Disclaimer: This is a #sponsored post. I’m compensated for my work with the Downtown Halifax Business Commission. All opinions, as always, are my own.
How glorious is it that my children are old enough to take to dinner! The simple fact that I no longer arrive back from a quick trip to the bathroom, only to find they’ve poured sugar packets and coffee creamers into their glasses of water while wearing their napkins as hats, makes the experience SO MUCH MORE enjoyable!
Don’t get me wrong…there’s part of me that misses those days tremendously…but there’s something rather wonderful about sitting in a restaurant with your youngest while discussing what’s going on in her life, or enjoying a cold drink on a hot day with your son, chatting about his future and what’s happening in the world around him.
As part of the #SummerPatiosDT campaign with the Downtown Halifax Business Commission, I headed out to discover a few of Halifax’s “Hidden Gems”…those out of the way places that folks may not know about…you know, the ones you pass by and think “I wonder what that patio’s like?”
I had a plan. For starters, I decided to avoid Argyle Street…but don’t get me wrong…there are some fantastic patios on Argyle that I love to frequent and if you click on the links at the bottom of this post, you can find out where my partners on this project picked as their favourite patios to dine with kids, enjoy on a date, visit when the weather isn’t perfect or enjoy with a colleague. Me…I was focusing on the out-of-the-way patios so along with taking Argyle out of the mix, I also chose to stay away from a few of my favourite haunts like The Lower Deck, Bicycle Thief and Gahan House as they aren’t so hidden…however, I’m sure you’ll find some or all of those places on the other lists. (Seriously, click through all of the posts when you’re finished with mine!)
Here’s what I came up with…my list of the 5 “Hidden Gem Patios” you MUST visit this Summer!
BUT I’M WARNING YOU NOW…this is a long post! I’m covering FIVE patios in ONE post filled with lots of photos and descriptions PLUS, there’s a link to other posts at the end AND a giveaway! Read to the end…scan through some of the text if your eyes start to get a wee bit tired or check out the photos closer and click on the links to the spots that really call your name…but for goodness sake, visit these 5 patios this summer AND get to the end of this post where you can win a $250 gift card for your dining pleasure on a Downtown Halifax Patio of your choice!
Five Hidden Gem Patios you MUST visit this Summer!
1. Shuck Seafood + Raw Bar
Nestled beneath Halifax’s fabulous Steakhouse, CUT, you’ll find SHUCK…a fabulous restaurant known for its Oysters that are fresh and waiting for you the moment you walk in the door.
Side Note: Before I go on, can I just mention how cool the restaurants names are? As in, you CUT a piece of meat and you enjoy a specialty CUT of meat…but you SHUCK an Oyster or enjoy a fabulous salad and say “Well Shucks, that was great!” OK…I’ll move on (it’s just that I love how simple and perfect the names are!)
I’ve never had an Oyster. Ever. And…well, at the end of my patio tour, I have to admit…I still haven’t tried an oyster despite being in the perfect restaurant to do so! But FIRST THINGS FIRST PEOPLE…let’s not go all wild here…I was heading out of my comfort zone even going to a different place to begin with and there’s only so much adventure this woman can take!
Shuck is the perfect Maritime seafood restaurant to bring friends from out-of-town where you can enjoy a spectacular menu that features many dishes using “The Ocean Wise” program…aiming to highlight sustainable seafood choices that have been harvested responsibly…with a commitment to keeping our oceans healthy!
The restaurant is warm and inviting…feeling very much like an East Coast Kitchen…where you can happily place your elbows on the table and really and truly enjoy a feed of lobster without a care in the world for messing up the paper tablecloths, the blue and white checked dish-towel napkins, or the coloured glasses that would easily hide all of your lobster-cracking, garlic-buttered fingerprints! Plus, as an added bonus, there’s a naked gold mermaid hanging from the ceiling and what’s more maritime than that!!??
I’ll be back to try out the restaurant…but on this glorious summer day, I headed out through the doors with my youngest daughter and lunch date, Megan, to enjoy the sights and sounds of the city!
Located on the corner of Salter Street and Lower Water…it was the perfect little spot to watch all of the goings-on of a busy city day while nestled together under the shade of a lovely umbrella surrounded by glorious trees and bright, vibrant gardens. The staff were friendly, the flowers were gorgeous…there was a lovely spot with lounge chairs that would be the perfect spot on a summer’s evening with a group of girlfriends…and the fish and chips were fantastic!
