A Good Beer Blog

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Have you read The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer - A Rant in Nine Acts by Alan and Max yet? It's out on Kindle as well as Lulu.

Maureen Ogle said this about the book: "... immensely readable, sometimes slightly surreal rumination on beer in general and craft beer in particular. Funny, witty, but most important: Smart. The beer geeks will likely get all cranky about it, but Alan and Max are the masters of cranky..."

Ron Pattinson said: "I'm in a rather odd situation. Because I appear in the book. A fictional version of me. It's a weird feeling."


Comments

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Alan -

<p><img src="http://www.genx40.com/images/2004d/midtown_tavern.jpg" vspace="10" hspace="20" align="left">There is an update on developments on the Midtown. Literally it is getting developed. Check out the CBC Nova Scotia article I copied over at the sister-station.

Ken Sands -

Many times me and my friends have decided to head to the MidTown, but to no avail. The real problem is that it always closes early. The Halifax drinking scene is partially driven by unversity students who aren't at the bars much before 10:00 PM. If you want to enjoy the MidTown, you have to go much earlier. If it stayed open even until 1:00 AM the MidTown would have made a fortune off of me. Of course, now that they want to ruin the view of the Harbour from Citadel Hill, with a misplaced 17 story tower, I'm not interested in giving them any of my money anyway. If we're going to mourn the loss of heritage in relation to the MidTown Tavern in Halifax, we should be more concerned about the big picture (literally).

Robbie Grant -

Hi I'm the grnadson of the owner of the Midtown. My dad's Bob Grant. The Midtown is the best place in town i think because they serve a ton of beer and they have the best steak in town. They do not want to ruin the view from Citadel to by making a hotel. You can't even see the harbour now if you looked where the Midtown is. Except for a tiny tiny bit. The group that was appealing edited a picture so that you couldnt see the harbour at all and showed it in the hearing. The review board thought it was real and said no to building the hotel. The group appealing was worried that Halifax has to many big buildings now and they want to keep it like the way it is now. But we have to get with the times. Halifax is a City not an old town that needs to stay in the past. These buildings will get people to come here and not ignore us. Anyway a hotel next to the Metro Center with a bar that has the best steak and town is great. People can have a good meal and they wouldnt have to worry about the Midtown being closed. It would be open later if people are staying over night. And it can't stay open until 1:00 AM because people live above it and they would be up all night trying to sleep.

Nicholas Rubenshweller -

Hi guys I like coors light and I go to the Tavern almost every weekend. You guys have the BEST STEAK EVER!!!!

Nick -

thats not my email ok?

Alan -

Hey! Thanks for writing Rob. It's been a long time since I was in the Midtown but I loved it when they did. I am not clear on where this whole hotel matter is now but best to your family.

Arlene Naugler -

First of all, the Midtown Tavern & Grill Limited is owned solely by Douglas Grant, and that will not change.
It has always been his intention, and that of his wife, Jean, that the Midtown Tavern & Grill Limited be equally shared by their four children (Eric, Bobby, Arlene and Jeffrey).
However, when you read the messages above, and others in print, one could assume that the Midtown is owned by Eric Grant and Bobby Grant. It is not!!
The Development Group consists of Gordon Rudolph, Doug Rudolph and Archie Hattie. And, in recent months you would think that Eric Grant and Bobby Grant are part of that Development Group, and not members of the Grant family!
Note that the Development Group (Rudolph, Rudolph and Hattie) must deal with all members of the Grant family if they wish to make any deal for the Midtown Tavern & Grill Limited and the land it sits on!!

Rachel Mestas -

Looking for an old friend, Ken Sands.
Did a Google search and came up with a beer blog from Nova Scotia. Sounds like Ken to me. Is it you Ken? Heard you were in Canada somewhere. Wondering what you are up to. Hope you see this. Contact me we need to catch up!

Alan -

Sorry - not Ken.

Alan -

Oh - you meant in the comment above.

joe -

Does anyone know the secret recipe for there steaks?

