Nova Scotia

Coming soon to the Oxford: A craft beer taproom, brewery

Part of the complex that housed the beloved Oxford Theatre on Quinpool Road in Halifax will soon be home to a Garrison Brewing taproom and small brewery.

'It's got so much history and so many memories for people in that area,' says Garrison Brewing president

The Oxford Theatre closed in September 2017. (Robert Short/CBC)

Garrison Brewing plans to open a taproom and small brewery this spring in part of the complex that housed the beloved Oxford Theatre on Quinpool Road in Halifax.

Fittingly, the taproom will be called The Oxford and it will feature 16 taps of suds and cider, a retail store, backyard terrace and community space.

On his daily commute to work at Garrison, company president Brian Titus drives by the site of the former Oxford Theatre, which closed in September 2017. The property was sold to Nanco Developments, a local business owned by the Nahas family.

"It kind of dawned on me that you know, hey, there's no place on Quinpool that you can get a growler filled, you can get craft beer from the source," said Titus.

Garrison's space will be housed in the part of the complex that was home to a beauty salon and a passport photo and art store.

The Oxford Theatre in 1957. (Nova Scotia Archives)

The project has taken shape quickly. About two months ago, Titus stopped into the King of Donair on Quinpool Road, which is next to the Oxford property, and left his business card for Norman Nahas, who owns the buildings. The two soon took a tour of the site and Titus was blown away.

"Just incredible architecture, a lot of it hidden, you'd never really know," he said. "So, we walked into the space and saw the potential just immediately. You know it's all brick walls on the interior, 14-foot ceilings, hardwood upstairs, just a pretty amazing spot."

Titus is a lover of older buildings, so setting up shop at the Oxford is a perfect fit.

"It's got so much history and so many memories for people in that area that it felt like something very much worth saving," he said.

Garrison Brewing's Brian Titus says the idea for the taproom was sparked in part by his daily commute to work that included passing by the site of the Oxford Theatre. (CBC)

This won't be the first old building for Garrison. Its main brewery in downtown Halifax is located in a 1929 building that was originally part of the Pier 21 complex.

Nahas thinks The Oxford will be a fitting addition for the community.

"There's a void for this type of business on Quinpool Road," said Nahas. "Quinpool Road is one of the most eclectic and diverse business streets in the entire province, and this kind of this element wasn't there and I think he's going to fill that void.

"And I think it will be embraced by local Haligonians and it's going to help complement other businesses in the area as well."

Plans for the part of the complex that housed the Oxford Theatre are expected to be unveiled before the end of this month, says Norman Nahas of Nanco Developments. (Robert Short/CBC)

Nahas said he expects to make an announcement before the end of the month about the plans for the space that formerly housed the theatre.

Design work for the Garrison space is ongoing and construction work is expected to begin shortly.

The taproom will serve suds brewed at Garrison's downtown location, as well as experimental, small batches of beer crafted at the Quinpool Road space.


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