Speakeasy: noun, (during Prohibition) an illicit liquor store or nightclub.
Tristan and I walk up to the front entrance of The Middle Spoon. It’s one of the go-to spots in Halifax, Nova Scotia for delicious desserts. We’ve heard the word. There’s a speakeasy with insanely good cocktails in the basement, but we have to say a password to get in. We pause before entering. “Ok, who’s going to do the talking?” Tristan asks. “Um, you do it,” I reply. “Why does it have to be me?” he moans. I give in with a shrug, “fine I’ll do it.”
We walk through the front door and the hostess comes to greet us. “Hey there, table for 2?” I pause, look at Tristan, eyes go wide and I burst out into a nervous laugh. “Umm, well…” I sheepishly stammer. I’m trying to remember the phrase I’m supposed to use but I’m drawing a blank. “Photography is like…” I start, but can’t seem to remember the rest. I look at Tristan with ‘help me’ splashed across my face. He chuckles nervously and says, “life is like photography, you develop from the negatives.” There’s a momentary pause. I think we’ve blown it. But the hostess simply nods her head and says, “just a moment.”
She returns a few minutes later and tells us to follow her. We walk through the tables of patrons enjoying swoon-worthy desserts and head towards the staircase. We continue to follow the hostess down the stairs and past the kitchen where all the desserts are being prepped. We turn down a narrow hallway with a large metal door at the end of it. There’s something thrilling, if not eerie, about it all. Laugher can be heard, low bass rumbling from beyond. She grips the enormous latch to the door. It slowly groans to the side, and as we step through the threshold, we’re transported into another era.
It’s dimly lit. Swing music and blues from the 20s & 30s are playing. There’s a sweet smell in the air. One wall is lined with bookcases filled from end to end with old, weather-worn books. Another wall has a leather-clad bench running the length. Exposed pipes & electrical lines run overhead. Friends, couples and people on dates fill about 20 tables sitting on miss-matched chairs. The hostess leads us to an empty table and says, “welcome to Noble, your server will be with you shortly.”
Noble is Halifax’s secret bar. It was created about 5 years ago when owner Lacey Doherty had a need for more space for the Friday and Saturday night crowds. She decided to convert the extra storage space in The Middle Spoon’s basement and would serve the same desserts but offer a different drink menu. She also wanted to create a more ‘exclusive-feeling’ space, one that would require a password like the speakeasies of the 1920s.
The menu features about 20 different cocktails (2-3oz) divided into those that are shaken or stirred. All varieties of spirits are offered using as many local distilleries as possible, with cocktail names such as Holland House, Rosemary’s Baby, and Sherry Cobbler.
I ordered a Time Management, a gin-based, shaken cocktail with aged Antler Rum, Aperol, fresh mango and lime, and ginger syrup. Tristan ordered Nodootabootit, a stirred cocktail with Bourbon Whiskey, Apple Brandy, Fino Sherry, vanilla liqueur, and cherry vanilla bitter. We watched as the bartender meticulously crafted each cocktail, almost like a science experiment, with eye droppers, precise measurements, and finishing mists.
The drinks were delicious, full bodied and complex. The kind of drinks you sip slowly to savour every last drop while engaged in meaningful or philosophical conversation.
To go with our drinks, we order 3 desserts from The Middle Spoon menu – the peanut butter pie, cardamom carrot cake & New York cheesecake. Each one was delectable, though my taste buds were particularly happy with the peanut butter pie.
Tristan and I enjoyed every minute in Noble. It was quite thrilling to be in such an exclusive spot, one that doesn’t require the membership fees or being a part of the ‘it’ crowd. The cocktails are crafted to perfection and the desserts will satisfy any sweet tooth.
Noble is open most Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 8pm-2am. When the green cactus in the front window of The Middle Spoon is lit, Noble is open.
The password to get into Noble changes frequently, and if you don’t say it correctly (or even at all), you won’t get in. So how does one get the password you ask? Well, I’m not going to spell it out because that would take away the fun of it all. But what I will say is that you have to sign up for it. So, go to The Middle Spoon’s website and have a good look around. When you find it, you’ll know.
21 thoughts on “Noble – Halifax’s Secret Bar”
This is awesome. At first I was wondering if you were supposed to be giving away the password, but if it’s possible to find on their website, I guess it’s not that bad. I’m not the biggest drinker usually, but I’m sure I’d make an exception if I were in a place like that.
The password changes all the time, so we just shared what it was for that weekend. I doubt it would get you in if you tried using it now haha.
I like the idea of secret bar. Mystery often creates lots of fun. What I like in the Noble bar is the interior (ok, I haven’t tried the cocktails 😉 . A wall lined with bookcases filled with the books and miss-matched chairs make a cozy atmosphere I like. And to listen swing and blues from 20s and 30s in such atmosphere must be magical!
Secret bars just seem so cool! I think it’s that feeling of exclusivity. I loved the decor and the cocktails were delicious!
How cool that there’s a secret bar in the basement! And the decor is amazing too! I would’ve felt as nervous as you were in trying to speak the password at the entrance! 😀
Haha, thanks Danila! Happy to hear we’re not the only ones who would feel shy about saying a password 🙂
What a quirky and eclectic bar. I love stumbling upon secret bars in backstreets that nobody knows. The swing music and blues from the 20s and 30s would add to the atmosphere. Time Management cocktail is definitely for me!
Thanks Christina! I love the secret finds too!
I love that speakeasy style has come back around, even though there’s no prohibition to drive it, it’s a cool vibe! I guess the password to enter enforces that, though I wonder if they ever turn away people who don’t know or don’t get it right? I kind of imagine not, since business is business! The cocktail list looks good I’d go for that Time Management too and peanut butter pie, please.
We actually asked them about this and the owner told us her and the staff have turned people away if they don’t say a password or say it incorrectly! She says it maintains the allure of the experience.
Ooooh I love a secret bar, but like you guys I always get a bit uneasy when I get there about saying the password – it’s like I immediately get shy about it! Noble looks awesome though and I love how it is decorated as it adds to the mood. I’m a huge fan of the swing era too – I wish I lived closeby!
They did a great job on the decor. We were told everything is vintage! You’ll have to make a point to visit Halifax soon 🙂
What a mysterious spot with an air if exclusivity and a name fit for royalty! Too bad we didn’t know about it when we went to Halifax in 2012!!!
You’ll have to plan a return trip to Halifax then Carol!
When we lived in Phoenix, there was a bar where you needed a key. You had to sign up to get the key and it was mailed to you. No key? You’re not getting in. There’s really nothing to be uneasy about. It’s just a thing to make the bar seem ultra exclusive.
Now a key mailed to you would be so cool! That would make it seem ultra exclusive like you said 🙂
Passwords to get in! Sounds so mysterious and reminds me of the books we read as kids 🙂 Now how do those password remain secret is what i would like to know.
They change the passwords frequently so you’ve got to be ‘in-the-know’ to get the updated passwords 😉
I have to admit I love the thought of a secret bar and I hope I can find this place when I visit Halifax (I am hoping to be out there either this summer or when the ice thraws after next winter). Do you know if they use the same password all the time. But the thought of been a customer upstairs and not knowing about the mystery bar is crazy. The only thing is I am not a big fan of the 20s and the decor back then but I wouldnt let that put me off. 🙂 Bookmarked this page for my visit to Halifax 🙂
I hope you can make it out too! They change the password all the time, so best to search around their website to find where to get it 😉 I’m sure after a couple of their drinks, you won’t even notice the decor, haha.
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