Janet Nash -

Hi. My husband has worked at the Midtown for a number of years. He is one of the people that cook those great steaks along with the other great food. It is time for this city to expand it sights and incorporate good food with places to stay if we want to have people spend their hard earned money here. What alot of people tend to forget is that this is the livelyhood for the people who work at this establishment. So whoever owns the Midtown, and whoever are trying to develope it, and whoever want to stop this development either for money matters or for heritage matters, need to remember that there are people here that need their jobs. Please remember them.

Jim Fisher -

I am from P.E.I. and every time I come to Halifax I alway go to the Midtown.It is a great spot.The food and beer is great.

Kirby -

I have travelled all over the world and been to many great watering holes. The Midtown is one of the sacred shrines.

david g. jones -

The Midtown is up there - up there with the Parliament Buidings, Joseph Howe, the St. Lawrence River and the Rocky Mountains. You want a big, big building on the site? Build it over the Midtown.

bobby mack -

The Midtown Tavern is the only bar i have not thrown up in, i guess because it is not open as late as the other bars. But i do enjoy the steak every weekend when i am in the mood for early afternoon drinking.

Ken Davidson -

This year is the 30th year that my wife and I have been going to the Midtown...especially before the basketball and hockey games at the metro center or just for the hell of it.
Eric and Bobby and the rest of the staff make us feel like we're family when we're there.
The Midtown is a tradition!

It is "THE" place to go before the game. Don't beleive me? try getting a table at 5 or 6 oclock Friday night before the Cis games!
Those of us that have been "regulars" for many years would love to see a hotel and especially parking added to that downtown core but please keep the same "Spirit" of the Midtown alive.
Our son has now become a part of that pre game tradition and hopefully he'll get a chance to introduce his future family to the unique and awesome atmosphere that the Midtown has become famous for.
It's like "Cheers"....but for real!
Ken

Dan Gillis -

I guess all good things come to an end. It is hard to believe that Midtown is not imortal. I will never forget driving around and around the block looking for parking then the customary order of peperoni to munch on while the steaks were cooking. I have not lived in Halifax for about 16 years but always try to stop by when I am in town. I think familiarity is as improtant as the beer. The atmosphere is second to none even after being away for years it was always easy to lick up a conversation about Cardinals baseball. Does John Holland still work there?
I hope I can get there once more before it closes. Does anyone know when this will happen?

Midtown is the Best -

I have been going to the Midtown for 37 years -- it is the best. The Grant's have all served me (Doug, Eric and Bobby) and made me feel part of the family. In all my years at the Midtown I don't remember seeing Arlene nor Jeffrey at the Midtown. I hope they can all work out their family differences and keep the Midtown alive -- I know Eric and Bobby are there each day, still today, making that happen. It is time for the entire family to work together to continue the Midtown tradition -- as Doug Grant planned it many years ago.

Midtown is the Best -

My previous message did not show my email. Added. May the Midtwon live on.

Dean Harnish -

I used to work at Central Guaranty Trust datacentre in the late 80's early 90's, I would call the midtown via phone to place my lunch order,by the time I walked a total of 4 minutes from my building on Market St. it was in a bag ready for me to return to work to enjoy my meal. Now that's class/service in my mind.
Thanks for the memories.

J&K Forsythe -

I can't make out if the Midtown is open or closed...I am hoping that it is open as we have travelled from Alberta and are on our way to Halifax next week and have always dropped in for a beer and something to eat. Last time we were there, my husband bought a t-shirt and my father-in-law a hat - we were walking through the Vancouver airport and a pilot stopped to comment on their t-shirt and hat, saying that he too has enjoyed the Midtown years earlier. In any case - thank you for the great service and the many memories that we have from your establishment - my favourite will alway be walking through the kitchen to use the ladies room!

Sean Henderson -

Okay you got me! I am coming to Halifax from Southern Ontario next week to try this Midtown out. I have heard nothing but fantasic things.

