Four Bars. Two Townies. One Goal. To Find The New Heart Of The Affordable Daytime Buzz Downtown.
With “the coldest, cheapest beer downtown” no longer available at Fiddlers Pub after the bar’s recent demise, is the cultural institution of the bargain beer dayboil in danger in downtown St. John’s? Or is it adapting to the times? As one door closes, another opens, I discovered. New bars have sprung up, renovated, or just kept on being cool. Some quite cheap. I set out on an adventure to visit four and report back.
The Rose and Thistle’s recent renovations replaced the concrete floor and generally freshened the place up. No matter. The regulars remain, the popcorn is free, and the bathrooms are a lot better than you remember pre-renovation.
What rules about The Rose is the weekday afternoon bar staff. Now sporting kilts. While they haven’t done much to embrace the Scottish theme, this is a charmingly surreal nod. Wry humour is the order of the day. This is a friendly bar.
The Peter Easton is friendlier still, a rollicking, wild west saloon. While the bar has been hosting more diverse live acts at night, the days remain unchanged. Regulars fill the place; laughter ringing, backs being slapped, hats being playfully stolen, and most importantly, beer and shots being drank.
This is not a place to visit if you don’t want to meet people. Joviality is mandatory at the bar. Named after the legendary pirate, the Peter E. definitely left me singing “yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.”
Lucy’s is an unassuming bar with a surprise. Come for the great drink prices, stay for the deck. Looking out at Yellowbelly’s roof top across George Street, it’s a high , secret perch . If you come early enough there’s little competition for space; you could pretty much set up a kiddie pool and do some tanning.
While cocktails are not lavish at any of these bars, Lucy’s makes a solid Caesar, the cup o’ soup of daytime drinking. Highlight of the trip; a man telling me with conviction about getting high on turr. Yes, turr.
Yes B’y’s Social Bar is a new arrival, operating in Chinched’s old space on Queen’s Street. Bright and colourful , the shelf of board games and delicious burgers offer activities beyond beer, and the infrastructure to stay all day.
An oxygen bar upstairs is an odd idea, but it works. Coloured tanks of scented oxygen are lined up and ready to be inhaled through disposable plastic tubes. Despite my disapproval of disposable plastic anything, breathing perfumed oxygen while drinking beer in the afternoon made me feel like Keith Richards. They say it heals a hangover. I don’t know about that, but it’s a quirky, fun dayboiling activity.