Known for having the most bars and pubs per square foot of any street in North America, George Street is the hub of nightlife in St. John’s, Newfoundland, with two blocks packed full of pubs, clubs, restaurants, and bars. No doubt that when visiting, you’ll drop by George Street at least once!
Here are 5 helpful things to know before your George Street visit!
#1: When to Go
Traveling with a family? Drop by George Street during the day to get a look around or grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants.
During the nights (particularly weekends) is when the real fun happens and, as such, is not suitable for minors. On sunny days during the summer, it’s common for restaurants and bars (especially with outdoor decks and happy hours) to get quite busy, otherwise most activity happens at night.
If you’re in town at the right time, you might even catch one of the special events such as the George Street Festival or Canada Day celebrations.
#2: What You’ll Pay
Alcohol prices at George Street bars are mostly on-par with the rest of Canada, perhaps a little on the higher side.
Drink pricing is commonly used to influence which type of crowd a bar appeals to. Bars such as Christian’s, with some of the highest drink prices on the street, will have less riff-raff and a nicer crowd overall, compared to somewhere like Konfusion which caters to broke college and university students. Normally you can expect to pay between $5-$9 CAD for a beer, spirit, or glass of wine. There are sometimes specials such as happy hour or “345 Thursdays”, but these are much more common on weekdays rather than the busy weekends.
Similar to alcohol prices, bars will also use cover charges as a way to earn additional revenue and influence which type of clientele come inside. Expect to pay $7 or more to enter one of the popular Irish Newfoundland bars with live music, if there’s even any space – often there are lineups!
Most bars that charge cover don’t begin doing so until 9 or 10pm, meaning that if you head down earlier, you could go inside for free and stay for the night!
Finally, while most bars will accept credit and debit cards, it’s much easier to pay with cash most times – especially when it gets crowded! There are plenty of ATMs in and around downtown bars, but you’ll pay hefty fees, $3-$4 or more for a single withdrawal. Coming prepared with cash is a good idea, and it’s necessary for paying cover at the door.
#3: The Experience
With bars, pubs, and clubs of all types, George Street has something for everyone! Most times you can catch a glimpse from outside and get a good idea of what a place is like. You may notice a bar is crowded or empty, loud or quiet, playing recorded music or a live band, etc.
During the busier times (Thursday-Saturday evenings) many, but not all, bars will have doormen collecting cover and/or checking IDs.
Some bars are completely indoors, while a handful have outdoor decks which are loved during nice weather! In most cases, you’ll be allowed to drink on the decks, but not smoke. Additionally, unless a special event is taking place, alcohol is prohibited on George Street itself due to drinking in public being against the law. It’s perfectly fine on licensed decks, but you may not step into the street or walk around anywhere with alcohol.
Overall, George Street is safe. Like anywhere with high levels of booze, the occasional drunken brawl is not unheard of. The RNC police force also has a heavy presence, with officers patrolling in car and by foot. As with anywhere, it’s always good to be vigilant, especially if walking alone late at night, but on the whole it’s a safe place.
Bar closing times may vary, with weeknights having a 2am cutoff for last call, and 3am on weekends.
#4: Getting a Bite to Eat
After a night of celebrating, there’s nothing like a tasty snack before heading to bed! Check out 5 Places for Food After Partying on George Street for the lowdown on what’s good.
There are a number of options available. Keeping in mind the closing times from above, most food places will become quite crowded as everybody floods into the streets.
#5: Making it Home Safely
If you’re staying within walking distance of George Street, then you’re all set!
If you need a ride, there’s a taxi lay-by right on George Street, to where you can simply walk and grab the next car in line.
That said, trying to catch one after last call is an event in itself. Once the bars let out and hundreds of patrons are all trying to get a cab home, finding one for yourself can become quite a challenge. It’s not uncommon to see clever people walking farther from the street, trying to hail a taxi returning from a trip, before it even gets to the crowded George Street area.
Our suggestion for this challenge is simply do not wait until last call. Head out at least 30 minutes before (longer if you want to get food first) and you’ll have a much easier time, plus your body will thank you the next day! Of course if you’re still feeling energetic you can hang out at a 24-hour restaurant and wait for the taxis to replenish.
And there you have it, 5 things to know before visiting George Street! Want more details? Check out our in-depth article on George Street.