Peter Courtney -

My Dad and I have been longtime patrons of the Midtown.Doug ,Eric,and Bobby always made time to come over sit down and have a chat.I moved away from Halifax in the mid 90's,but always stop in the Midtown when home in Hfx.Doug was very proud of all of his family members.their grade point scores as well as their sporting trophys.I live in a little town just north of Calgary and the Midtown is well known here too!So guys I will be home in Aug and my first stop is the Midtown for a few pints of the BEST DRAFT in Canada.
Cheers
Peter Courtney

Alan -

Here is a news upate on the Midtown. This particular part of the news is sad:<blockquote class="smalltext">The family, led by octogenarian patriarch Doug Grant, has been through a lot in the intervening years. Mr. Grant has been in poor health since 2004 and a lawsuit is ongoing between his children over allegations of mismanaged and missing money. "There’s enough other stuff going on that a building is just not first and foremost on my mind at this point," Eric (Grant) said Tuesday. </blockquote>

Drew Christian -

My Dad Lou Christian works at the Midtown Tavern and I do not want to see the Midtown Tavern close because it is best place to eat in all of Halifax.

Alan -

New Halifax convention centre brewing after Midtown sale
Developer buys watering hole
By STEVE PROCTOR Business Editor
Fri. Jul 4 - 9:14 AM

One of Halifax’s most prominent watering holes has been sold and may be demolished to make way for a convention centre.

Developer Joe Ramia confirmed Thursday he completed a deal late last week to buy the Midtown Tavern and Grill on Grafton Street, a move that clears the way for a proposed convention centre on the tavern site and adjacent Chronicle Herald property.

# RELATEDDowntown tower gets a no

Mr. Ramia’s company, Argyle Developments, bought the two-block Herald property in March 2007 and had planned a mixed commercial-residential development for the site.

But with the province and city issuing a call for proposals in March for a new convention centre, and the possibility of the Midtown purchase looming, Mr. Ramia said his company switched gears and has been working on developing a concept for a convention centre.

"We’re still working on the plans with the architect," he said Thursday, unwilling to offer any details. "You’ll see it in a couple of weeks."

The sale of the Midtown followed a year-long court battle that resulted when the children of the tavern’s ailing owner, octogenarian Doug Grant, couldn’t agree on the future of the business or the building.

The court appointed accountant Paul Goodman of BDO Dunwoody Goodman Rosen as financial guardian for Mr. Grant and gave him the power to dispose of the owner’s shares in the tavern. The $1.5-million sale to Mr. Ramia was completed last week after family members decided they didn’t want to waste any more energy fighting the sale.

"It wasn’t supposed to happen this way," said Eric Grant, the owner’s son, who manages the tavern. "My brother and I have invested 35 years of our lives in the business. There were lots of promises made about who was going to continue the legacy, but nothing was ever written down."

He said his father turned down lots of offers in the past so he could continue to keep workers employed, but his health failed and now he needs the money. The matter ended up in court, and a judge and the receiver decided that the sale to Mr. Ramia was the way to proceed, Eric Grant said.

Although grateful to be able to run the business for another year while Mr. Ramia’s plan for the overall site winds through the approval process, Mr. Grant said it will be a sad day when the Midtown is torn down.

"People are going to miss it, no question," he said.

Mr. Grant said he and his brother will use the year to sniff around for another opportunity in the industry, but he concedes it will be impossible to duplicate the atmosphere of the Midtown. He’s not sure he would even try.

To conform to the province’s specifications, a new convention centre would have to be at least 150,000 square feet, nearly three times the size of the present World Trade and Convention Centre a block away. It is rumoured that the new building would also include office space and possibly a hotel.

Other expressions of interest in developing a new convention centre have come from the Halifax Port Authority, the Hardman Group of Halifax, Bird/Rideau Construction of Bedford, EastPen Inc. of Halifax and Anwyll Fogo Architects of Halifax.

