George Street in St.John's NFLD is terribly busy in the late hours of the night as drinkers take over the pub/bar laden street and party well in to the night. During the day however, things are a lot quieter and it is then that my fiance and I stumbled into Christian's for a quick pint before gearing up for our 'McDeir' pub crawl.
The wedding party we were traveling with had planned an evening out with the bride and groom to be, and it was decided a famous St.John's pub crawl was in order. Everyone knows about George Street right? It is a small street located just off the main road in downtown St.John's and features a stretch of drinking establishments of all styles. The street is closed to vehicles after noon and the only time cars or trucks venture down the street during the early morning hours are when delivery trucks come to stock up the establishments with more beer and food.
Anyway, Christian's pub. It turns out that Christian's is the oldest operating place on George, dating back to 1979. According to my shoddy math skills, that would make Christian's 29 years young, quite an accomplishment in the pub business. My fiance and I arrived just after a so-so meal at the Green Sleeve pub down the road, (not really a pub - fake Irish pub with loud Justin Timberlake playing) and as we walked up to the old brick weathered buidling and in through the front entrance, I immediately knew I would appreciate it.
The first thing you notice as you walk in is how dark it is. The lights have been dimmed down, allowing just a glimmer of light from the light fixtures. We grabbed a seat by the window so we could watch the people traffic while enjoying a nicely poured Quidi Vidi Honey Brown. Throughout our visit I noticed that not many pubs served any of the 2 craft breweries on tap, but Christian's had Quidi Vidi and that was better than Labatt's Blue Star.
The L shaped bar is located to the right as you enter and is surrounded by numerous bar back stools, enough to accommodate 10 people or more and metal racking above holds rows and rows of glassware. There are a couple of regulars sharing a fun conversation with the barmaid (or do I say 'server', who I actually believe is Christian?) and they made us feel welcome by incorporating us in their discussion. Typical Newfoundlander. There is a bunch of spirits adorning the shelving behind the bar along with bags of chips, cigarettes and cigars. It reminds me of pictures I've seen of the old public houses that acted as convenience stores at the same time.
Each table features a big bowl of complimentary popcorn, which is always nice if your just visiting for a pint. The tables themselves appear to have been there since opening day back in 79' and possibly came from somewhere before that. Old and weathered. There is roughly 5 booth surrounded tables on the main level of the two story pub that offer an intimate setting for patrons. The walls come alive with many old framed photographs of Newfoundland history and I spent a couple of minutes peering over them all. It had a museum feel, something I love. There is a lot of wood throughout the pub providing the warmth of a rustic cabin.
There were only two things that didn't sit well with me during our visit to Christian's: 1 - The huge flat screen television looking very much out of place in a pub with so much character; and 2 - Christian's has one of those jukeboxes that individuals can select their own songs and one female in the pub cranked an AC/DC song. Nothing wrong with AC/DC, but the pub was so quiet and relaxing and then all of a sudden I'm at a rock concert. I was pleased to see, and hear, the barmaid (Christian?) turn it down to an almost acceptable level.
Unfortunately we didn't make it back during the crawl, but at least I got into a real pub. With the exception of the YellowBelly (which wasn't open yet (today is the day)), Christian's was definitely the pub for me and the best one I got into during my visit to St.John's.