A Whole New Saint John, NB

By Sarah Ratchford

An influx of people is having a positive impact on Saint John, the only city on the shores of the Bay of Fundy, which is stretching its horizons while retaining a proud maritime history. Whether checking out a contemporary art gallery or a notable vegetarian restaurant, you’ll discover an evolving destination bustling with fresh, dynamic energy. 

The Bars

FIVE & DIME 

34 Grannan St., (506) 898-0020, fiveanddimesj.com 

This three-year-old vinyl and microbrew bar in Uptown is a passion project for urban planner Jody Kliffer and his business partner, Brian Irving. It’s located in the basement of the now-defunct century-old furniture shop Bustin’s, and the preserved industrial bones make the space one of a kind. Ballast stone walls and a vinyl collection of more than 1,000 albums offer the city a fresh take on the local watering hole. Pop-up dinners, live music and trivia nights keep things cozy no matter the season.

HOPSCOTCH WHISKY BAR 

45 Canterbury St., (506) 642-3371, hopscotchbar.ca 

With its speakeasy vibe and jackalope mascot, Hopscotch leans into its position as the only whisky bar in town. The knowledgeable staff are eager to answer questions about the more than 150 whiskies on offer. They serve patrons tipples ranging from high-end options such as Dalmore 1263 King Alexander III and Highland Park 40 Year Old for the connoisseurs, to everyday single malts like Lagavulin 16 Year Old and Auchentoshan Three Wood. For those looking for something else, cocktails, wine and local craft beers are also plentiful. 

The Café

ROGUE COFFEE 

36 Grannan St., @roguecoffeesj on Facebook 

This modern industrial space features exposed brick, artfully-arranged plants and various popular sips. Sips include nitro-infused cold brew coffee, by way of Atlantic Canada’s first Modbar, a state-of-the-art espresso-making system. Find Rogue down a small alleyway, which serves as an extension of the space, with flowers, artwork and outdoor seating. Rogue is the brainchild of Mike and Vanessa Duncan, owners of Duncan’s Electrical.

The Hotel

BUNKHAUS HOSTEL 

36 Water St., (506) 646-9895, bunkhaushostel.com

What would have seemed implausible a decade ago is now a perfect union of conscious comfort and affordable lodging. This boutique hostel was inspired by Podshare in Los Angeles and offers 22 bunk beds. Plus, refreshments to mellow (Loyalist City Brewing Co.) and to motivate (Java Moose coffee). The space features potted plants and warm wood touches to make it feel like home, and on-site laundry to keep you in top form as you explore the city.

The Restaurant

VEGOLUTION 

26 Germain St., (506) 643-8401, vegolution.ca 

Opened in 2018, VEGolution—Saint John’s only vegetarian restaurant—leads the local veggie-forward dining scene. And like any eatery worth its salt, the focus is on seasonal, locally sourced ingredients. Signature dishes include a good ’n’ greasy veggie burger a carnivore can love, and two flavours of Moncton’s Kissing Rocks Kombucha always on tap. Alongside their ethos of eating local, chefs and co-owners Sarah and Keith Broome are also committed to eco-conscious practices with the business overall. Also, the décor is stylishly upcycled with tables from local carpentry talent Phil Savage Woodworking.


The Art Gallery

THIRD SPACE GALLERY 

89 Canterbury St., Suite 407, @thirdspacegallery on Facebook

As the only artist-run centre for contemporary art in the city, Third Space Gallery acts as a community hub, idea generator and exhibition environment. Dedicated to supporting innovative artists from Saint John as well as surrounding areas, it hosts workshops, lectures and performances that allow creative expression and provide a way for people to get involved and learn more about the local cultural scene.

*Find this article in our re:porter magazine issue 74