In St. John’s, Newfoundland, dance, listen to great traditional music, and have fun getting Screeched-In on George Street, the place to party on The Rock.
There are many places to party in Newfoundland, on the east coast of the Canada. The capital city of St. John’s, on the Avalon Peninsula, is filled with party places, but the most raucous fun happens on two blocks tucked neatly behind Water Street, the oldest street in North America. This two block thoroughfare is called George Street and it’s known far and wide as the place to party on The Rock. For good reason, too.
George Street Pub Crawling
Pub crawling is a regular past-time on George Street. There are 41 places where people can lift a glass of their favourite brew while listening to everything from traditional Newfoundland music – heavy on the button accordion – to contemporary rock – heavy on the electric guitar.
Newfoundlanders are famous for their hospitality, and have always loved inviting strangers to a party. They’ve been inviting strangers to George Street, for hundreds of years. In the 1800’s, public houses had gentle names like the Red Cow, and the Shoulder of Mutton, but the area was much tougher than those names imply. Brawls were often more commonplace than parties, but today, at places like the Fat Cat Blues Bar, and Lottie’s Place (known as the White Russian Capital of Canada) having fun is a priority.
Tourists Love George Street
It’s not just the locals who show up on George Street, although they are out in full force, celebrating birthdays or weddings or just the end of another work day. Business travellers – the city is becoming a convention destination of choice for many associations – stroll over from their hotels, snacking on fish and chips, or toutons (pan-fried bread dough that’s much more delicious than its description), while trying to decide where to go first. And, of course, there are the tourists and the sailors, from all over the world, come to see what all the fuss is about.
The Screech-In Pub Of Newfoundland Makes Honorary Islanders
The fuss – as old-timers like to call the goings on – doesn’t really shift into high gear until after midnight. Then, at Trapper John’s Museum N’ Pub (The Screech-In Pub of Newfoundland), people from away can be made honorary islanders through a screech-in ceremony. For $5.00 a person, they endure the ceremony’s good-natured requirements, including wearing a sou’wester (a fisherman’s hat), kissing a real cod’s lips or a stuffed puffin’s behind, repeating “Long may your big jib draw” (for good luck), and drinking a shot of Screech (Newfoundland’s brand of rum). Having survived all of that, they are presented with their official Screeched-In certificate. Since opening in 1984, Trapper John’s has screeched-in more than 54,000 people.
One Of The Most Irish Places Outside of Ireland
Back out on the street, the Irish brogue is thick on the tongues of passers-by. Afterall, St. John’s – Newfoundland, itself – is one of the most Irish places outside of Ireland, and this part of the city – where George meets Water – was once called Yellowbelly Corner because of the Irish immigrants from County Wexford who opened businesses here. The Irish runs through the music too, and out the doors for those who haven’t yet come inside. There is Celtic music so heartbreaking it can make you cry, as well as fast-moving jigs that will get your toes tapping.
The fun on George Street never really ends, although people move aside for the birds during the day, so they can have fun feasting on left-behind crumbs. Once another St. John’s work day is over, though, the street gears up again, beckoning the party crowds, and the non-stop fun continues.