With a 6:30 haircut appointment, I had time to pay my respects to supper after work and decided to stay downtown instead of racing to the South End and back in that time. I wound up, finally, at the Split Crow, on the recommendation of a Philadelphia librarian whom I have yet to meet but with whom I exchange much correspondence.

Originally–back about 250 years ago–the tavern was named the Spread Eagle, which doesn’t sound any more appetizing than its new name. The place advertises as being the holder of Nova Scotia’s first liquor license. The beer was pretty good–I had Shippey’s stout–and the whole set up was reminiscent of Triple Rock on a VERY quiet evening: young but relatively decorous grad school and teaching fellow-aged crowd, in an old wooden room, with good beer and passable food.

For some odd reason, I ordered the quesadilla, an unlikely choice in the Maritimes. It was heavy on onions and bell peppers, light on cheese, and apparently baked instead of grilled. As an accompaniment to beer, it was a good thing; as a quesadilla, it didn’t compete with even my own, let alone that memory of quesadilla perfection that could be had at El Taco (aka, El Toxic) on the corner of Hollywood and Western (Apparently that outlet is no longer there–oh well, it would have been hard to stay in business charging 32 cents a quesadilla, especially if half the customers died from indigestion).

The Split Crow seems to staff in the same curious way Bob and I ran into in another Halifax pub last summer: men (called “boys”) serve the drinks, while women (called, guess what? “girls”) take and serve the food orders. The gender demarcation doesn’t seem to be as rigorous as the one we stumbled upon in July: at the Split Crow, my food server actually asked if I’d like another beer, rather than calling over her partner to pop the question.

In a fit of inadequate planning, I’d arrived with no reading material, so watched a special on a Titans football player through my meal, which wasn’t enough of a distraction to keep me from noticing what else was happening in the room. A couple tables over, in one direction, a foursome drinking beer included a young woman who was knitting furiously and three people who kept leaving to catch a smoke on the exterior–perhaps a demonstration of my theory that knitting is the new smoking? In another direction, a table of drinkers finished off their first beers and ordered another round. The waiter wanted two things first before taking the order–a credit card to hold for the tab and to know whether they were planning to drive away after drinking. Assured that they had not arrived in a car, and with a credit card handed over with what seemed to me to be reckless abandon, he brought the new round of drinks.

It’s indeed a different country.


2 Responses to “Beer”

  1. yvette Says:

    It’s really, truly disturbing to read the words, “Knitting is the new smoking.” Ugh.Ugh. Must scrub brain with soap now.

  2. halifaxing Says:

    You’re right: knitting has been the new smoking for several years now. However, not all knitters and all smokers are in the same universe. Please don’t scrub your brain; that sounds exceedingly painful.

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