The Carleton opened its lovely oak doors in the spring of 2008, just in time for the global economic recession! Yes, timing is everything…
In short order, to set us apart from everyone else, we decided to make intimate live music our niche – offering cool dinners and shows with some of the world's best musicians, many of them from right in our backyard – and renamed our fledgling business, The Carleton Music Bar & Grill. Great food, great bar offerings and great music.
Since then, we've presented almost 1,000 nights of music and have won the Music Nova Scotia Award for Venue of the Year in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. We are also the current winner of the East Coast Music Association's award for the same thing. By our reckoning, that makes us the best live music venue in Atlantic Canada.
Long before Mike and Mike met, while working for MuchMusic, playing darts in McVeigh's New Windsor House in Toronto in 1984, Richard Bulkeley decided to build a house for them in Halifax. He completed it in 1760.
That house - The Carleton Music Bar & Grill - is located on the corner of Prince and Argyle Streets in the heart of historic Halifax's entertainment district. Built in 1759, it occupies what was once Sir Richard Bulkeley's mansion. In the city's infancy, almost all buildings were constructed of wood. Bulkeley's home was built of stone, making it the earliest documented Georgian stone residence in Nova Scotia. What was once Sir Richard's breakfast parlour is now our private dining room, which is also available for corporate meetings, cocktail parties and other imaginative gatherings.
Our bar takes up space in what was Richard's drawing room. Aside from drawing, Dick also held sessions in his position as judge of the Vice-Admiralty court of the Royal Navy. Bulkeley entertained many historic figures, not the least of which was General James Wolfe who was in town after his successful taking of the fortress at Louisbourg and on the way to his eventual demise in battle on the fields of Abraham in Quebec City, where his English forces defeated the French.
The general is said to have described the home as, "roomy and gracious with a large dining room, extensive garden and a well-stocked wine cellar."
Socially, politically and financially secure, Dick entertained lavishly, hosting large
dinner parties, levees and holiday celebrations. Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent,
frequent guest at the mansion (remember the well stocked wine cellar), which
Dickie later named Carleton House in honour of Sir Guy Carleton, Lord Dorchester, who visited
Halifax in 1786 to be feted as the new Governor General Of Canada (remember the
well-stocked wine cellar)…
On December 7ish, 1800, Sir Richard Bulkeley retired to his study to work and decided never to wake up again. He was discovered by his valet, as though he'd merely fallen asleep in his chair… sigh…
Let's face it, we've all done that on one occasion or another – generally when there was a decent wine selection on hand!
Inspired by the spirit of Sir Richard Bulkeley, we are committed to continuing his legacy by providing to our patrons wine, dignified dining and the best entertainment in the world…
It's been that kind of place for almost 250 years.