Traditions Pride and Whisky

Traditions Pride and Whisky

We find the best bars in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island

Places | 25 Apr 2014 | Issue 119 | By Johanne McInnis

  • Share to:
For millions of years the Atlantic Ocean has battered and shaped the east coast of Canada. So too does the sea shape its people, cut not from the rugged bedrock but from the cloth of immigrants. With little more than a suitcase and dreams for a better life, their sturdy but impoverished ancestors bid France, Ireland, Scotland and England farewell to set sail in the thousands for this land now known as the Maritimes.

Nearly a century before Canada became a country, the Maritimes: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island enjoyed independent colonial governments and financial prosperity. Back then, the locals mostly drank rum. Today in these small beautiful provinces people relax, enjoy a slower pace of life and extend old fashioned hospitality to the weary whisky traveller. It is common to be invited to a kitchen ceilidh and into people's homes and hearts. Maritimers, like the landscape itself, are rugged individuals quick to offer visitors a hearty welcome and safe harbour.

Sitting at the head of the Prohibition era's much-storied Rum Row, the Maritimes are steeped in the lore of rum runners, bootleggers, and shipwrecks. The bars, restaurants & pubs clearly reflect this still-proud spirit.

1 Britt's Pub & Eatery

42 Princess Street, Saint John, New Brunswick

In a heritage building with architecture styles that reflect the Loyalists who landed there in the 1700's, this English-style pub was once the studio of renowned artist Miller Britain. Its name and atmosphere are a nod to Britain who returned from WWII and began to capture the everyday lives of longshoremen on canvas. Replicas of his paintings and murals, which received critical acclaim for their social commentary, hang on the restored brick walls of Britt's Pub. Unless you come early on Friday night, expect to wait for a seat. However, hard-core regulars will tell you it's worth the wait. Britt's is one of the only local pubs serving traditional English fare, and owner Roy Scribner ensures it's authentic: Bangers & mash served with warm Yorkshire pudding and homemade chips with curry sauce are examples. With the largest whisky selection in Saint John, Britt's pours hard-to-find Canadian whiskies such as Wiser's Red Letter along with a few rare single malts. The atmosphere is inviting and local whisky lovers flock there to enjoy good company, food & stellar drams.

2 Cut Steakhouse

5120 Salter Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Since the day it opened its doors in November 2007, Cut Steakhouse has provided diners with the highest quality steaks in Halifax. Here, chef Tahir Salamat fuses old world flavors with local produce to create an opulent dining experience. Steaks from four different farms provide distinct tasting profiles. Aided by a tableside cart, servers guide patrons through USDA Prime, Ontario Paradise Farms, Local AAA Black Angus and Oakleigh Ranch Black Diamond Wagyu, explaining each cut, marbling content and flavor profile. The beef is dry aged on site from 35-120 days in temperature controlled coolers. Sous-chefs prepare acclaimed Caesar salads tableside adding anchovies, double-smoked bacon and aged Parmigiano-Reggiano for flair. Staff pride themselves on their ability to pair a chosen cut with a dram from the full range and styles of single malts available. Cut is not just about beef, it's about creating a multisensory experience from the minute you walk through their door. If you are a steak aficionado who likes his or her malts, place Cut Steakhouse on your list of 101 must visits.

3 Glenora Inn & Distillery

13727 Route 19, Glenville, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

If Nova Scotia really is New Scotland, then Cape Breton, with the highest population of Gaelic speaking habitants in the world is its very soul. So, in 1989 it only made sense to build an inn & whisky distillery there. Though an ultimately successful ten-year legal battle with the SWA brought financial hardships, the Glenora Distillery survived and has the distinction of producing the first single malt in North America in modern times. Snug at the foot of Glenora Falls, the inn and distillery impart a Highland feel punctuated with Cape Breton tradition. Where else in Canada can you start your day with a full Scottish breakfast; attend a whisky seminar, sit down to a large scoff (meal) and finish the evening with a ceilidh? With live music to keep your foot tapping, you can enjoy some of the 50+ Scotch, Irish and Canadian whiskies before taking the few steps to one of the rooms or cottages right on-site. When you wake in the morning to the aroma of malted barley fermenting, you may find it difficult to leave.

4 The Lunar Rogue

625 King Street, Fredericton, New Brunswick

A jailer referred to him as the "mysterious stranger" and Henry Moon took full advantage of that description. A robber, horse thief, and hypnotist, Moon was one of the most cunning con-men that 19th century New Brunswick ever saw. The subject of legends and maritime lore he was dubbed the "Lunar Rogue." In 1989, Frank Scott and his childhood friend Brian Freeman followed a long tradition of naming pubs after scoundrels by giving that moniker to their newly opened establishment. With its Loyalist/Colonial design, the Lunar Rogue is unique to the history of the Fredericton area. In its 25th year of business, the whisky selection has grown to over 500, including a rare bottling of Glen Flager 1973. The menu features Forty Creek Whisky BBQ Back Ribs served with a mound of fries and stack of napkins. The Lunar Rogue has earned its reputation as a Maritime pub done right and it's no secret that this gem welcomes more than just the people of Fredericton.

