New Year’s Eve at a Hidden Speakeasy—Noble Bar in Halifax

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January 2, 2015

2014 was coming to an end when I received an invitation to celebrate the closing of this chapter at one of Halifax’s more mysterious venues.  I’d been meaning to check it out anyway, so I did a little fist-pump when I learned that our friends had rented it out for a New Year’s Eve party.

Noble is a hidden, underground bar styled like a 20s prohibition jazz club.  Their trademarks are a love of philosophical statements and high-quality cocktails. In order to gain entrance you need to know the password (often a long Dickensian or philosophical phrase), tell a bartender or waitstaff at the dessert bar above ground (The Middle Spoon) and then be led through the kitchen, downstairs and through some service corridors, until you come to an unassuming door.

Oh, here could this lead? Certainly not to a secluded speakeasy…

Behind which you’ll find this:

We had atmosphere galore. Can you spot the secret passage within the secret bar? As my boyfriend said, We had atmosphere galore. Can you spot the secret passage within the secret bar? As my boyfriend said, “One of those shelves is a sneaky door.”

Now, before it starts sounding too mysterious, I should tell you the password is not something only the who’s-who have access to. All you have to do is subscribe on this ‘hidden’ page on The Middle Spoon’s site, and you’ll be added to the mailing list.

The passwords can sometimes be pretty long and strange for modern vernacular. Make sure you’re actually talking to a Middle Spoon employee and not a patron by accident – they might think you’ve been drinking a bit too much while reading Sherlock Holmes.

Because it was pretty dimly lit inside, I was shooting with my ISO through the roof! Most shots are taken at around ISO 6400, thus the extra grain. On the bright side, it kind of adds to the atmosphere.

Noble is known for their luxury cocktails. With fantastic names like ‘Grounds for Divorce’ and ‘Safe Word Yellow’ you really wanted to try everything on the menu (Judging by our bill, I think I might have tried a few too many).  Our bartenders were fantastic, prepared, and speedy. Watching them work was a show in itself.

The drink of the night was ‘2015’ (rye whisky, apricot brandy, pineapple shrub, lemon juice, red grapes) designed in part by my friend who was hosting the event. It was ‘deadly,’ meaning awesome/great/potent as we say on the East Coast. Here our bartender puts the finishing touch blackberry in the ‘Sparkle in her Eye’ cocktail.

We arrived early to help our friends set up a projector with the midnight countdown on it, as well as decorate the place with some festive glittery stars and banners.  Altogether we had about fifty people in the space. It didn’t feel crowded, and surfers surfed the crowd with yummy appetizers throughout the night.

Master hosts with masterful style.
Master hosts with masterful style.

 We counted down the clock on the projector and finished the night with sparklers, bubbly, pork sliders, and a piano-led round of Auld Lang Syne to bid the old year goodbye.  There’s something about that song that always wells up emotions in me. Well done, Robbie Burns, well done.

A great time was had, friends were near, fancy drinks were drunk, resolutions were made, the past was reflected upon, there were sparkly things and there were pork sliders. What more could you ask for?  Probably something to help you with your hangover the next day.  Best to do your grocery shopping for that the day before you go out. Always think ahead; you know you’ll probably want french toast, or eggs and bacon, or one of those weird Prairie oyster things. Whatever your ideal respite from headaches, a weird stomach and dehydration is.

Before I finish, I want to give a quick shout out to BiOne on Quinpool; we ate there before heading over to Noble and it really added to our New Year’s celebration.  They may in fact be the only place in Halifax that does real Korean table barbecue;  I’ve tried Mongolie Grill but it’s really not the same thing.  Price is mid-range at about $45 for meat for two people (there is no one person table barbecue option… sorry single diners!) and is a great experience.  Ever since we came back from Korea we’ve been coming here to get out our KBBQ fix. Try it. It’s good.

The separate exit at Noble brings you back up to the street and leaves you with your back to a nondescript, unmarked door. You’d never know it was there.

I hope you all had a good New Year’s too, whether it was at home, at a party, alone or with thousand of people in Times Square.  Happy New Year’s to all, and to all a good night. ????

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