Welcome to Hamilton

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					                                    Welcome to Hamilton!

Here is a list of places that a number of graduate students and faculty enjoy to help make your
stay in Hamilton more enjoyable.

Hamilton is often stereotyped as a rough, industrial town, and certainly there’s some truth to that
perception. In the wake of industrial photography by inspired artists such as Edward Burtynsky,
mind you, even industry has its aesthetic pleasures. (See Burtynsky’s collection of Hamilton
photographs at his website, following this trajectory: “Works,” “Urban Mines,” “Metal
Recycling.” The website address is But Steeltown (aka
“The Hammer”) is also a diverse, friendly, affordable place to live. The visual arts, theatre, and
the indie music scene are thriving; many tasty new restaurants have opened (and retained their
clientele); education and health care (McMaster, Mohawk, various medial training sites) have
replaced industry as the primary source of occupation; and the conservation areas, green spaces,
and escarpment offer something for all nature lovers. We hope you enjoy your stay.

Places to Start
H Magazine ( New mag, available on and off-line, which celebrates the urbanity
          of this beautiful, crumbly place.
The View. Free weekly mag available at bus stops, on campus, in coffee shops, etc. that gives
          you all the info on music, film, places to eat, and so on in the city.
Hamilton Spectator. Every Thursday it provides a list of musical, artistic, theatrical events.
Mayday Magazine. Monthly. Also available all over the city. “A forum for progressive thought.”
          Covers political topics and events over the city.
Arts Hamilton. Exhaustive and regularly updated.

Hamilton Zones
There are several clusters of retail activity/fun in Hamilton. These include Westdale (near
campus on King St. W.), Locke St. (between Aberdeen and Main, ½ way between downtown
and campus), James St. S. (some high-end restaurants) and James St. N. (restaurants and new art
zone), Concession St. (up on the mountain), Ottawa St. (old-tyme stores in the far East End), and
Downtown (especially along King E. and King William between James and John).

The list below is just a start. For the adventurous, there are more hidden gems to be found in the

Books / Readings
The Bookworm (852 King St W)
Used bookstore. They usually have a pretty diverse collection of books — everything from early
British literature to contemporary literature, as well as fine art and history books. You can also
trade in your used books for store credit.
Bryan Prince (1060 King Street W; King and Sterling)
An independently owned bookstore with outstanding service. Knowledgeable, friendly staff.

Hamilton Public Library (Central Branch at 55 York Blvd)
Good collection of books (including audio books) and videos. Lively mix of people in a well-
used library. Right next to the Farmer’s Market. Smaller branch libraries on King St W (right in
Westdale) and on Locke St. S.

Hamilton Poetry Centre
Regular readings (various places) and workshops (Central Public Library). Visit the website for

Coffee &
Second Cup (1004 King St W; Westdale)
Undoubtedly a popular coffee shop for academics, since the owners let people read, chat and
work on laptops as long as they wish. Also frequented by families, so a good mix of clients. The
outdoor patio is open from spring to fall.

My Dog Joe (1020 King St W; Westdale)
Phone: (905) 777-8100
The coffee is fair trade, the food organic and made on the premises. Selection of good and good-
for-you eats: sandwiches/ panini, daily soup, chilli, muffins (specialty: broccoli and cheddar),
quiche, squares, loaves, cookies. Free wireless access. Inviting, eclectic place, with formica
tables, mismatched chairs. Has become a second home to many in the English/CSCT department.
Plug-ins for laptops. Now licensed.

The Courtyard (Locke St. S)
Sweet or savoury crepes and (fair trade) coffee. Inviting courtyard at the back.

The Locke St. Bagel Bakery (202 Locke St. S)
Perch on high stools and gaze out at the leisurely pace on Locke St. The owner is friendly and
the bagels and cream cheese excellent. (I highly recommend the cheddar-jalapeno cream cheese.)
Also good sandwiches and a few sweets for lunch. A Hamilton favourite. Open 7.00 am - 5.30

Scoopons Ice Cream and Schilling’s Pastries (139 Locke Street S)
Pick up an ice cream or gorgeous European pastry. A few seats outside in nice weather.

