With an inundation of craft beer in the city and a slowly but surely burgeoning cocktail scene, the options for going out for drinks are overflowing. From happy hour to aperitivo, here are some of the best places in St. John’s to stop for a sip and a bite.
This Cathedral Street establishment is part wine bar, part cocktail club and part delicious restaurant. Along with a curated wine list and local beers on tap, No. 4 Restaurant & Bar offers up an impressively large cocktail menu (like 12 different Old Fashioneds large) ranging from classic sidecars to No.4 signatures like the Camgirl with triple sec, Chambord, simple syrup, lime and topped with prosecco. The drinks are paired with comforting dishes like the scallop ceviche with black garlic popcorn, PEI Blue Dot Ribeye with twice-baked potatoes and their mac and cheese has been called the best in town.
Happy Hour at this Duckworth Street restaurant and lounge is very happy indeed. The daily offerings at Magnum & Steins include a selection of martinis like the fruity/boozy Mags Starburst and Melontini, along with glasses of prosecco and draft local beer. Happy Hour bites include their housemade wings with a daily flavour combination, french fries tossed with parmesan and Newfoundland Savoury and their iconic Duck Confit Nachos made with fried wontons and topped with duck confit, carrot and ginger slaw, and sweet and spicy sesame soy sauce.
Located in Mount Pearl on Commonwealth Avenue this cheerful brewery offers up a unique dining option with their pints of One Wave NEIPA and Brackish sour ale made with Newfoundland sea salt. The Saucy Mouth food truck is located inside the Landwash Brewery pumping out an ever-changing menu of street fries, mac and cheese and rice bowls to pint-loving patrons. Try the Donair Affair street fries made with garlicky Donair Sauce and Beyond Meat sausage or the Frida’s Papa’s topped with esquites-style Mexican corn, feta, paprika, faux taco beef and pico de gallo.
With one of the most impressive views of the harbour, St. John’s Fish Exchange has dynamic seafood and drink pairings to match. This Water Street restaurant offers a large selection of cocktails like the Jam Jam Martini made with rum, Newfoundland’s own Purity syrup and garnished with an actual Jam Jam cookie, or the Baycation with Iceberg Vodka, charred lemon, pineapple and bay leaf, along with Quidi Vidi Brewery pints and a large list of by-the-glass wines. A daily offering of mussels, oysters, scallops and chowder are always available in addition to signature dishes like Cod Tongues and srunchions or lobster mac and cheese.
This St. John’s establishment presents one of Italy’s favourite traditions: Aperitivo. Piatto Pizzeria + Enoteca serves this daily pre-meal drink and bite at both locations and includes drink offerings like the classic Aperol Spritz cocktail, local draft beers, along with house wines and prosecco. Aperitivo bites include their fried gnocchi with basil pesto aioli, corn fritters with spicy chipotle aioli and their signature wood-fired vegetable spread — a cheesy dip made with roasted vegetables and served with slices of garlic focaccia.
Pints of local beer from across the province flow from the taps of this much-loved oyster house on Water Street. Adelaide Oyster House serves up cocktails like the Autumn Sangria with malbec, bourbon, apple cider and clove-cinnamon syrup or the Oyster Stout Caesar. Their fish tacos with breaded cod, avocado, coleslaw, smoky adobo sauce and chipotle mayo are a must-have bite on the internationally-inspired menu featuring miso scallops and tuna poke, or specialty items highlighting local seafood like uni carbonara made with sea urchin and bacon.
Gabby Peyton is a food writer, restaurant critic and culinary historian based in St. John’s NL.
Researching food has become a lifestyle for Gabby. After completing an MA in Art History at the University of Toronto in 2012, she moved to Halifax, NS and ate her way through the city, documenting it on thefoodgirlintown.com a blog devoted to (mis)adventures in travelling to eat. She completed a Bachelor of Journalism at the University of King’s College in 2015 and has worked in a variety of editorial roles in Toronto, ON and St. John’s, NL. Now she dines out constantly in St. John’s — Gabby is the city’s restaurant critic for The Telegram and her other bylines include CBC, Atlantic Business Magazine, USA Today, and Eater. Her series on Food Bloggers of Canada‘s website explores the history of iconic Canadian foods and she is passionate about community cookbooks.
A long-time sufferer of persistent wanderlust, Gabby is always planning the next big trip. She has visited more than 15 countries, spent three seasons working on an archaeological dig in central Turkey and surfed on the Gold Coast of Australia. She is passionate about architecture, spaghetti carbonara and Newfoundland food.
Published: December 4, 2020