Thanks to its vibrant student population, Ontario’s ‘Limestone City,’ also known as Kingston, is home to some fantastic, lively bars. Here’s our pick of the 10 best places to head for a cold drink in Kingston.
The most popular place to head to on a Friday night is The Brooklyn, a cool spot tucked away just on the edge of the downtown core. The main draw here is the great selection of craft beer, predominantly sourced from local Ontario breweries. There is also live music and trivia nights on various evenings during the week. The crowd seems to be mainly composed of post-grad students from Queen’s University’s law faculty and there’s a friendly vibe, with a good number of tables large enough to accommodate big groups.
A slightly more boisterous downtown venue, The Ale House is located right in the center of Kingston’s nightlife hub. A much bigger venue than most of the city’s other haunts, this is two floors of your standard Top 40 tunes, with a dedicated country music night named ‘Tumble Tuesday.’ The more relaxed section of the bar, Canteen, is a great place to start your night and also serves tasty food at good prices.
An Irish pub right opposite Kingston’s waterfront, Tir Nan Og is named after a supernatural realm popularized in Irish mythology. Although it might not quite live up to these spectacular connotations, this place is still a solid choice for a cold drink or bite to eat. The outdoor patio is great for warmer nights, when the pub tends to be extremely popular, as well as for Karaoke every Friday.
If you’re a fan of local micro breweries, Stone City Ales is the place for you. With a lively, welcoming atmosphere, they also makes their own brews. The core line up of beers consists of four solid brews but there are also a range of specials that are released periodically for a limited period of time.
This homely pub takes its name from Sir John A MacDonald, the first Prime Minister of Canada, who was once a resident of Kingston during its time as Canada’s first capital city. The summer patio here is again a popular choice during the summer, although the cozy interior is also perfect for those chillier winter evenings. The pub proudly claims to have ‘the largest selection of draft beers’ in downtown Kingston.
Describing itself as a ‘premier destination for craft beer’, The Alibi focuses on beer and signature cocktails in an atmospheric setting. Particularly popular on Wednesdays, when it hosts a trivia night, the place is perfect for relaxing with a group of friends, enjoying conversation or cracking into one of their well-loved board games. If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of beer it’s a great idea to ask the server’s for their personal recommendations.
Situated a little further up Princess Street is The Mansion a bar, live music venue and restaurant. From the outside it looks a little like a haunted house, thanks to the dark red-brick facing. This intimidating exterior houses a relaxed bar space as well as a great outdoor patio and sand volleyball court, perfect for the summer months. It’s worth checking out the upcoming music listings on their website too, as the place often attracts some well-known acts.
Home of local Queen’s University’s graduate students, The Grad Club has been ‘a Kingston institution since 1963.’ As well as a good selection of beers and ciders, the bar is also known as the best venue in Kingston for indie music.
If you’re looking for a pub to watch the soccer game, The Toucan is your best bet. There are 21 other draft beers but Irish pub specializes in Guinness, as well as serving traditional pub-style food. The place has a slightly shabby vibe thanks to its low lighting, which adds to its laid-back charm.
The Brass has a great central location in Kingston, making it a favorite with both students and locals. The drinks here are pretty standard but they also serve decent food and the layout makes this a great choice for larger groups. Their flatscreens and TV wall projection screens are perfect for hockey season and the place also hosts live music every Sunday, Monday and Thursday.