Mr. Ramia said the spate of recent development announcements in Halifax — a 22-storey office complex by ECL Developments, a 16-storey office building by Louis Resnick and Halkirk’s 21-storey condo at the Brewery Market site — is good news.

"It’s all positive," he said. "Hopefully as a city we have turned a corner."

In addition to being a developer and landlord, Mr. Ramia’s business interests include The Brick furniture stores in Atlantic Canada and the Gallery 1 furniture store in Dartmouth.

Steve Hall -

I made a pilgrimage to the Midtown during my visit to Halifax back in early July. Its like going back in a time warp to 1976. The steak was awsome and the beer good and cold. The staff allowed me to take some photos of the place along with my wife and youngest son. It will be a sad day in Halifax when they close the doors. Thanks for the memories...

Teddy -

Our son has just moved to HFX and we will return for the second summer to visit one of our favourite Cities. Friend Chris Brennan
whose Dad worked at the paper years ago said promise me you'll stop and have a steak at the Midtown before they knock it over.He says it is the last of the real old time taverns in Halifax. He says there is no telling exactly what kind of steak it is or what grade but it is Goood ! You'll be proud to say you did in years to come . So we are bringing everybody downtown ina few weeks to do just that; hope they have a table for us. We grew up ordering two and a juice in numerous prairie beer parlours that were spartan but friendly and beery good. So we'll see how tyhe Midtown compares to those old haunts now largely gone as well. See you later in September.

Greg Muzzatti -

The Midtown is a mystic place and represents what Halifax is all about: friendliness, roots, grub and ale - just basic peace and good times. I spent leisure days at the Midtown all through highschool and university. Often I enjoyed 3 squares at the Midtown: Doug served up steak and eggs in the morning and we'd return for lunch and supper later on. The Midtown was THE focal point for all else. You know, the many bars in Halifax often erupted with the occasional fisticuffs, but NEVER at the Midtown because it was everyone's home.
The Midtown was always first on the list for pre-whatever and the spot for first dates, to see of what mettle she was : fair maid or robust lass. One such was a raven haired Newfoundland beauty who raised her glass in toast and a sparkle in her eye exclaimed "bottoms up" to finish a superb Keith's. She was the one. Now, I bring our lad who's 9 years old to the Midtown (on his 1st visit he said "this is where you brought Mommy!) and we enjoy a cheeseburger (absolutely the best - no burger compares,anywhere), I a cold Keith's - NO ONE can serve up a Kieth's draught like the Midtown - and my boy sips a Coke. My son is crazy over the Midtown and it warms my heart to see Eric, Bobby, Doug's grandson and Lou serving up the very same fare to my boy- he's hooked.
The the inexplicable organic ambiance of the worn, sturdy chairs and tables, plain walls and great faux-stone panelling exude the very essence of good times had by all - for decades.
Bobby, Eric, if you can strip out the front doors, interior wallboard, chairs, tables, bar bathroom sinks and mirrors ( just think of the multiple thousands of friends that have looked in those mirrors!) included. Then set it all down under the orignal Midtown sign elsewhere and make it a membership club and public bar. We'd all join and so would new generations of Midtown folk! Hey, my son is ready now. You have a cult on your hands and SCORES of us would come back and join to carry on and support the tradition.
Halifax has many, unique bars, pubs, and restaurants but the Midtown is the original and none of them can hold a candle to it.

Thanks, for innumerable happy days and those frequent words: "what'll it be ,Greg, medium with mushrooms ?" usually the first words I'd hear as I'd enter the front doors, then settle in with a Keith's draught, served up to perfection, anticipating that great plate of food over converation with friends - exceptional!

geoff england -

I used to live in Halifax in 1973-1974 when the Midtown had several equivalents in the city. Anyone remember the Derby on Gottingen, for instance? There won't be any of this ilk anymore, regrettably. I'll be hoisting a toast to the old Midtown when I down my next pint here in the Yard and Flagon, Saskatoon, where I now reside.

