What it is: In many ways, Stillwell is the “little bar that could” of Canada’s Maritime provinces. Before its 2013 arrival on the main drag of Halifax, beer bars weren’t exactly abounding in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, or Prince Edward Island. In fact, while craft breweries—and, later on, their taprooms—were common enough sights, beer bars were so rare as to be virtually non-existent. Stillwell changed that, and it has continued to evolve with the opening of a second location on Agricola Street, a seasonal beer garden on Spring Garden Road—and even a brewery with a flagship pilsner.
Why it’s great: As a local pioneer, Stillwell could reasonably have featured on its dozen taps naught but the best Maritime ales and lagers it could find; in its early days, that’s precisely what it did. However, as time has gone along, the bar has flexed its increasing clout to bring in beers from across Canada and the northeastern United States, even hosting tap takeovers by highly esteemed breweries from as far away as Toronto and Montreal. Factor in three beer engines for local cask-conditioned ales and a kitchen that champions creativity over predictability—smelts on toast, anyone?—and you have a downtown destination that’s as popular with beer lovers as it is with local businesspeople.
Hours: 4 p.m.–11 p.m., Sunday–Wednesday; 4 p.m.–midnight, Thursday; noon–1 a.m., Friday & Saturday
Address: 1672 Barrington St., Halifax, Nova Scotia