All posts by Mike Campbell

Eat Food! Drink Drinks! Listen To Live Music!

The city is ripping up Argyle Street (we know, we know, it’ll be fab when the work is done) but we’re still open for the bizness and have great food, great drinks and great live music. That’s a lot of “greats,” right? If you haven’t been in lately here’s what our June menu looks like while our new chef – Michael Dolente – transitions our kitchen into his kitchen…

Come on in and try the offerings, as we say, they’re great!

Do You Like Food? We Like Food…

Following the tremendous reaction we got to guest chef Dennis Johnston‘s (of FID restaurant fame) “Pop-Up Pad Thai” night at The Carleton last Friday night we’ve decided to do it again! Dennis will be in the kitchen again on Thursday, May 11th to offer our diners his gluten-free Pad Thai Three Ways: pork belly, shrimp, or veggie for a sweet $16!

And after dinner – we start serving at 6 PM – why not stick around for Stephen Lewis & The Big Band Of Fun‘s funky show at 9 PM? The band shook some serious butt at the ECMAs in Saint John recently and we know you’ll love ’em. It’s only $10 at the door!


And The Winner Is…

I headed to Toronto, as I always do, for Canada Music Week this past Thursday to host Music Nova Scotia’s annual Tiki Lounge artist showcase at The Rivoli on Queen St. W. As I was packing to leave on Wednesday, I started getting texts from industry friends who were at the Live Music Awards (hosted by Paul Shaffer!) telling me that The Carleton had just won Best Teamwork Small Venue (under 300 capacity)! That means that we were recognized by industry professionals as the BEST SMALL VENUE IN CANADA.

That’s a big deal.

Congratulations to our whole Carleton team and it’s especially gratifying because we now know we’re going to be around for years to come. Thanks to all of you who continue your unflagging support and commitment to live music. If you’ve never visited us before, why not drop in to see why the rest of the country considers us the best!

That’s NOT All Folks…

In mid January 2017, after a deal I had in place to sell The Carleton fell through at the very last minute, a CBC-TV reporter asked me if there was any chance I’d find a buyer at that 11th hour. I thought for a second and then asked if she’d ever seen Dumb & Dumber. She nodded and I said, remember the scene where Jim Carrey’s character is trying to get a date with Lauren Holly’s character and he asks her what the odds are that she’d agree to go out with him? Another nod. Lauren answers, “about a million to one” and Jim’s response is, “so there’s a chance!!!”

That’s about how I felt.

Miraculously, over the next couple of days, another buyer did emerge and and this one wants to keep The Carleton as a live music venue with me still involved in it. That is news I wouldn’t have expected in three lifetimes but I’m sure going to take it. The deal will close at the end of March and then we’ll be working hard to improve every aspect of the club to position it well as a bar, as a restaurant and, yes, as a place for live entertainment. I’ll keep you posted on how everything is coming along but in the meantime, please know we’re still open and do drop in to see us!

Mike Campbell

See Ya 2015 – Hello 2016


All things considered – excluding the usual slate of mind-bendingly good shows we’ve had the privilege of presenting – I can’t say I’m sad to see 2015 in the rear-view but we do look forward to meeting the challenges we know 2016 will be throwing our way.

If you’ve got tickets for our New Year’s Eve with The Carletones & Special Guests and/or the Ashley & Wendy MacIsaac shows on January 1st and 2nd, good for you. If you don’t, I’m afraid you’re out of luck because all of them are SOLD OUT.

We should also tell you that we’ll be closed for lunch on December 31st in order to get the room shipshape for NYE and we’ll be closed on Sunday, January 3rd.


As I’m sure those of you living in Halifax are aware, the Nova Centre construction is negatively affecting most of the businesses surrounding it and never so obviously as right now – during the lead-up to Christmas – usually one of the busiest times of the year. So, rather than taking it lying down, a lot of us are embracing the #HFXPylonClub, which offers discounts during the month of December for new and existing customers.


We encourage everyone to support this initiative and to frequent the businesses involved – for our part, we’re offering 10% off our lunch menu. You can also get deals at Inkwell, The Foggy Goggle, The Wooden Monkey, Bikram Yoga Halifax, Indochine Barrington, The Loop, Biscuit, Economy Shoe Shop, Lost Cod, Sailor Bups, World Tea House, Applehead Studio, The Apothercary Bakery, Attica and Le French Fix, with more to follow I would think.

The HFX Pylon Club buttons are being distributed (show yours to get in on the deals) but if you don’t have one, just mention to your server that you support the initiative and that’ll be good enough for us.

Hope to see you during December and please consider using the hashtag #HFXPylonClub when on your social networks!

Apparently Christmas Is A Thing…


As much as we hate talking about Christmas before the November calendar page turns to December, it’s probably not a bad idea to remind everyone that’s about to happen AND, if you haven’t gotten your office – or personal – holiday shindigs sorted out yet, you might want to consider the Carleton as your venue of choice this year!

We can handle groups of all sizes and our kitchen is more than happy – and capable – of putting together whatever you’d like on the food front. A lot of people only consider us a great place to see live music (and they wouldn’t be wrong) but I’ll stack our kitchen up against anyone’s and we make some of the best cocktails in the city to boot.

If you’d like more information, please contact Stephanie Smith at Like I said, I know it seems like the season is still a long way off but do you see that light in the tunnel? It’s the Christmas train and it’s coming fast!

Oh, it’s also worth mentioning, in case you’re in a bind for presents for those you love (or folks who are otherwise necessarily on your list), that we have Carleton Gift Certificates available in any denomination. I know, we think of everything…

Hallowe’en Weekend

There’s nothing like Hallowe’en falling on a weekend (and decent weather) to bring out the freak flags and we’re looking forward to welcoming all over the course of this year’s version!


Friday night (October 30th) will feature Roxy & The Underground Soul Sound‘s super-fun soul/R&B/funk and Saturday (October 31st) means The Carletones will rock the joint as always but will be scarier doing it!

The staff has also cooked up some truly eerie cocktails that you’ll have to see/taste to believe.


A New Prime Minister, HPX and A Heads Up

The much-anticipated – for music lovers – Halifax Pop Explosion – is now upon us so we’ll be hosting HPX shows all week (October 20th to 24th inclusive). We hope you can make it out to some of them, the talent line-up is stellar to say the least!

Secondly, a heads up that we will be closed to the public at 5 PM on Friday, October 23rd, thanks to a big private function we’re hosting. We’ll be open – of course – for the HPX shows that night.

Thirdly, but not lastly, we’d like to offer our congratulations to the federal Liberal party and to our new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. We kinda like him because he’s been to The Carleton as evidenced by the photo below!


That photo was taken during the Halifax Urban Folk Festival in 2012. The guy on the right – Tim Kennedy – is an old pal from Winnipeg who was also in town to take in the HUFF.

Thanksgiving is OVER. Time To Move On…

The turkey-fest is done – like dinner – and it’s time to get out of the house again; you know, where life is happening!

If you’re in Halifax, I guarantee you the Lost & Profound show at our place TONIGHT (Tuesday, October 13th) will be, by far, the best live music you’ll catch in town. The band is back with a great new album and if they’ve played Halifax in memory, I wasn’t aware of it.


The rain is going to back off and it’ll be a nice warm night. The show starts at 8 PM and it’s only $5 at the door to get in. If you can’t afford that, I’m sure we can work something out. This is going to be a great show.

Tomorrow (Wednesday), if you’re as keen as we are about this year’s Toronto Blue Jays team, we’ll have the game on in the bar at 5 PM. That’s great for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that’s right in the middle of happy hour!