Shuck was a treat! It had everything you’re looking for in a seafood restaurant from table service that was casual and comfortable enough to really get into a feast…to a lovely intimate setting outside where you could enjoy the company of one…or sit with a gaggle of friends on the comfy patio furniture.
Then at night…check out the transformation! HOW BEAUTIFUL is THIS?!
Shuck lights up in the most fabulous way. A perfect “Hidden Gem” with thousands of mini lights wrapped around the large trees and nestled amongst the shrubbery…just screaming for you to enjoy a romantic night with your very best BAE!
2. Little Oak
If you’re looking to get a little closer to the water with a bit more foot traffic, while still enjoying a “Hidden Gem” that’s in plain sight for everyone to see…you really should give Little Oak a try!
For a little place that’s warm and inviting with its gorgeous oak bar and spectacular wine room…Little Oak boasts an impressive wine list as well as small plates of food that pack a huge, delicious, punch of flavour!
? is out and the patio is open!! But most importantly we’re pouring Mag’s of Tavel and it pairs perfectly with this weather. . Come see us and get your rosé on! . See you tomorrow for the Wednesday bottle deal!!! . . . #wine #magnum #rosé #largeformat #tavel #france #summer #sunshine #sun #patio #lowintervention #winebar #littleoak #waterfront #halifax #eastcoast #bishopslanding #novasvotia #canada
Plus…they have WEDNESDAY BOTTLE DEALS!!!!
Give them a follow on Instagram or Facebook where they’ll share tidbits about their wines, craft beers, menu items and staff…making you want to head on down to Bishop’s Landing where, after just one little try…I absolutely promise, it won’t be your last.
IN FACT! I’m half thinking it shouldn’t be on my list of Hidden Gems as THREE TIMES I pulled my car into the parking lot to grab a spot at a patio table and ALL THREE TIMES it was PACKED with folks enjoying the warm summer evenings so THE CAT’S OUT OF THE BAG on this “gem” of a restaurant!
I couldn’t get near the place and for that reason, I used photos from a previous visit and grabbed a quick shot from the car while I WISHED I could be sitting at the patio enjoying a glass of Rose but fear not…I’ll be making a date for another visit soon!
(Seriously…go click on their Instagram and CHECK OUT THE FOOD!)
3. Wooden Monkey
In the Year of the Monkey, 2004, The Wooden Monkey opened its doors on Grafton Street in Halifax. Just a few months before, co-owner Lil MacPherson, was completely in the dark and pondering her future and the future of those around her. LITERALLY!
Hurricane Juan had just struck Halifax with a brutal force…taking down trees and shutting off power for multiple days as neighbours joined together in the clean-up, emptied their freezers and threw mass gatherings around their BBQs…doing anything they could to help one another out.
Lil questioned everything. Where we live. Our proximity to food. Climate change and food security. Local farming. The health and well-being of her community.
An idea formed…and from that…the Wooden Monkey was born! A restaurant with a conscience, serving farm to table, local, sustainable foods with an extensive gluten-free and vegetarian menu where each item on the menu sounds even better than the one before.
Ironically, during Hurricane Juan, I was in the dark questioning everything as well as my three little monkeys wreaked havoc on my life making me wonder if I’d ever find peace and tranquility and yet, here I was…15 years later as Noah and I enjoyed a lovely evening on the quiet patio as a whisper of music came from the apartments above and we toasted each other over a glass of local craft-beer.
Side Note #2: I’d like to be in a relationship where my partner gazed at me lovingly, the way my son smiles at his beer. Just sayin’…
The company was fantastic…a chance to catch up and de-brief one another on what’s been going on in our lives without the distraction of everything else around us. But the food…that’s the real kicker at The Wooden Monkey as each and every time I’ve visited…either at the Halifax or Dartmouth restaurant…I’ve not been disappointed.
We enjoyed a plate of Monkey Bruscetta that TASTED LIKE MORE! It was absolutely delicious and a new favourite menu item of mine…I’ll be back soon!
Check out the menus online to see what I mean about food that’s LOCAL and WONDERFUL and COOKED TO PERFECTION…but be forewarned (a word unfamiliar to us Haligonians who couldn’t imagine a hurricane could hit us like it did), you’ll be drooling before you’re done!
4. Rousseau Chocolate
Tucked away in its new, bright, modern and glorious location on South Street for the last five months (this fab shop outgrew its former location on Barrington), you’ll find the most delicious chocolate shop, Rousseau Chocolatier.