Vintage Garden Tea Room (35 Pine St; just off Locke St S)
No garden, as far as I can tell, but the tea room is quite nice. Loose leaf teas; scones; vegetarian
& carnivore lunches available. Advertises its decor as “male-friendly.” 11 am - 4.00 pm.
Cheap Eats
Che Burrito & Lounge (38 Hess St S Hamilton; Hess Village, btn. Main and King St.)
Phone: (905) 524-5555
A tasty, inexpensive place to eat, especially on Tuesday nights when 2 for 1 burritos are on offer.
They have a fun and delicious menu of burritos, quesadillas, and nachos; great DJs on the
weekends. Plus — as one graduate student pointed out — the Wedding Chapel is right next door!
(Analyse this at your leisure.)

B & T (115 Park St N; very near the Farmer’s Market and Central Public Library)
Vietnamese & Thai food often served in silence and without eye contact, but the food is very
inexpensive and usually good. Annoying habit of watering down the curry-coconut milk sauce
rather than making a fresh one if they run low, but hard to complain when a huge dish of curry
costs $8 and comes with a free pot of jasmine tea. A fast-food setting; can be a bit grubby.
Extensive menu that accommodates vegetarians and vegans. Asian supermarket next door carries
many unusual items.

Harvest Moon (80 James Street North)
Authentic Chinese and Dim Sum. All food made from scratch. $4.99 lunch combos. Dinner
combo as low as $6.50. When choosing from the extensive dinner menu, one item costs $8.99,
two cost $17.99, and so on. Vegetarian and vegan friendly.

My Thai (21 John Street N; 905-526-8373)
Thai food served in a very clean if somewhat sterile restaurant. Many graduate students and
faculty think highly of the food, including the mango salad.

Thai Memory (King William St.)
More expensive than the other Thai places (above), moving into mid-price range category.
Large, colourful, eclectically decorated place. Definitely more comfortable and upscale than the
other two. Good food.

Kampai Sushi (236 King St W.)
Kampai serves the tastiest sushi in downtown Hamilton. Offering interesting sushi selections and
presentations, Kampai is never over-crowded and the service is fast.

Matsu Sushi (29 King St W, Dundas)
Consistently good food. Comfortable restaurant.

Bean Bar (1012 King St. W. Westdale)
Good nachos, breakfast burger, salads, quesadillas, sweet potato fries, and desserts (among other
things on a fairly extensive menu). Quality has been consistent since they brought in a new menu
a few years back.

Affinity (87 John S)
Asian Vegetarian. Not as inexpensive as the other places in this section of the list, but a great
choice for vegans or anyone looking for a large selection of tasty, meatless meals.

Ya, Man! (315 King St E)
Caribbean and Heart-Smart.
Delivery, take-out, about 8 tables for in-house eating. Wonderful, welcoming owner / server and
good food. The food is all moderately spiced, in deference to the less experienced North
American palette, so ask for spicy if you prefer your dishes hot. Vegetarian and vegan options.

Curry Cabana (234 King Street East)
Polourie, Fried Ripe Plantain, Dhal, Roti Dishes, Rice Dishes (Peas & Rice with Goat Curry or
Jerk Chicken), Fried Rice Dishes, Chowmein Dishes.

Mex-I-Can (107 James Street North)
905 527-1554
Slightly shabby interior, which owner is working to improve. Home-made Mexican-El
Salvadorian food. Everything (salsas, torillas) made from scratch. Very affordable.

Papagayo (246 King Street West) 905 525-0309
Decent Mexican fare. Less authentic food than Mex-I-Can, but nicer place. Colourful and casual.

Bread and Roses Café (Part of Skydragon; 27 King William St)
Fair trade and organic. Fairly stark setting.

Easterbrook’s Hotdog Stand (694 Spring Gardens Road, Burlington; across from Royal
Botanical Gardens)
Quaint old hotdog, burger, and ice-cream stand. Nothing for vegans, but even they might want to
swivel on the fifties’ stools.

Hutch’s (325 Bay St N; near harbourfront)
Classic fish and chip shack, as casual as they come. Homecut fries. Picnic tables outside, from
which you can catch a glimpse of the harbour.

O Mariniero (The Sailor) (236 James Street N)
No frills here, but the Portuguese food is fresh and cheap. Folksy, rustic restaurant, all sailor -
sea themed.

Harbour Diner (488 James N.).
Fantastic new place not to be missed. Great sandwiches and fries. All-day breakfasts.