5 MIC Canadian Eatery & Whisky Pub

200 Champlain Street, Dieppe, New Brunswick

Made in Canada (M. I. C.) Eatery & Whisky Pub is exactly what the name implies. The food, spirits, décor, everything right down to the music is 100% Canadian. The idea for an all-Canadian bar & restaurant was conceived in Sudbury Ontario in the late 90's and then spread east to the Moncton area. M. I. C. prides itself on all things Canadiana and is the only pub in New Brunswick with nothing but Canadian whisky behind the bar - twenty-five Canadian whiskies to be precise. Whisky connoisseurs and complete novices alike can enjoy a unique experience at M. I. C. - Canadian whisky served in flights. A good range of premium, deluxe and speciality bottlings, gives whisky lovers an occasion to try some of the best ryes and blends made in this country. Selections from Forty Creek, Lot 40, Wiser's, Glenora, Highwood Distillery, Stillwaters and the ever popular Crown Royal line can be found behind the bar. The menu is varied, offering pub-style food with a Great White North twist. The ever-popular signature dish? Montreal smoked meat poutine.

6 The Pilot House

70 Grafton Street, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Erected as a warehouse for prominent business partners Dodd & Rogers in 1896, the Pilot House was one of the first Italianate influenced commercial buildings in Charlottetown. Massive stone construction with arched windows reminiscent of the Venetian arcades became an architectural trend in that city. It remained unchanged until 1988, when it was converted to a hardware store. The owner's death in 2002 provided a new lease on the old building's life when it was renovated and converted into the Pilot House Restaurant. Being surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean has its privileges as chef Jared Acorn knows well. He chooses the freshest catches of the day to create a culinary island experience such as lobster fettuccini served with brandy tarragon sauce or hand filleted Pilot Ale battered fish & chips served with hand cut PEI French fries. The 25+ whisky selection awaits the many patrons who drop by daily to enjoy a dram after work. The Pilot House is a whisky traveller's island staple, not to be left unexplored.

7 The Press Gang

5218 Prince Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Armed with a degree in culinary arts & restaurant management, Milan Vechter left Slovakia to travel the world. Soon after he arrived in Canada in 2006, he joined the management team at the Press Gang in the downtown core of Halifax, a port city and the financial capital of Nova Scotia. The Press Gang restaurant and oyster bar is housed in one of the most historical stone structures in Halifax dating back to 1759. The restaurant offers an authentic Maritimes dining experience, the chefs priding themselves on their use of fresh, local and sustainable ingredients. From the sea: fresh oysters, calamari or halibut and one of the house specialties: Cod & Scrunchions - pan seared Atlantic cod fish served with braised pork belly and roasted nugget potatoes. Tuesday evenings, the in-house whisky specialist offers customers two complimentary samples from a whisky collection of over 150 bottlings. Milan Vechter's goal was to provide one of the most memorable gastronomic/imbibing experiences in Halifax.

8 The Rossmount Inn

4599 Route 127, St. Andrews, New Brunswick

Nestled at the foot of the Chamcook Mountain this beautiful Queen Anne-style three-storey inn peacefully looks out over the Passamaquoddy Bay, just outside the historic town of St. Andrews. There, owners, Chris & Graziella Aerni, treat travellers to a true Bay of Fundy experience. Chris' deep appreciation for good whisky and his gift for choosing just the right dram to match a variety of organic and local ingredients instantly becomes apparent. The menu and cocktails follow the calendar around the four seasons and are guaranteed to deliver a culinary experience never to be forgotten. The succulent, butter-poached lobster on stuffed ravioli, for example, complemented with a dram of honey-rich Balvenie Doublewood 12 is nothing less than pure poetry. For whisky travellers in search of a genuine Maritime experience, the Rossmount Inn serves its drams and meals with the relaxed Maritime flair that locals expect and visitors quickly come to treasure.

Magazine Archive

From the archive

Select an issue

Subscribe Now

Subscriptions for
Whisky Magazine are available
in print, digital or as a
complete package

The Benefits

8 print editions a year

Enjoy the convenience of home delivery

Full access to every digital edition via desktop, iOS or Android device

Latest Issue Subscribe Now

The Whisky Encyclopedia - Coming Soon 2024

Discover the world of whisky with our comprehensive encyclopedia
Featuring companies, distilleries, brands, glossaries, and cocktails

Join The Community

Sign up to the Whisky Magazine
newsletter letter and get access to the latest
in all things whisky

paragraph publishing ltd.   Copyright © 2024 all rights reserved.   Website by Acora One

Consent Preferences