Romance in Halifax: A guide for out-of-town students

How to make your first date in the new city a success.


Google maps: more important than breath mints and lip gloss combined. (Graphic: Ryan Hemsworth)


Now, don't get us wrong, we can't get you a date. What we can do is spill the beans on our secret spots all around the city -- the under-crowded and quaint places to go, whether it's your first date or the fiftieth. If you're one of the students who have moved to Halifax to study, here's your chance to have a one-up on the other out-of-towners.

Without further ado, here are three date scenarios to always keep in your back pocket. 

(Photos: Ryan Hemsworth)



Chez Tess Creperie - 5687 Charles St. (off Agricola St.)
Weekdays 11:30 a.m. and weekends 9:30 a.m.

Chez Tess sits on Charles St. like a rose sprouting from a crack in the sidewalk. It's a great way to start the day because, whatever you're choosing, you're going to work at layers of comfort food. Crepes benedict ($10) and the chocolate mousse crepe ($9) are the two highlights you'll want to choose from -- two very different, delicious worlds. In the summer you have the choice to set up on the porch, but in the winter, this neighborhood restaurant offers a warm home away from home. 

Obsolete Records - 2454 Agricola St.
11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Ever seen High Fidelity? Music taste will always be a make-or-break factor for some of us. Although Agricola doesn't offer the prettiest backdrop, Obsolete is an easy escape into cheap music and movies. "You could make an afternoon out of it," Obsolete Records owner Ian Fraser says. "Buy some records, take them home, drink some wine, listen to some music, sounds like a perfect afternoon to me." Both of you reaching for the same Rick Ross album is today's equivalent to meeting in the middle of a spaghetti noodle. The general price for a CD is $10.


View Dates in Halifax in a larger map

Enlarge Timeline
The itinerary for your three different date scenarios (morning, mid-afternoon and evening).

Lost & Found Art Vintage Kitsch - 2383 Agricola St.
12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

This spot is as underrated as they come. If you're a hoarder or love really well-priced, vintage clothing, this might be dangerous. The guy's section has reduced over time, but there is still a great assortment of t-shirts (local bands, aged brands, and hilarious what-were-they-thinking designs), flannel, and jackets. Girls, no matter your niche, will have a blast going through what feels like a curated closet of the Madonnas and Annie Halls of the past. Don't overlook the accessories as well. Lost & Found takes its sunglasses and jewelry very seriously. 


Atlantic News - 5560 Morris St. (down from American Apparel)
8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Here's another fail-safe taste test, similar to record shopping. Is she going to make a beeline to Teen Vogue? Is he going pick up the newest fishing magazine and zone out? These are all important things to weigh, for the long run. On Saturday mornings, Atlantic News spices things up with live piano -- ambience is key, friends -- and as the weather gets bitter, you've got all the more reason to grab some coffees at the Starbucks around the corner and stay inside for a while.


Pete's Frootique - 1515 Dresden Row
8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Pete's offers endless fun, but for the purpose of this exercise (not to sound like a professor), we'll be going straight to the snack section. We all love food, and the best of us really love candy and chocolate. Jelly Tots, Tim Tams and Cherry Cokes are in our scope, and this is foreshadowing a nice circle around the Public Gardens and a moment to sit on the benches. Grab a handful of the imported treats and bag them for later in the evening.


Indochine Banh Mi - 1551 South Park St.
11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Disclaimer: if you're from Ontario, you might already be spoiled by the amazing bubble tea offered west of us Nova Scotians. That said, Indochine is holding its own in the bubble tea and sandwich game. The concept of having toasted sandwiches, Vietnamese cuisine and bubble tea (a grown-up slushie, pretty much) all under the same roof should bring a smile to anyone's face. Impress your date with courageous choices; Vegetarian meatball, BBQ tofu, and mango chicken. Your fate awaits you.


Halifax Public Gardens - Main entrance on corner of Spring Garden Rd. and South Park St.
Closed Dec. 2 to Apr. 13

Remember that candy we got? Break it out, it's time for dessert and a stroll through the gardens! Unfortunately, this part is out of our hands. 



MŌDA Urban Dining - 1518 Dresden Row
5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

In all honesty, this is the motivation for the entire piece; specifically, the lobster fontina pasta ($15). Without slipping into hyperbolic description, this plate is life-changing. If you think you're not a seafood person, this dish will make you feel like you don't know yourself. Although the bigger plates can really weigh down your bill, the warm spinach basil salad (with bacon) is fit for a king, the chardonnay is reasonably priced and you can't go wrong with some fish cakes or scallops. While you're at it, this is the kind of place you can take the opportunity and dress to impress!


Soled Out Sneakers - 1512 Dresden Row
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This is the guy pleaser. Although the shop downsized a little from its original location down the road, the new layout gives you (literally) a wall of shoes to drool over -- most items coming from international brands and dealers. This is a spot for the guys sitting at home analyzing rap videos, because y'know, Halifax isn't quite the melting pot of style and culture that New York is. Soled Out is our gateway to the brands and style that Halifax otherwise couldn't offer, whether it's retro Jordans, snapbacks or quality sweatshirts.


Elsie's Used Clothing - 1530 Queen St
11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This is the girl pleaser. There's a small back section for guy's clothing--great little selection--but the rest is dedicated to women. Every corner and inch of the wall has designer dresses, skirts and tops draped over them. The prices are almost always agreeable, even when they bring in some Chanel (no kidding) and other high-end items. You can easily lose an hour here digging around. Also, try your hand at the toonie bin. There's more than just socks and old jeans.


The Middle Spoon Desserterie & Bar - 1559 Barrington St.
Weekdays 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. and weekends  4 p.m. to 1 a.m.

This is a recent addition to the Barrington bars, and probably the most interesting one you'll walk into. Double-fisting a martini and an ice cream sundae? This is the stuff dreams are made of. Owner Lacey Doherty's motivation for the bar was to create a comfortable space for "a date or a girls night out and have a nice dessert and a martini." Guys, if you aim to impress, show up and order two negroni sbagliatos (practice pronouncing at home first). We're all for the simple formula: good company, good food, and good times. We've got you covered on the food and shops, so good luck with the company.


This is such a great guide to a great date! I'll have to run my boyfriend through the loop the next time he comes to Halifax!

Posted by Heather | Dec 3, 2021 7:33 AM AT

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