Who doesn’t love a good cocktail now and then?
Whether you’re into something more booze-forward or a little on the fruitier side, the possibilities for a great hand-crafted cocktail are limited only by one’s imagination.
Hamilton certainly understands that, and the proof is in the number of excellent bars, cafes, and restaurants throughout the city doing standout stuff with spirits, syrups, bitters, and beyond.
Without further ado, here’s our 2022 list of some of our favourite cocktail spots in Hamilton!
An endearing east-end gem, Ward IV has become quite the community staple with a strong reputation as a cafe, live music venue, and nightlife spot for cocktails and more.
A rather lengthy menu of coffee, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks is complemented by a seriously solid cocktail list featuring staples like an Old Fashioned or Gin Martini mixed with a few playful picks such as ‘Under the Rainbow,’ which combines Blue Curaçao, vodka, lemonade, rainbow candy, and watermelon cotton candy.
Downtown Dundas’ delightful Cafe Domestiique isn’t just one of the Hamilton area’s best coffee spots; it’s also got a killer range of cocktails and small plates to savour.
Classic cocktails like a Paper Plane, Gin Fizz, or Vieux Carré are on Domestiique’s compact menu, each one crafted with the same level of care they show for their excellent coffee and espresso. Pair them with tempting bites like artichoke bruschetta, a smoked salmon plate, or duck confit poutine, and you’re in business.
Lovers of tapas will find plenty to love at this Ottawa Street spot known for its eclectic small plates and thoughtful lineup of signature cocktails.
Dishes like the Korean fried chicken and Scotch egg keep locals coming back for more, and are an ideal pairing for Merk’s fun custom cocktails like the ‘Violet Beauregarde’ with bourbon, sloe gin, lemon, blueberry, and thyme; or the ‘Paloma Picante’ with Scotch Bonnet-infused mezcal, cointreau, grapefruit, lime, and mint.
Teetotallers won’t be left out here, either; Merk is well equipped with a menu of mocktails that are just as creative and delicious.
James North’s beloved hole-in-the-wall is best known as one of the city’s strongest craft beer bars, and they’re also well equipped to whip up a mean cocktail.
Endearingly grungy, bohemian vibes house an ever-changing tap list of IPAs, stouts, and sours from the best breweries in Ontario; but if you’re more in the mood for a Martini, Mint Julep, or Mojito, The Brain has got you covered in that department too.
West Hamilton’s cocktail bar, bottle shop, and event space has only been in operation for a few short years, but it’s already become a local favourite.
Whether you’re there for a vintage market, trivia night, or just to grab a drink with some pals, The Side Door is at its most charming with its menu of Hamilton-themed cocktails like the Terry Berry, which is a twist on the Gin Fizz; or the Bae Front, which features vodka and Chambord.
We feel like a broken record as we repeatedly sing MaiPai’s praises, but dang it, those praises are very well earned.
Not only does Salar Madadi’s Barton Street gem make some of the best Detroit-style pizza in and around Hamilton, they’re also no slouch when it comes to their cocktail game.
Tiki cocktails transport you to a tasty tropical paradise: many of them rum-based and fruit-forward with plenty of pineapple, passion fruit, citrus, and spice rounding things out. It’s basically impossible to leave MaiPai Tiki Bar unhappy, and these cocktails are a big part of the reason why.
Nostalgia is the name of the game at this newer addition to the James North strip.
VHS tapes and pops of colour immediately bring us back to the 80s and 90s with Farside’s playful aesthetic, and this bar keeps things classic with its menu of cocktails like the Dark & Stormy, Long Island Iced Tea, Negroni, Manhattan, and so much more.
Both a laidback bar and a community hub supporting local artists, Farside is a more-than-welcomed addition to James Street North’s nightlife scene.
Comforting bar bites and homestyle meals are met with standout hand-crafted cocktails at this east end favourite.
Craft beer, wine, snacks, live music, and cozy atmosphere would be enough of a draw as it is, but The Capitol Bar is also well stocked for a never-ending range of cocktails; they’ve even got a head-spinning collection of over 200 whiskies on hand. If that doesn’t make you want to pay at least a few visits, I don’t know what will.
You’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve landed yourself in a high-end golf & country club while visiting this cocktail bar in Crown Point.
With wingback leather armchairs, towering bookshelves, and wood detailing on the walls, The Argyle’s immersive atmosphere houses a terrific menu of cocktails, many of which lean into more robust styles and flavour profiles like their Applewood-Smoked Old Fashioned or the ‘Red Flags’ which combines rye, Luxardo dark cherry, sweet vermouth, bitters, and Select Aperitivo.
If you want to sip and swing at the same time, The Argyle also has some fun golf simulators in the back!
Who’s really surprised to see the beloved Bar Sazerac top this list?
Equipped with a formidable library of bottles and a near-encyclopedic knowledge of mixology behind the bar, Sazerac is more than just a cozy watering hole along James North; it’s a veritable destination in Hamilton for true cocktail lovers to get their taste of an oft-changing menu that runs the gamut from bold to sophisticated to playful.
Whether you’re ordering one of husband-and-wife team Kyle and Jennifer Ferreira’s carefully crafted creations or requesting something surprising and spontaneous, this New Orleans-inspired bar basically never misses.
What changes would you make to our list? Let us know in the comments!
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