I’ve been a fan of Rousseau’s chocolates for quite some time as there’s absolutely nothing better than sitting down to a hot cup of coffee and a half-dozen beautifully detailed and tasty chocolates created by chocolatier, Julien Rousseau…except for ICE CREAM!!
Honest to goodness…RIGHT NOW…grab the kids, grab your partner, grab your best friend, neighbour, mother-in-law, delivery man, four-legged friend…GRAB ANYONE or GO BY YOURSELF but GO. GET. THE. ICE-CREAM from Rousseau’s Dairy Bar!
I would have taken more photos of the fabulous patio with the comfy cedar chairs and the pretty flowers lining the street except for…well, you get it…I WAS BUSY EATING ICE CREAM!!!!
In my case, blood orange sorbet with a dark chocolate drip that was ABSOLUTELY THE BEST THING EVER IN THIS WORLD except that Megan tried it…and she said her Hazelnut Dipped Ice Cream in a Waffle Cone was EVEN BETTER!
Oh my goodness…what a delight. This place is great. The chocolates are to die for. The macarons are spectacular. The coffee is fresh. And the ice cream…that’s what summer patios are made for!
But…don’t take my word for it…grab your person…sit inside for a lovely treat and cup of coffee or enjoy the summer sunshine with a cone in hand. AND, don’t forget to take home some boxed chocolates as a treat later on. EVEN BETTER…send them to someone you love (like me) by ordering online through their website!
5. Barrington Steakhouse
And finally, last but in absolutely no way least, we checked out the deck at Barrington Steakhouse that I’ve chosen to write about last as it truly, and honestly, REALLY IS, a hidden gem!
So hidden is this patio that you can’t see it from any street and in fact, you may only be able to see it from above if you secured yourself to the back of a pigeon flying high through the downtown streets of Halifax.
“I’m not sure we should be in a place that has a Table of Contents on their wine list,” my son said as he perused through the list…finding one particularly intriguing bottle of wine that was twenty-one hundred dollars!!!
“We’re not exactly dressed for this place,” I stated to GM, Hailey, who promptly put me at ease saying that absolutely everyone was welcome. But I will say, while my denim capris and chucks were just fine on the back patio on an evening that everyone else was inside, I’d surely throw on a blouse and pair of shoes were I to visit the restaurant!
Noah and I enjoyed the most phenomenal Charcuterie Board and Craft Beer on the most spectacular deck…making us feel like we’d slipped away on a wee vacation. We were treated like royalty…with three different staff members coming out to check on us and say hello.
We chatted with Hailey about the beautiful deck with its fabulous potential and she mentioned the “Dark Room” that you could rent for the evening, complete with its very own private bar (with the coziest bar stools imaginable) and use of the patio which would definitely make any function OVER-THE-TOP AMAZING!
I’m picturing an intimate wedding, a 50th birthday, a glorious cocktail party or a fabulous work function…with thirst-quenching cocktails and delicious food…all in the privacy and intimacy of your very own, very secret and fabulous space. (For private bookings, email Haley Clarke…different Haley than I met but I’m sure she’s just as lovely…at firstname.lastname@example.org).
It was fabulous getting away from my same-‘ol same-‘ol to discover a few new hidden gems in the city…reminding me that there’s a whole lot more out there to enjoy if I’d just get out there and enjoy it!
This patio exploration was just the beginning…I suddenly feel as if I’m missing out and there’s a great many restaurants that are calling my name.
A HUGE THANKS to Downtown Halifax for spurring me on to enjoy the Summer of Patios! Visit their website for more information and a list of patios in the Downtown Core…along with all of the activities they have going on over the summer months. There really is a ton going on in our city…and just a peek through their website will show you a touch of what makes Downtown Halifax such a fantastic place.
Who’s up for an adventure? What’s your favourite Downtown Patio? Follow the #summerpatiosDT hashtag and see for yourself the amazing patios just waiting for you to pull up a chair…
As promised at the beginning of the post, we have a GIVEAWAY! Five of the bloggers who partnered on this campaign are hosting a giveaway for Downtown Halifax, and you could win a $250 gift card to enjoy at your favourite Downtown Patio!
Residents of Nova Scotia of the age of majority are eligible to win. There is one (1) $250 Visa Gift Card (the prize) available to be won and there is no cash alternative. Winner will be drawn on July 31 at 11:55 PM and must respond to an email within 24 hours as well as answer a skill testing question to claim the prize.
Check out Where my Blogger Friends Explored!
Disclaimer: I’m compensated for my work with the Downtown Halifax Business Commission. All opinions, as always, are my own.