William’s Coffee. The William’s at Hamilton Harbour is a good place to get coffee and snacks
after biking around Bayfront Park.
Black Forest Inn (255 King Street East)
Very inexpensive, hearty German stick-to-your-ribs food. A meat-lover’s dream.

Pizza & Pasta
Basilique (1065 King Street W, right across from Bryan Prince)
Very good, very inexpensive pizza. Also offers some wraps & salads, many with middle-eastern
flavour (falafels, shwarma, fatoush salad). You can eat at one of about three or four tables, but
the place is more geared towards take-out orders. Gentle, smiling owner, who remembers
customers and treats them well.

La Cantina (60 Walnut St S., downtown Hamilton, two blocks from Main St)
A range of dining experiences. Tasty wood-burning oven pizzas, homemade pastas, and mouth-
watering appetizers, and large salads in the nicely decorated lounge, casual restaurant, and on the
patio. Upscale dining in a separate dining area. Consistently good food & friendly service.
Personal pizzas from $11-13. Pastas (the smaller portion is enormous) around $13. Excellent

La Spaghett (970 Upper James St)
You definitely need a car to get to this place up on the escarpment. Small, inviting restaurant that
serves only pasta and a few salads and appetizers. Oddly located in a strip mall next to a 3-for-1
Pizza place and physically disconnected from but next to a Stag Shop. Over 26 kinds of sauce
(try the chevre-leek-sundried tomato on homemade gnocchi if you’re looking for decadence) and
homemade pasta. Reservations often needed, even on weekdays. Pastas start at $14.

Valentino’s (824 King St W)
Good thin crust pizza. Try the Alla Valentino’s. Now offers whole-wheat, multi-grain, or
cornmeal as well as regular crust. Pastas homemade but sauces less innovative than La Cantina
and La Spaghett. Skip the salads: heavy on the iceberg lettuce and the dressing tastes bottled.
Very casual.

Chicago Style Pizza Shack (534 Upper Sherman Avenue)
905 575-8800
Up the escarpment. I’m a thin-crust person, but apparently the pizza here is good.

Middle-Eastern Food
Dalina’s (49 King William St)
All the food is made by the owner and it is excellent. Intimate, inviting restaurant. Highly
recommended. Vegetarian & vegan options.

La Luna (306 King St W)
More casual than Dalina’s, much larger, and some items at lower prices. Many prices similar
though. Great fava beans dishes and falafels for vegans & vegetarians.

Indian Food
Gate of India (201 James Street N)
Good food, though some think the quality has slipped of late. They’ve recently stopped serving
alcohol so not the place to go if you want a beer with your food. The shrimp patia is delicious.

Indian Garden (1122 Main W); Shehnai (447 Main Street W)
Two places spread out along Main St and owned by members of an extended family. The food is
similar, though many Hamiltonians develop a preference for one over the other two. Shehnai’s
Sunday lunch buffet tends to be a good deal.

Portugese Food
Wild Orchid (286 James Street N)
Good, hearty fare. Terra-cotta colours and vines swagging overhead. Family-run business. Lots
of fresh fish dishes. Hopefully, you’ll get the sister as your waitress. She’s offers passionate
opinions about the food (and sometimes her family) and manages countless tables with humour
and efficiency. Prices in the mid teens and up, but you’ll definitely take home enough for lunch
the next day.

Bistros (Casual Setting / Fine Dining)

Il Fiasco (182 Locke St S)
Very affordable & Judith’s food is lovely. Pizzas & Mediterranean pie for $11; other mains from
$12 (pasta) - $25 (lamb or beef tenderloin). Good wine list: Ian knows his wines. Lunch is a
screaming deal. All the items are between $8-10 and both the quality and quantity are
impressive. Try the portabello mushroom wrap.

Boo's Bistro & Wine Bar (164 James St. S)
Opened by Malaysian-born chef Vibulan (Boo) Aria, this bistro presents a variety of textures and
spices in its Thai, Malyasian, Singaporean, Indian and North American dishes. Nice place; great
service; excellent, innovative food. Daily veg option. Chef Boo personally speaks with each
table. Dinner mains: $17-28. Can’t afford this? Go for lunch: $10.

Bistro Parisien (150 James St. S)
Consistently good French food in a very comfortable restaurant. Dinner mains: $17-24. Not
much cheaper for lunch. Fantastic place for a special dinner. Make reservations on the weekend.
Limited veg options. BYOW, but the corkage fee is high: $20 a pop.

