An 'L' shaped street gives life to a slew of very different bars including english style pubs, a posh lounge, a shooter bar and a few run of the mill dirty hamilton bars. This place is quite lively on weekends during the warmer months. In winter time its a lot quieter with much of the crazy atmosphere gone but its still a good place for food and casual drinking. It is on the pricey side when comparing the cost of drinks to other bars in town but you go for the crowds and to be seen. This place is especially fun during the yearly jazz festival held sometime in July.
This place played great music, produced hot chicks, guy to girl ratio was about 50/50, but they like to pack this place. It can get pretty crowded even in the summer time with the patio open. Be prepared to wait in a bit of a line-up if you don't show up until 11. The dance floor was a frickin' sauna, you'll definately leave the floor soaked. so bring a hankercheif or you could just use your buddies shirt. Keep in mind if you show up earlier, the better chance you have a bringing home a broad. You could find yourself with slim pickins when this bar nears closing time.
Dress Code: pretty formal until you get inside then you have no choice but to take off your shirt, wear a wife beater underneath, nobody wants to be "that guy" with no shirt on.
I know a thing or two about pubs and pub culture and there are very few pubs in North America that would meet the English or Irish standard of the word. The Archer Ale House in Bellingham, Washington is one of them, and another is the Winking Judge in Hamilton. Regulars at the bar, chilled-out students from Redeemer upstairs, live bands on weekends, and the finest selection of beer by far in Hamilton (comparable to the best in Toronto as far as taps go). The TV is on only for big sporting events, otherwise it's craic and boardgames to keep you going. Very congenial place that oozes character out of every pour (sic).
Dress Code: Uh, no.
Aside from Hess Village, there is a stretch of pubs along and around Augusta Street, right behind the GO station. These include the Pheasant Plucker, Winking Judge, Lionshead and three or four more places as well. They're all pubby, laid-back places, some with live bands. By Hamilton standards, Hess Village gets kind of pretentious (though by Toronto standards it's not at all), but this stretch is as laid-back as it gets.
Dress Code: None whatsoever.
This was a friendly place, although I don't care for the fact that they raised the price of beer when the live music started. The people who worked here said they'd never met an American who was so polite and chilled out. I hear that one A LOT.
A local character called "Chris Crash" showed up and started smashing tables and chairs around the room. They said he'd done time for killing a guy who hit on him. I ended up pissing in a stall next to him, he said we rocked.
Dress Code: Nope
Most people are here to people watch or just to get hammered! You don't take your date to Hess. You either meet up with a bunch of buddies or you come and stare at people. Also, you'll be able to see some nice cars, since this is the only place Hamiltonians have to show off their machinas.
Music. Live music!! Hess Village has some crazy bars and bands. You will come across jazz, funk, rock, and whatever grabs your ear. The Lazy Flamingo, Mermaid's Lounge, and a few others are the ones that constantly have some good action as far as the bands go. I prefer these kinds of outings to clubs anytime, since you can just chill and groove at your own pace
Dress Code: anything goes
There are many bars and clubs in Hamilton..Hess Village is great in the summer, there are so many people and you sit out on a patio, its a great place to go if you are visiting. For clubbers we have Syndicate niteclub which is great on Saturday nights, it a mix of hip-hop, dance, house, everything!
We would recommend Hess Village. There are a couple of streets there which are lined with bars, most having patios where you can while the evening away drinking the great Canadian beers and maybe having something to eat, while watching the world go by.
There are also a couple of other favourite spots - The Snooty Fox Pub in Westdale, L.A.Bats bar just east of downtown & also Mustang Sally's which has live rock bands and is in the east end of Hamilton.
The Gown & Gavel pub in Hess Village is a good point to start, they do good food & the barstaff are friendly. On nights where it's a bit cooler they heat the patios with gas heaters, something I wasn't used to coming from Britain.
Dress Code: None that I know of but take I.D. with you (something else that I wasn't used to as in Britain as long as you kinda look over 18 you can get served!). In Ontario the drinking age is 19. (My boyfriend got asked for I.D. in TGI Fridays in Albany, New York State, and he was 30 that year....I wish they'd ask me for I.D.!)
The most expaesive, yet biggest cinema in Hamilton...is in Ancaster. About 13.00 per ticket is what you are looking for...