-exposed patio is the perfect place for a golden pint after a weekend jaunt to the recently relocated Halifax Farmer’s Market.

Decking out in Dartmouth

Celtic Corner Public House – 69 Alderney Drive

The popular Dartmouth drinking hole is thrilled to reopen its rooftop patio in order to provide patio seekers some of the best views of Halifax from the opposite side of the Harbour, especially as the sun begins to set. Operating through walk-in service only, Celtic Corner will not be taking reservations and will only be accessible off Queen Street (refer to signage posted throughout Joe Howe Park and up the driveway).

A Pair of Patios Further Afield

Boondocks – 6 Government Wharf Road

This off-the-beaten-path Fisherman’s Cove restaurant and bar boasts an expansive patio overlooking Eastern Passage and the gateway to the Atlantic Ocean. Even with current physical distancing measures in place, Boondocks can accommodate up to 102 people on their sunny deck.

Booza Emessa – 819 Bedford Highway

For those not interested so much in pints but still want to enjoy a great patio, this popular ice cream parlour off the Bedford Highway has installed a new tiki-like patio with six benches (which each seat six people) which provide views of the Bedford Basin while you slurp down some tasty Syrian ice cream.

A short list of other (but not all) great patio options in HRM:

Salty’s – 1877 Upper Water Street

The Lower Deck – 1887 Upper Water Street

Antojo Tacos + Tequila – 1667 Argyle Street

Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub – 1645 Argyle Street

Freeman’s Little New York – 6092 Quinpool Road / 3671 Dutch Village Road

Millstone Public House – 67 King's Wharf / 250 Baker Drive (both in Dartmouth)

The Wooden Monkey – 1707 Grafton Street / 40 Alderney Drive (Dartmouth)

Birch and Anchor – 367 Bedford Highway (opens June 4)

Off Track Brewing – 275 Rocky Lake Drive (Bedford)

NOTE: This is a corrected story. The Bicycle Thief does take reservations.

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