Big Day (Night) Downtown


For the past few years, Passable has been participating in the Downtown Halifax Business Commission’s Big Day Downtown. Every summer, the DHBC gives a bunch of bloggers a pre-paid credit card to go explore the best of what downtown Halifax has to offer. Whether it’s sandwiches, spas, tattoos or trinkets, people get to go nuts in what is essentially a Treat Yo’ Self extravaganza. In the past, we’ve wandered one end of the waterfront to the other, had a wonderful meal prepared by Chef Craig Flinn in a “try something new” black box challenge, and paired up with another blogger to share experiences. This year it was all about fulfilling a brief made up of three words in whatever way you felt you could best define those words through downtown exploits.

My words were: relaxing, thrilling, and satisfying.

Relaxing was easy. I just didn’t bother doing anything related to this task, instead spending my evenings laying on my couch watching True Blood on Netflix. I live downtown, so it totally, totally, totally counts, you guys.

But what to do to fill the other two thirds of my brief? That was, surprisingly, even easier.

Here’s the thing about the Big Day Downtown: it’s a great idea, and I love that it encourages a couple of dozen people to spend some money in the vibrant businesses that pepper downtown. And I also love that it swings a social media spotlight towards those businesses, too, but it really just benefits all the Tom Haverford-esque bloggers who like to treat themselves. Of course we’re going to love local businesses when we have a hundred dollars we can use to buy ourselves necklaces and calamari or necklaces of calamari.

But you know what is really great about Actual Downtown? The entrepreneurs, business people, and service workers who put their hearts into their jobs and make dining out, getting drinks, and buying everything from sofas to sex toys nothing short of a joy. Downtown Halifax can sometimes seem like a total shitshow with Starfish Properties squatting all over the place and a lack of nighttime foot traffic that doesn’t revolve in beating a path between some shitty 2-dollar-drink bar, a fist fight, and Smokes Poutinerie.  But there are truly some great people working downtown. And there are really awesome businesses tucked into our little downtown. And call me a Pollyanna, but they deserve more attention than great people shopping downtown.

So tonight I decided to fulfill my brief by going to one of what I think is one of the best small businesses in downtown Halifax, Noble, and have my Big Day Downtown at night. It was simple: I bought a drink from the bartender, Jenner Cormier. The end. (Basically.)

This was a drink I’ve been thinking about for a while; Jenner made it for the Diageo World Class competition, and it features one of my favourite ingredients, Aperol. So I ordered it, savoured it, and had a really fantastic chat with Jenner as I sipped it. There is nothing better than talking with someone about topics they are passionate and interested about, nothing better than developing a genuine rapport with someone who is doing something that they love (while also doing something that you happen to love), and nothing better than having a good time in a positive, relaxing space. And Noble lets all of those nothing betters unfurl in candlelight, to a soundtrack of old timey music, in a room full of people who are truly interested in the experience they have chosen to have. Jenner has created a truly great space. He is someone that honestly and obviously cares about what he does. That deserves some consideration. And so does he.

So this is what I did. It was thrilling and it was definitely satisfying:

IMG_7325Brief fulfilled.