HOW HYPE ARE YOU!!!! Now, you probably imagined a drunk guy holding his empty beer can before he crushed it with his forehead. Or you could have just cringed and went back to your glass of chardonnay. There are different kinds of hype.
And we get it! You don't just want to head out every night and go absolutely insane (a booty can only drop so much), but you don't just want a chill night over, and over, and over. It's all about moderation, and luckily in Kingston, there are plenty of options to switch up your bar scene based on every kind of hype level.
Feeling a squad night out?! One for the cameras memories and maybe not your own? What about a BFF date to catch up? Third date (you know, if you don't include that first hook up)? Fun night out with your tutorial group? F*CK YA! We got options here in the 613! A good, nay, great night is always waiting for you if you know where to find it.
How it works: we're gonna use the trusted and age-old emoticon for our ranking system. Basically, the more ? symbols there are (max 3), the more hype the club/bar is, that way you can always decide where to go based on if you want to meet that level. You ready?
1. Ale House // 393 Princess St.
Nine out of ten times you go here you're almost guaranteed to have a good time. Something about the open, theater like layout mixed with the hype music and hilarious crowd always makes for a great time. Packed to the brim most weekend with students, we love it here because of its versatility. The main dance floor is constantly bumping, and the top floor doesn't lose the hype, but there are tables to sit down at and plenty of room if you need some more dancing space. They always have cool themes night throughout the year, and some awesome live music to see! It's that perfect Kygo level "chill hype" that can instantly go from 0-100 in 10 minutes.
When to go: Fridays here won't let you down, and if you're a fan of country music, switching up the normal going out routine, or riding a mechanical bull: neither will Tumble Tuesdays.
2. Kingston Brewing Company // 34 Clarence St.
? and a half
Things really do get better with age, and "The Brew Pub" is a true testament to that. Kingston Brewing Company Ltd. is Ontario's oldest brewpub, and one of the only places in Kingston that makes its own beer. We're giving it a mid-level hype for the fun decor and bumping atmosphere. It's always an experience heading down here, from the beautiful heritage building, to the memorabilia from other breweries around the world - it's perfect to head down here with a big group and switch up your typical pub experience by trying some truly local beer. The Dragon's Breath has been serious attention, you'll have to taste it to figure out why. More than that, there's delicious food to keep you there all night long, like their smoked on the premises BBQ ribs.
When to go: head here on the weekends for a twist on your typical night out, one you won't regret.
3. The Alibi // 293 Princess St.
If you're looking for the hidden gem of downtown, head to the Alibi. It's a chill, hip place to head with your squad for a tame night out that is anything but basic. Board games, craft beer, fine wines, a rotating cask selection (which usually is from a local brewery, some are available exclusivly at Alibi), and delicious cocktail options; we love the intimate vibe of this bar. While you're there you can enjoy some local, ocean-friendly, naturally raised or free run food to get you satisfied. It's the perfect atmosphere for catching up with friends in this cool and eclectic spot!
When to go: Really any night works for a place that's as versatile as this, but if you're looking for a little extra, head her for their Wednesday Trivia nights.
4. The Mansion // 506 Princess St.
Ah yes, our (literal) house away from home. The Mansion is a great place to head for some live music and chill drinks with friends. We're giving it two ?'s for the awesome performances that set you up for a great night, head downstairs to the pub and you'll find a more chill vibe. The full food menu and legendary Schooners mean that you'll be staying here for awhile, keeping that low-key hype going all night long.
When to go: check out their website for when live music events are happening! If you want a really hype night? Hit up Queen's Players, you won't know what you're getting yourself into and you probably still won't know when you leave - but it'll be the best night of the year.
5. Red House // 369 King St.
? and a half
Veer about 5 steps of the beaten Princess St and you can find out why the Red House is such a local favorite. Don't want to go to a club but still want to have a good time? This cool bar has a great social atmosphere, but it's so wild that you wouldn't be able to hear the person next to you. Red House is the kind of bar where you can stay for hours and constantly be having a great time. Start off with some delicious food (they believe in locally grown produce, humanely raised meat and artisanal food producers) like pulled brisket, poutine, or duck bacon and apple potato salad. Then watch the game and relax with your friends as you enjoy the next couples hours with a craft beer, a glass of chardonnay, or a cool cocktail like their dark and stormy (dark rum and ginger beer). Great spot to hit if you're aiming for those cool ~chill~ vibes.