Greg B. -

I first visited the Midtown on the day I graduated from university in 1978. Don't know how I missed it prior to that. In '85 I started a job downtown and the first Friday lunchtime, two of the "lifers" in the office, Vince and Tom, befriended me and asked if I wanted to go to the Midtown for lunch. That was their regular routine on Fridays and as we walked in the place was jammed. Doug behind the bar saw them, nodded, and began to move people around to make space for the 3 of us. Two drafts were placed in front of each of us without asking (thanks to Gerry), their steaks hit the grill before they even sat down though I had to place my own order (boiled dinner), and that was the routine for the next several years every Friday. I would go to the bar and have Doug change a $20 for me (remember the sign: "All bills over $5 must be changed at the bar"?) and every year a week or two before Christmas we would go over, shake his hand and wish him a Merry Christmas, and he would give us a calendar and a pen. What memories.

I was there this week and it still seems the same, though less busy. Their hamburgers are the world's best -- I wish I knew how they made them. Their meatloaf on Tuesdays is not to be missed -- I have been known to reschedule downtown meetings so that I could enjoy that meal with my friend Neil. And you can get items now with an acceptable caesar salad instead of fries -- it even comes with shredded parmesan, not Kraft from the green can! But the boys are right when they say people aren't drinking any more, and they have had to raise their food prices significantly to respond. There are menu items for $11.50 there these days. Shocking. But worth every penny. I sure hope the boys can find a way to keep the spirit, atmosphere and recipes alive even if the building is gone someday.

Billy Mills (sponge) -

living in Ontario now , i can remember all my times i spent at the midtown, back in the 70's and 80's. We had the best time and the food was the best. i always had the pizza with brothers pepperoni on it or the steak piled high with fixings. Doug was a great owner who always stopped by the table to say hi .

Used to like dropping in for a cold one when back home , i am going to miss meeting up with old friends at the midtown.

Greg Chisholm -

The wife and I visit Halifax as often as we can afford it, we live in Chemainus, BC and now you are going to say where in the hell is Chemainus well it is on Vancouver Island and as an ex pat of CBI we like to stop in to Midtown and have the corn beef and cabbage it used to be served on Thurs I think, the question is it still served on Thuresday if so we would like to make a reservation for June 4, 2009 and their will be six of us, we will be wearing the T Shirts with "WHERE IN THE HELL IS CHEMAINUS WRITTEN ON THEM' and we will be so happy if you can accomidate us.

Regards

Greg Chisholm

Tim Crellin -

I'm waiting to get off work now, and then a buddy and myself are heading to The Midtown! This is our place to go now and I'm a second generation Midtowner (kind of). We're both from London, Ontario, he just finished up at Acadia and I'm at SMU at present. The reason I'm kind of a second generation MTer is that my mom's boyfriend, who's from T.O., graduated from Saint Mary's in 1974 and the Midtown was the go to place he says. So when I was accepted to SMU, they moved me to Halifax and he showed me the ropes, which obviously included this little place, alone on the corner, that looked exactly how it did when he was in school in '74. That place...the famous Midtown Tavern. I don't know how much longer it's doors will be open (I heard April 2009) but if you get a chance to go, please do for your own sake.

P.S. I work at Maps and More, previously Maps and Ducks in Historic Properties, and a couple came into the shop one day asking where to get a good bite to eat. I said the Midtown is very reasonably priced and very unique due to its lack of change (I thought this last point was a positive thing, they thought otherwise). Well, they weren't exactly sold yet, so I googled the Midtown and came to this food critic site that said something to the extent of having cigarette ash in the gravy. This was obviously an old review since there was still smoking in restaurants :o. Not to mention that its probably a false statement by the critic, the man in my shop now thought I was some street bum for wanting to send them to such a place...If only that couple had the balls to listen to someone who had experienced the true Midtown. Oh well, their loss. MIDTOWN ROCKS!!!

Tannis Dobson -

Hi! Midtown has always been the place to go! I know it is closing -- does anyone know exactly when?

