With a plethora of professional sports on the go and a good chance one of your recreational teams are looking for a place to drink and dine post-game, it’s time to review Steeltown Chowdown’s top 10 sports bars in Hamilton.
Anyone remember the Honey’s location that (very) briefly was open on Upper James? Suffice it to say, the history of American transplants to Hamilton is sketchy at best. But Anchor Bar has managed to stay strong for many years and even expand. The wings are a pretty strong representation of the Buffalo original, the pizza is one of the better full-serve pizzas in the city, and the TV setup is great. With the great location in Jackson Square, it’s perfect for before or after a Bulldogs or Honey Badgers game.
This is a nostalgia pick, for sure. In an era when most of the bars on our list didn’t exist yet (also RIP Philthy McNasty’s), the Boston Pizza on Upper James was THE SPOT to watch the big game, or in my case, wrestling pay-per-views. Ironically, pizza is just about the worst thing to order here. But the appetizers are decent and the TVs are plentiful, which are really the two most important criteria anyway. Or just skip the food altogether and just spend your money on cheap fishbowls and tracks on the jukebox.
If we’re being honest here, Buffalo Wild Wings has small wings that rarely impress me. The fact we’re reaching B-Dubbs really demonstrates the lack of great sports bars in town. With that said, Buffalo Wild Wings does have one thing figured out and that’s viewing angles.
Thursday is the day they have boneless wings available — better known as nuggets. Utilize any of their sauces in multiples of five for 75 cents all day long.
I’ve been going to Tiger-Cats games my entire life, and have always parked in the same spot on the corner of Barton and Gage, right across from the Barton Touchdown Pub. Though it has had many, MANY different names in my lifetime, the atmosphere here before a game has always been consistent. On a nice day, the patio here is pretty much the closest thing to an official tailgate party there is, and you can hear the Oskee-Wee-Wees from here all the way to the stadium. A little rough around the edges for sure, but that’s what makes it perfect for Steeltown’s Top 10.
King William & James Street have many great bars but few of them have TVs and audio dedicated to the sports games. Wendel Clark’s gets a bad rap because they don’t serve a bunch of craft beers or tout a brunch with the latest in avocado toast. To be honest, when I go out on King William, Wendel Clark’s is one of my stops because their drinks are less expensive than any of the other hip and cool bars nearby and because they serve The Blue Line, which is a raspberry and berry acai vodka mixed with blue curacao and soda — an ideal patio drink.
Located in the Mohawk Quad pad, this is the arena food we’ve always hoped for. I know the instant coffee vending machine and (if you’re lucky) popcorn and hot dogs have their charm, but this is what arena food should be like everywhere. As expected, they have great beer specials, and the wings were even better than expected.
But the star of the show is their house-made Frank’s Buffalo Chicken Dip, with shredded chicken, four cheeses, Frank’s Red Hot, and served with two kinds of chips. That buffalo spice also helps to drown out that locker room smell!
Shoeless Joe’s is one of the few places on the mountain that has a lively nightlife; I would suggest it replaced the void mentioned earlier that Boston Pizza used to be in the 2000s. Loud music, cold drinks, big TVs, young party goers, and pretty tasty food too.
If you want a huge screen or a place to fit your whole softball team at a table, this is the ideal place to settle in. We’re talking big — like multiple floors big — so keep that in mind if you’re stopping in with someone older who may be overwhelmed by the scale here.
Maybe not a sports bar in the traditional sense, but it checks all of the boxes and then some. You can take your pick of so many great places to eat and drink; there’s a reason some people never go to their seats! The Coors Banquet or Coors Light bars are both great spots to watch the game, and not only is The Stipley Canada’s largest outdoor bar, it’s home to the Stipley Saltlick, featuring BBQ from one of our favourites — Saltlick Smokehouse. And if that’s not enough, if you’re lucky (or rich) enough to land on the Club level, there’s food from a number of the best restaurants in the City.
ODDS is the newest of all the sports bars on this list. They burst onto the Hamilton food scene with a menu that features multiple nacho plates including an eating challenge, large chicken wings, and a positively varied selection of sandwiches and wraps.
One of my favourite things about ODDS is that they didn’t dedicate themselves to one sport in particular — so often sports bars in Canada just focus on hockey and forget about us alternate sports lovers out there. It’s the kind of bar that would feature a rugby match, Aussie Rules Football Championship, or Bicycle Polo game.
I don’t get blown away very often when I walk into a restaurant, but I was sincerely taken back when I walked in here. This spot is the closest thing to Real Sports or WEGZ in the city, and I’d argue we have better food (and definitely better prices). There are a seemingly infinite number of TVs big and small, showing everything you could possibly want to watch and the space is HUGE, so you don’t need to camp out 3 hours before a big game to get a table.
Can we talk about the wings? Ever since the owners of the last Chaps retired (RIP), The End Zone has laid claim to the best full-serve wings in the city. Big, crispy, juicy and a ton of sauces — they are damn near perfect. 79 cents on Tuesdays, or if you have the stomach, all you can eat on Saturdays. The combination of food and atmosphere make it an easy choice for #1.
Been to any of these? Unlock them!
Authored By: Todd & Mush of Steeltown Chowdown (IG: @steeltownchowdown)