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Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Henry House Part 2

“We had a founding member of “Campaign for Real Ales” (CAMRA – an organization that was created in 1971 in the UK Campaigning for Real Ale, Pubs, and Drinkers' rights due to the high number of mega breweries attempting to purchase establishments and sell watered down lagered beer) come to visit us here in the pub and he absolutely loved the ales. He lives in Mahone Bay now and his son brings him to visit us every now and then for some pints”, exclaims Donna. Along with the Granite’s ales, the Alsops brought in local micro-brewed beer like Propeller and Garrison along with McAuslan beers from Montreal to compliment their selection. This created a well-rounded line-up that appealed to someone with a palate for full flavoured beer. At the Henry House you will not find the likes of Keith’s, Blue, Canadian etc on tap, but it is available by bottle. “Our goal is to not try to convert people’s taste to real ales, but to offer a wide selection of beer for everyone to enjoy in the comfort of the pub”, says Donna.

The Henry House consists of four floors, but only three are open to the public. The fourth floor has apartments that were customary in British pubs for the owners so that they wouldn’t be far from the action. The third floor of the house is used for private functions, group parties, etc. This summer, the floor will be hosting a wedding, which is a first for the Alsops. The dining area is on the second floor with an L-shaped bar, exposed granite walls, old portraits and antique furniture. And finally, the basement is where the pub is located, and what an attractive pub it is. The ‘local’ as Donna would have you call it, is a place where friends and visitors alike can mingle over fine ales, partake in pleasant conversation with barkeep Mel, or hunker down with a good book.

The atmosphere in the pub is reminiscent of a British establishment, but with a flair of maritime hospitality with people socializing, having a great time. It is a warm, intimate, cozy pub that is ideal for a first date or meeting friends after work for a refreshing drink. Patrons range in age from graduate students to more elderly experienced drinkers. Donna states that there is a fair share of regulars that grace the pub daily creating enduring friendships. The pub’s granite walls are cool to the touch and the exposed wooden beams and rafters take you back in time. There are only two small windows to the outside world that offer a ray of sunshine and with its rustic wood furniture, dimmed lighting, stone fireplace and dartboards, you will be reminded of pubs from Britain, but you won’t have to leave the country to experience them. “We have visitors from England, Scotland, and Ireland who come to Halifax for either business or pleasure and they end up here. They all say that our pub reminds them of pubs back home and we often hear back from them by means of pictures or postcards upon their arrival back home”, boasts Donna.

Saturday nights the pub comes alive with the sound of traditional Celtic music. Musicians gather in a corner booth and play well into the night on their fiddles, flutes and penny whistles. The patrons are clapping, tapping their toes and basking in the delightful entertainment. As you walk through the doors and down the stairs and step foot into the pub, you are reminded of simpler times and worries seem to drift away with the gentle flow of the music.

For now the Alsops are quite content with the direction their pub is headed. They have been so successful that they have been approached by entrepreneurs to head up more pubs; to create a chain. “We’re happy with what we have right now and we see no change for us” admits Donna. “We are very happy that we came to Halifax and pursued this idea, everything has been terrific”.

The Henry House owners will continue to keep customers satisfied with their warm and inviting hospitality, their generous helpings of food, and their terrific English style ales. So come in, grab a seat and enjoy the comfort of good times, great beer, and terrific food. You won’t leave disappointed.

2 comments:

planetexpress said...

This is the pub that got me outside the Keiths/Molson circle of macros and introduced me to the wider world of beers. I had only had the bottled Guinness Labbats produced under license before. I had the Peculiar as my first taste, and it was and still is my favorite beer in the world. Excellent food, excellent beer and quite simply the best pub in Atlantic Canada.

planetexpress said...

This is the pub that got me outside the Keiths/Molson circle of macros and introduced me to the wider world of beers. I had only had the bottled Guinness Labbats produced under license before. I had the Peculiar as my first taste, and it was and still is my favorite beer in the world. Excellent food, excellent beer and quite simply the best pub in Atlantic Canada.

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