Incognito (93 John St. S)
Has devoted regulars. The lamb and the ahi tuna get rave reviews. Good wine list. Try it on $5
Fridays when a number of items (apps, etc) get offered at this low price. Some vegetarian
options. Dinner mains: $14-25.

Tapestry Bistro (27 Dundurn St. N., inside the Staircase Theatre, just north of the Fortino’s
plaza) 905-481-2166
Tapestry is the newest project from the team behind My Dog Joe, the popular Westdale coffee
shop. A more upscale eating establishment than Dog Joe, Tapestry also focuses on organic,
natural and locally produced ingredients. All items are made on–site or by local producers.
Local, changing art displays. Tasty food that’s actually good for you. Variety of choices for
vegan and vegetarian diners. Mostly tapas style. Organic wine and beer options.

The Indie Scene / Live Music / Pubs
Check the View (free mag available at bus stops, on campus, in coffee shops) for detailed listings
of upcoming events and festivals (Mustard Festival, Music Festival in October, Festival of
Friends). You can also find the View’s calendar of events online:

The Casbah (306 King St W, behind LaLuna, where you can grab a falafel before the show)
They tend to get some very good indie bands, and also have a lot of fantastic, original djs. The
Casbah is also the place to go if you're interested in noise music. And Mondays they have cheap
pints of Steamwhistle in the lounge area.

Pepper Jack Cafe (38 King William St)
Gets a lot of good music, slightly bigger names than the Casbah (in general) but also lots of good
local talent. Music includes everything from world to jazz, blues, rap, funky guitar, singer-
songwriter, and experimental music. Reasonable ticket prices. Tues. is cheap pint night there.
They have a nice patio and laid-back vibe.

The Underground (41 Catharine St N)
Gets the occasional good band. This place and Absinthe may attract underage metal/punk/goth.

Absinthe (233 King Street East, Phone: 905-529-0349)
Some good bands and music to dance to that isn’t “cheesy.” One graduate student adds that the
crowd here tends to include underage metal/punk/goth kids.

Skydragon (27 King William St)
Clearly a favourite, since it is showing up in nearly every category. Dance nights on Fridays.

Hess Village (Hess St is one block east of Queen St; access Hess village from Main St.)
One solid block of pubs. The place to go if you like crowded patios. Trendy (with the exception
of Che, which is still crowded but brings in a considerably more diverse group).

Diavolo (Hess Village)
Okay, it’s Hess, but there’s dancing on Saturday night.

West Town Bar and Grill (214 Locke St S)
Very much a neighbourhood pub: all the locals go here. It's pretty basic, but close to downtown,
and also removed from the craziness of Hess Village. For the most part, I wouldn’t recommend
the food, though the nachos are fine. A baby and kid friendly place, too.

Mighty Mike's Pub and Billiards (96 Main St E.)
This is a good place to go if you like to play pool, especially on weekdays when it's less busy.
They have lots of tables, inexpensive drinks, and a juke box.

The Corktown Pub (175 Young St)
Old world pub. Live music. Jazz nights on Wednesday.

Winking Judge (25 Augusta St; off James St N)
Micro-brewery pub. 22 drafts. Over 200 types of beer. Small outdoor patio on reasonably quiet
street. Other pubs on Augusta are good, too. The Pheasant Plucker across the road is inviting
with its exposed brick walls & fireplace. Okay food.

Slainte Irish Pub (33 Bowen St; a block off Main St)
Really nice-looking stone pub; good atmosphere. Food and drinks have become overpriced in the
past two years, though. New menu is pretty mainstream (no longer great Irish pub fare) and the
cooks less skilled. Cozy in the winter. Live Celtic music on weekends.

Rebel’s Rock Irish Pub (537 King St E)
A better bet than Slainte these days. Good food, made by the owner Kate. Lots of specials (like
½ price wings on Tues.) Go before you’re famished. Kate makes everything from scratch so
things take a while.

One Duke (corner of Duke and James S)
A step above the usual pub fare. Nice ambiance. Small outdoor patio.

Mick’s Irish Ale House (468 James N.)
Pub in the North End opened by the owner of Slainte. A pleasant place to have a pint.

Embassy (54 King St E)
Popular GBLTQ nightclub. Appeals more to younger GBLTQ. Three floors with three bars.

