Don’t go to the Economy Shoe Shop expecting to pick up a cheap pair of moccasins, stilletoes or brogues. It’s not that kind of shoe shop.
Thankfully it’s the sort of shop which serves beer to weary punters like myself looking to put their feet up and enjoy a cheeky booze.
The Shoe is in a great location, deep in the heart of Argyle Street, Halifax’s most happening area.
I love Argyle Street. You can stumble from one bar to the next with just enough time between venues to draw breath.
As I approached this boozer I could see the cool crowd sat outside, enjoying the summer sunshine. There’s no doubt about it, some punters like to be seen.
Not me. My inner cave-dweller warned me that I wasn’t cool enough for the outside world and that my place was most definitely inside, out of harm’s way. So I wandered in, pulled up a seat at the bar and took a look around.
I immediately felt like I’d wandered into a scene from The Empire Strike’s Back.
Don’t get me wrong, there were no signs of lightsabers,warlords or wookiees, although the two ladies sat to my left bore more than a striking resemblence to Chewbacca and Jabba the Hutt out on the pull.
No, it had more to do with the low level lighting which helped to create an intimate atmosphere. Add some arches, alcoves plants and colourful paintwork and, hey presto, you’ve got something resembling Yoda’s caveafter he’s given the place a Mediterranean makeover.
If there’d been some dry ice the setting would have been perfect for the little guy to shuffle out and join me for a jar or two.
The Shoe is most definitely quirky, and there’s nothing wrong with that in my book.
It’s colourful and like so many places on the Canadian east coast, a place where creativity, and in particular, music thrives. It makes such a pleasant change from the plastic, sterile pubs blighting British High Streets.
I spent a good couple of hours in this place propping up the bar and chatting to the staff. It was great. The banter and the booze flowed freely.
The hot weather demanded I opt for a thirst-quenching beer.
An old bill receipt I found stuffed in my pocket the following day reminded me that I’d paid $6.75 for a pint of Clancy’s.
Another bill receipt reminded me I’d bought a pint of Garrison’s Irish Red (5%) for $8 and I even wrote on the slip ‘served with a smile’.
The more I drank, the more chatty I got and the bigger the tip I gave the staff. I felt like Donald Trump, only with a better hair style. And let me tell you this, I’ve got a really bad hair style.
THE INNSPECTRE’S SUMMARY
ADDRESS: THE ECONOMY SHOE SHOP, 1661-1663 Argyle Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3J 2B5. (902) 423-8845 www.economyshoeshop.ca
ATMOSPHERE: ***** Lively, thanks to a heady mix of sun and booze. It helps make normally miserable people like myself think they’re the life and soul of the party. Clientele was a good mix of sexes and ages.
DECOR: ***** Colourful with a capital C. It’s bright exterior is matched by its warm interior. A pastile green painted ceiling couple with red and deep yellow painted walls give the place a rustic feel.
SELECTION: **** A decent selection of draught beers including Garrison’s Irish Red, Garrison’s Nut Brown, Clancy’s, Propeller IPA, Stella, Rickards and Strongbow. I enjoyed the Irish Red so much it prompted me to pay a visit to Garrison Brewery (pictured) the following day.
SERVICE: ***** Shiny happy people. REM would be proud.
PRICE: *** Pretty reasonable all told.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS: Deep in the sole of the Shoe lays the legendary Seahorse Tavern, one of the city’s foremost live music venues. Oh, and Jabba the Hutt’s father was called Zorba.