John Lakeland -

What happened to the Midtown sign? The part of the sign facing towards the Metro Centre is gone. Damaged? Taken down and sold to a customer?

Adrian Lee -

Hi there,

I'm writing an article for the King's College School of Journalism (and hopefully the Coast and Chronicle Herald) about the Midtown Tavern's closing, and rather than focus on the tragedy of its closure I was hoping to put together a human interest collection of stories from the last sixty years. After all, what this board's proven is that the bar's character is in the people, from the Grants to the customers, and the best way to remember the place is through the stories and memories it leaves.

If you are interested in participating, email me at aklee94@gmail.com, and we'll try to arrange a phone/email interview or, if you're in the Halifax area, a face-to-face interview, maybe even at the Midtown.

warren -

I loved that place. I lived in Halifax for some years and I always made my way down for a pint and a steak when I was in town. I was checking the website because I am headed to Halifax for a few days later this spring. I am sad that I wont be able to drop in for a pint and a steak. The end of an era.

Peter Graham -

I see by the chronical horrid that you will be closing around June 25th but very glad to hear that you will be opening close by. I will look for your sign when I arrive in September.
Boiled dinner here we come.

Michael Zinck -

I love the Midtown and always go there when I visit Halifax and have since friends first took me there during visits to the 'big city'. Now living on the Island but never miss getting in one meal at the Midtown when I visit. Fastest service and great hot sandwiches. Yes, I have a t-shirt :-)

Michael

John Marcus -

Couldn't resist last day at the original location - after 60 yrs still a great spot for a Keith's daught
my usual fish 'n chips and catch up with friends old and new - First first time I've seen a female behind the bar who turned up to be Bobby's daughter on cash - Erics son Colin also works there to keep up the tradition of the most honourable Grant family - Looking forward to new location as well !!!

Jeff Grant -

If anyone would like to send their well wishes or a message to Doug Grant, please send your emails to midtown@ns.sympatico.ca. I will make sure that he gets every message.

John Marcus -

Twas said the Midtown will never die and as proof
a friend and I went to their new location for a boo Sat am and low and behold - The door was open and they were! Eric,Bobby,Colin,Lou,Vinny in all their glory - business as usual in their sparkling new spacious digs . Doug would be proud ! Don't miss it - official opening comming soon !!!

Leah Thiel -

Where is the new location, and are they open? I have been going there for 40 years and need my fix!

Marina Kanellopoulou Kotsianas -

I saw the name Tannis Dobson above.

Tannis, could you be my cousin?? Paul and Sue's daughter? PLEASE let me know!
If so, we met only once in the mid-late 60s when you visited Greece...
I'd love to hear back...

sha -

Geoff england, yes me and my sister remember the Derby well. we were trying to come up with the name of the good old tavern on Gottingen where we enjoyed many a 99 cent double wing steak, and of course beer. Thanks for refreshing our memories on the name!

Rick -

The Mid town tavern,My memories,My grand dad worked for moirs choclates back in the sixties and he would always stop at the mid town after work to tilt a few and being a teenager with a drivers licence i would use any excuse to borrow my moms car and go and pick him up.

Some one mentioned the derby tavern.I used to go there back in the early seventies for the double wing steak.I can't remember the cost but i know it was very cheap and good steaks

Unknown -

Did anyone ever ask Bobby and Eric how they got the new location? Who did the work? I bet you would find a pretty interesting story on how they FUCKED over a few of the people who worked at "boomers" It's funny how people never mention that!!

Interested Party -

Today, Arlene Naugler was sentenced to 8 months in jail and a year probation for embezzling money from DFA. She did the books for the Midtown and the books are on the hard drive the police have. Interesting that her embezzlement at the DFA started when she was fired from doing the Midtown books and started a suit against her brothers for wrongful dismissal

not impresed -

You thought the family feud was bad years ago, The father recently died, Lets see how the cheap money hungry disfunctional family gets along now. Time to divide dads money!!!! What a joke of a family...