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Hamilton’s 10 best date night spots for 2020

Sure, Valentine’s Day just passed; but the love doesn’t have to stop, right? Especially when Hamilton has lots to offer in the romance department, with an ever-growing list of prime spots to have a memorable date night right here in town.

From laidback vibes to impressive fine dining experiences, here’s our list of Hamilton’s top 10 date night spots for 2020.

The Brain

Who says date night always has to be fancy?

The Brain, James North’s classic craft beer bar, may not have the sleek decor or polished food menu of some other entries on this list. But what they do have is a totally approachable hole-in-the-wall vibe with a killer rotating selection of Ontario craft beer on tap and rare, shareable fermented finds in the fully-stocked bottle fridge.

With wine and cocktails also on offer, along with a playful menu of small bites like fresh samosas and homemade slices of pie, The Brain is perfect for a no-frills night out.


The Diplomat

Upscale vibes without the usual stuffiness, and a diverse seasonal menu built to satisfy pretty much any palate, The Diplomat is a prime spot to impress a date.

Salads, share plates, and grilled cuts of top-quality meats feature inventive culinary twists while remaining fully approachable dishes.

Uniquely, The Diplomat is also the only Hamilton restaurant to currently offer select times of device-free dining, which is the perfect opportunity to keep those pesky phones out of sight and out of mind. That way, you and your loved one can look away from your screens and into each other’s eyes all night long. Swoooooon.


Paper Crane Sushi

Hamilton’s got plenty of all-you-can-eat sushi goodness around town, but there’s something to be said for a place like Paper Crane Sushi that strives to kick things up a notch.

Located in the former Two Black Sheep space on John South, Paper Crane Sushi is one of Hamilton’s most underrated dining experiences.

Cozy vibes and a menu of exquisite small plates, hand rolls, maki, and more make for the perfect tapas-style meal that you can roll out gradually to soak in the night while sharing a bite and a drink with your favourite person.


Meanwhile Winebar

One of Hamilton’s newest additions to the nightlife scene, James North’s Meanwhile Winebar is basically a dream spot for date night.

The compact and dimly-lit bar has ambiance to spare, and the menu, designed by Chef and Sommelier Kyle Paton, is really something special. Besides a small yet diverse list of wines available by the glass or bottle, those feeling peckish can order a steady stream of tiny bites built for grazing and perfect for wine pairings.

You won’t find full meals on offer here, but you will find all of the ingredients for a perfect, carefree night of indulgences to savour.


Bon Temps

The name of the restaurant literally translates to ‘good times,’ and that’s exactly what Hamiltonians can expect here.

The small John South restaurant space – former home to Rapscallion Rogue Eatery – pretty much screams intimacy. Elevated bistro fare takes notes from French-Canadian cuisine and puts particular emphasis on shareable options like oysters, charcuterie boards, and expertly-prepared meat and seafood dishes.

Bon Temps has even been known to lean into the spirit of date night, with occasional special offers for couples, and even discounts for Tinder dates.


Castelli Cucina

We just had to include an Italian spot on this list for those of you who dream of having a Lady and the Tramp-style spaghetti moment with bae.

Castelli goes above and beyond your standard spaghetti and meatballs, though. Modern, elevated takes on rustic Italian classics adorn the menu, which includes exceptional pastas, pizzas, and house-made Italian desserts like cannolis or tiramisu.

Combine that with an inviting and attractive aesthetic, and Castelli holds its place as one of James North’s prime date night indulgences.


 The French

When locals think of romantic date spots in Hamilton, The French is likely one of the first options that springs to mind.

This fine-casual French bistro is a staple of King William Street’s restaurant row, with an aesthetic that’s chic and attractive without feeling unapproachable.

You pretty much can’t go wrong with any of the numerous menu options, from lunch to brunch to dinner, salads to sandwiches to steak frites. Combine that with top-notch hospitality, and it’s almost guaranteed that any visit to The French will feel special.

Brothers Grimm Bistro

If you want stunning old-world charm that practically screams romance, Brothers Grimm Bistro might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Brand new and located in the subterranean space that used to house the Sandbar Tavern on King Street East, Brothers Grimm Bistro is serving up tantalizing Euro-fusion bistro fare with carefully curated selections of wine and barrel-aged beer offerings.

Exposed brick, woodgrain, and decorative stacks of reclaimed wooden barrels complete the picture for this totally transporting dining experience.


 Berkeley North

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Berkeley North has made this list. After all, we’re not the only ones giving it the recognition it deserves.

With emphasis on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and a wide variety of West Coast-style share plates, Berkeley North uses its exceptional seasonal menus and romantic atmosphere to noteworthy effect. The restaurant’s efforts have earned it spots on OpenTable’s list of the top 100 restaurants in Canada, as well as their list of the country’s top 50 spots for a date.

With such strong nationwide acclaim, Berkeley North is an absolute must for that next special night out.


 Brux House

From food to drink to service to intimate ambiance, Brux House delivers every time.

A longstanding Locke Street gastropub serving up elevated Belgian-inspired bites paired with a rotating list of reliable and rare craft beer from Ontario and beyond, Brux House has established itself as a perfect spot for any meaningful occasion.

A softly-lit, woodgrain-forward aesthetic hosts second-to-none service and an eclectic menu by Executive Chef Fraser MacFarlane. Seasonal food options always include plenty of share plates to split with your loved one over a barrel-aged Quebec saison, or a cocktail masterfully handcrafted by veteran bartender Kevin B. Delaney. Earning its place on OpenTable’s list of the 100 best restaurants in Canada, it’s hard to imagine anyone leaving Brux House unsatisfied.


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