When to go: This is an especially great spot because you don't need a huge crowd to have a great time here (though you'll often find one), the ambiance and the company you bring will be enough. If you're lucky enough to be around for a cask festival, that's something you can't miss.
6. Stages Night Club // 390 Princess St.
We're not sure why but every time we go here we just feel the need to yell out, "SPRING BREAK FOREVER!", ya. It's just that kind of place. Long story short, you don't go here for a relaxing night, you go to vibe. Two stories, tons of bars, a huge dance floor surrounded by plenty of stages for you to pull a Beyonce performance on, and students that have been locked up in the library all day? Time to get wild.
When to go: Stage Rage Thursdays, or Monday's for Beach Slam (only in the summer season).
7. The Brass // 403 Princess St.
? and a half
They have beer, TV's, and a pound of wings and pint special on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so who goes here? Just about anyone and EVERYONE looking for a little more hype than you would get at your typical pub dinner. It's not somewhere you go to get wild and drop it like it's hot, but with a huge group of friends, a couple pitchers and the game on (can you smell the musky cologne in this image)? Or the open mic nights on Thursday? 25% off with a Student ID 6-9pm on Sundays? You're looking at a great night almost every night, especially because they have specials every single day here! Check them all out here.
When to go: we're sticking with our Tuesday/Thursday wing special, but we also love going here on Sundays for a fun, chill way to finish off the weekend before the madness of the week starts again. It's also conveniently located near the club scene, so it's a perfect place to head pre or post booty dropping.
8. Merchant Pub House // 6A Princess St.
This is a true Kingston bar- right on the stunning shores of Lake Ontario, friendly staff, and beautiful decor which makes up the classic vibe of this downtown gem. It's your classic pub but with a twist, they offer live band performances and also feature some delicious daily features. Come here with a big group or for a one on one lunch date catch up. It's a chill spot to grab a drink for the night, and you can choose from over 25 draught beers. What could be better than the classics?
When to go: one of the best parts about this spot is you can head in here at any time and have a great time with some friends with the fun, classic atmosphere. If you want a little more hype, head here between Thursdays and Sundays when their live music is playing. Or head here for their paint night!
9. Barcadia // 347 Princess St.
? and a half
What's this? A bar? An arcade? YOUR DREAM COME TRUE?! All the above. Recently opened bar/arcade Barcadia has already become a quick favorite, drawing people in mainly for the curiosity but keeping them when they realize how much fun you can have here. It's the perfect spot for a first date or for a hilarious squad night out. Cheap drinks, with everything from beer to sour puss shots, this bar seems to be getting more and more interesting and we can't wait to keep going. Head here for a hilarious and definitely different night!
When to go: have you every heard of anyone complaining about preing at an arcade bar? What about ending up there instead of a club? Didn't think so - head here on the weekends for the biggest crowds, or check their facebook page for special events.
10. The Brooklyn // 14 Garrett St.
?? and a half
We keep coming back to the Brooklyn not only because of it's unreal craft beer selection, but it's hip, rustic vibe that is the perfect setting for its always bumping weeknight parties. You read that right, weeknight. This small Garret st. bar has been a local favorite for years. The ambiance can't be matched, and with a young crowd flocking there and the occasional hot dog cart outside for your 12am drunk food cravings? You'll dance the night away and have absolutely no regrets about how ridiculous you looked doing it.
When to go: Mod club Tuesdays are legendary here. People have been known to schedule their weeks to make it out here on a Tuesday, and with the old school music blasting all night you'll get on the next level of hype you never knew you needed on a Tuesday. Head here on Wednesdays too, for the up and coming Karaoke nights. Great beer and mediorce singing? It's a good time.
11. The Spot Nightclub // 155 Division St.
This is the true underdog story of the downtown hub. Rumored to have longer lines than Ale on some nights (not kidding), the Spot is definitely making it's way up on the hype ranking, and quickly. It's the classic club scene, flashing lights, raised dance floor in the middle for you to booty drop in front of all your fans all night, and enough dance tracks to keep you going through the night. So ridiculous it's hilarious, we love spending hours here dancing like no one is watching, and realistically no one is because they're all dancing up their own storm. With drinks averaging about 3 dollars, you'll have a good time.
When to go: Wednesday hip hop nights are hilarious with a big group, as are the seriously underrated Sunday Spot Scene. The key thing to remember is though it may not be a big crowd on those off nights, bring a huge group and add in cheap drinks and you'll be feeling the hype in no time.