From cool vibes to tasty libations, these watering holes have it all. Here are some of our favourite bars to hit up when you’re in town.
175 Young Street East
Hamilton’s oldest licensed establishment earns itself a top spot. This legendary Irish pub has hosted tens of thousands of musicians from Blue Rodeo to Tom Wilson and features a lively live music schedule with a focus on East Coast and Irish music.
Must-try: Visit for a few pints and a hearty, classic meal like bangers and mash or chicken pot pie.
164 James Street South
Odds are you’ll love this laid-back sports bar co-owned by members of Hamilton’s beloved Arkells band. Located just steps from the downtown Hunter Street GO Bus terminal, this bar boasts craft beer on tap, creative cocktails, and a unique bar menu featuring Pizza Pocket Baos, popular breakfast sandwiches, and some epic nacho plates.
Must-Try: Order their “Just a Friend” if you like the sound of house-made blackberry sorbet blended with gin, lemon, and sparkling wine.
Gown and Gavel
24 Hess Street South
Gown and Gavel
Located in historic Hess Village, Gown and Gavel has Hamilton’s largest outdoor patio between its two adjoining Victorian buildings. The bar features domestic and imported beers on tap, DJ dance parties, and a menu of burgers, apps and bottle service.
Must-try: Try the Creemore Springs paired with the house-made popcorn. In the summer, the refreshing sangria pitchers can’t be beat.
199 James Street North
Look for the bright yellow facade and picture of a brain on James Street North and you’ve landed at the right spot. Colourful, cool and comfortable, The Brain is open until 2 a.m, seven days a week! Pop by for a chalkboard full of beer options, cocktails, board games, and snacks.
Must-try: Try a local beer from Collective Arts or Fairweather Brewing or a house-made cocktail. There’s also whiskey, wine, coffee, paninis and sweet pies!
214 Locke Street South
This iconic bar has been described as “Locke Street’s living room” and has been a local fixture for over three decades. It’s part sports bar, part retro diner and long-time local favourite. They’ve also recently expanded their patio, making it an even more popular draw.
Must-Try: A huge selection of beer and ciders on tap and bottles go well with West Town’s classic pub grub featuring favourite comfort foods like nachos, burgers, and baskets of fries.
The Capitol Bar
973 King Street East
The Capitol Bar
This cozy east-end bar has over 100 whiskeys to choose from, live music every Friday and Saturday, plus a popular roast beef dinner every Sunday with all the trimmings. They also offer craft beers, fine wines, cocktails and a carefully curated food menu.
Must-try: Sip on a Bourbon Sour flavoured with lemon, simple syrup, egg white, and bitters.
278 James Street North
This downtown New Orleans-style cocktail and oyster bar is something unique. The space is long and narrow – putting patrons in close proximity to the self-proclaimed cocktail nerds behind the bar.
Must-try: In keeping with the New Orleans theme, The Old Quarter is a mix of Canadian Club Rye, Gautier Cognac, Cinzano Sweet Vermouth, Benedictine, Peychaud’s Aperativo, and Angostura Bitters, aged for 14 days.
25 Augusta Street
Over 785 different beers have been served here over the years. There is always 22 taps of local craft beer available and the only cask beer engine in town. Make new friends over parlour games (including darts) on the second floor and munchies that hit the spot, and laugh it off at one of their regular comedy nights.
Must-try: Brews rotate, but try to get your hands on something local from The Hamilton Brewery or Shawn and Ed Brewing Co.
33 King Street West, Dundas
Raise a glass to history at this Dundas pub with roots going back almost 200 years when the Irish Collins family first settled in Dundas and eventually established a saloon and hotel. Today it’s a popular meeting spot.
Must-Try: The bar is known for its great patio with garage doors opening up to a sprawling outdoor seating area, decked out with twinkling lights and new outdoor dining domes.