Friday, 27 September 2013

In the Noble

One of the items that has been on my bucket list for a long time is visiting a secret bar. I'm talking going into a phone booth and saying the magic word and then bam! phone booth door turns and there's a bar behind it.

So imagine how excited I was when I found out a secret bar opened up in Halifax.

It's not quite the same deal as what I had pictured; you have to find a waitress at the ground-level restaurant and say a password, which changes each week, and then they lead you downstairs through a sort of maze of hallways until you're in The Noble. So not quite a phone booth fake out, but a fake out nonetheless.

A few of my friends and I decided to have a nice fancy night out, and when pretty much everywhere we had planned to go was a bust, we decided to try our luck at The Noble. We waited about 2 hours to get in (the Noble is quite small, you can maybe fit 20 people in there, so unless you're there quite early - which we weren't - you're going to have to wait), but luckily the regular bar has some tasty drinks and cozy sofas. We were told that there was finally some room downstairs, so we were led through the maze of hallways and finally the door opened, and there we were.

The space has an old-timey feel; walls of books, antique cash registers, piano in the corner, menus on planks of wood, it's a great atmosphere. We got to sit at the bar and watch the bartender work his magic. The head bartender recently won a national bartending competition (yeah, apparently that's a thing.), and watching him make drinks was amazing. There was fire involved, enough said. Drinks were delicious - and strong (and therefore expensive, but it took me about an hour to finish just the one so it's not like it's somewhere I'd go to get wasted).

We ended up being one of the last folks to leave, and you have to be escorted out by one of the waitresses or bartenders. Before we left, the head bartender asked if we wanted to see something cool. He pushed the wall of books away. There was a secret room inside their secret bar hidden behind a wall of books. So what if it was their storage room, that is still cool as hell.

So there! Hidden bar scratched off the list!

Thursday, 19 September 2013


While planning my trip to London, I found out that the Roy Lichtenstein Retrospective exhibit was at the Tate Modern, and it was ending around the time I had wanted to head across the ocean. Essentially, I ended up planning my trip around this exhibit and a few concerts (Bleached and Parquet Courts in London, The Undertones and Jokers of the Scene in Paris. Unfortunately I had also planned to see Cayucas (sold out) and Bass Drum of Death (got to Paris 2 hours too late) but missed both shows.)

I'm not quite sure why I've always been so drawn to Lichtenstein's work, but I have. I've been using Girl with Hair Ribbon as my online avatar for over a decade, and have plans to get a variation of it as part of a tattoo sleeve.

I had previously missed a Lichtenstein exhibit in NYC by only a few hours after making the mistake of thinking I could just "find my way around the city." Fast forward to a few hours later when I finally realize that I'm lost and that the museum is closing in about half an hour anyway. I wasn't going to miss it this time.

I had the chance to see Drowning Girl at MoMA while I was in NYC, and it was in the Retrospective exhibit, so it was neat to see the same piece in two different cities. I wish I could have snagged a picture of myself with some of my favourite works, but there was a strict no camera policy and the security guards were watching everyone like hawks. I tried to sneakily take a picture, but a small child saw me and screamed out "MUUUUUUM THAT LADY JUST TOOK A PICTURE WITH HER PHOOOOOOONE!" which caused the entire room to turn and look at me, and the security guard lady to scowl, so I didn't risk taking another.

It's still my goal to see Girl with Hair Ribbon in person, but from what I can tell it's in a private collection, so my chances are pretty slim. Still, I was so happy to finally have the chance to see a Lichtenstein exhibit, and decided to bring a piece back with me in the form of a poster, which shows a huge lack of foresight on my part, seeing as how a rolled up poster isn't exactly the most travel-friendly item when you're backpacking across several cities. It's framed in our house now, but not without a few rips and wrinkles.

Another one ticked off the list!