The Werx (121 Hughson St. N)
Nice, laid-back atmosphere. GLBTQ club. More mixed than Embassy. Upstairs: great drag show
on Thursday nights. Downstairs: bad karaoke.

London Tap House (35 John St. S)
Newly opened. Five-floor entertainment, dance club, lounge and restaurant complex, featuring a
240 seat roof-top patio. Food’s nothing special, but good people watching opportunities.

Mediterranean / Middle-Eastern grocer.

Arts / Theatre / Film
For a good overview, see the Arts Hamilton website:
Extensive listings of the many events going on in this city and nearby. The Theatre Guide lists 21

Art Gallery of Hamilton (123 King Street W)
Nicely renovated gallery with a fantastic permanent collection. Watch for the changing exhibits
as well.

McMaster Museum of Art (Alvin A. Lee Building, near Mills library)
905-525-9140 ext. 23081
The museum houses McMaster University's significant collection of 6,000 works of art and
presents changing public programmes. Highlights include the Herman H. Levy Collection of
Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art.

Le Staircase (27 Dundurn St N; one block north of King, just down from the Fortino’s plaza)
Comedy, improv, concerts, some movies.

Theatre Aquarius (190 King William Street)
High quality theatre. Diverse performances.

The Pearl Company (16 Steven St)
Exhibits on the main floor and a performance space on the second floor. Innovative plays,
concerts, wordart, films. Exciting venture. The Art Bus tours start from here as well. Excellent
list of websites that connect to the artistic venues and events in Hamilton.

Downtown Arts Centre (28 Rebecca Street)
Our 300 Seat Main Theatre is used for plays, dance, music productions, film screenings,
seminars and meetings. The 60 seat little Theatre is used for small shows, screenings, poetry &
play readings. The Art Gallery Space for visual art displays, gala openings or it can be used as
small seminar space and meetings. The large flex-space with kitchen (4,000 sq. ft.) can be used
for music shows, art and drama workshops, children’s art camps, indoor sports events, art and
craft market, fundraising events, banquets and many other types of events. Clients include
Hamilton Theatre Inc, Hamilton Fringe Festival, McMaster Dance Company, Hamilton City
Ballet, ArtWord Theatre, Dance Ontario.

Transit Gallery (230 Locke St S)
A new exhibit every 6 weeks or so. Nice gallery; well run. Occasionally, they show art films,
documentaries, older movies.

Gallery on the Bay (231 Bay St N)
Every year the Department hosts its Welcome for the Writer-in-Residence at this gallery (usually
in September). The writer gives a reading and answers questions, and the Department will offer
complementary drinks and food. Beautiful space. Excellent event. Wonderful owners.

Workers Arts and Heritage Centre (51 Stuart Street)
Innovative tributes to labour in a wonderful heritage building. Check the changing exhibits.

The Carnegie Gallery (10 King Street West, Dundas, ON)
Showcases the visual arts and crafts, especially from the area. Great little gallery and close to
Taylor’s Tea Room (twee; local favourite), Horn of Plenty, Picone’s, Mickey McGuire’s, and ….

Dundas Historical Society Museum (139 Park Street West, Dundas)
This place is doing increasingly ambitious stuff: recent Seth exhibit; a wide range of talks,
including on area aboriginal and settlement histories. And there's now a wonderful children's
play area.

Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (45 Hempstead Drive)
Art and cultural classes (language, cooking, yoga, raku, etc), exhibits, performances, martial arts

Whitehern Historic House and Garden (41 Jackson Street West)
Victorian home and archives.

Dundurn Castle (610 York Blvd.)
Not really a castle, but an impressive place and grounds. Mid nineteenth century.

Afro-Canadian Caribbean Cultural Centre (423 King St E)

McMaster Thespian Company
Now in year six and still going strong!

Hammer Theatre
This independent Theatre Company is devoted to creating professional quality theatre for
Hamilton audiences, introducing Hamiltonians to shows both new and old not customarily
produced. Musicals & plays; also evenings with local bands, and acoustic artists.

Imperial Cotton Centre for the Arts (270 Sherman, East Hamilton)
Truly glorious old factory space reclaimed for the arts. Exhibits, readings, artist studio tours,
fringe festival. A must-see.

Architecture Hamilton
Offers free, guided tours; special walks and events; and DOORS OPEN 2009.