The Best Bars and Pubs in Kingston, Ontario

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Some Of The Best Bars and Pubs in Kingston, Ontario!

So, you’re in Kingston and you’re thirsty, right? In need of a beverage and perhaps a summer patio? Maybe a classic pint at a historic pub? Or a bit of live music with your cocktail to end off the evening? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

Eric has lived in Kingston for many years and has had the chance to frequent most of these places – some many more times than others.

So, we figured to help out visitors to Kingston, we wanted to write up a comprehensive list of some of the best bars and pubs the city has to offer! If it’s the breweries you’re after, you can find them in a separate post on Kingston’s wonderful breweries.

Keep in mind that most of these are in downtown Kingston because that’s where most visitors/tourists tend to check out.

Also, (if you’re local) you’ll notice that we haven’t mentioned any of the classic clubs or dance places. That’s because this list is intended for the average visitor to Kingston. Let’s face it, we’re suggesting Red House, the Duke, or Tir Nan Og before The Spot any day.

So, from The Toucan to the The Merchant and more – here are the best bars and pubs to visit in Kingston, Ontario!

Pubs in Kingston, Ontario

Given the fact that Kingston is an old city with a historic downtown core, there are a number of great pubs in downtown Kingston that draw on this theme.

You’ll find multiple places that offer classic pub grub, good live music, great drink/beer selections, and an actual properly poured pint of Guinness on-tap… not from a can!

Most of them also have great summer patios to enjoy your beverage on – “enjoying patio season” is a quintessential thing to do in Ontario in summer.

Keep in mind that while most of these quintessential pubs are located in downtown Kingston, a handful at the bottom are not – but they are still highly rated should you want to check them out.

Iron Duke on Wellington

Navigation Address: 207 Wellington St, Kingston, ON K7L 5R2, Canada

iron duke pub entrance with chairs on patio in kingston ontario.
The Iron Duke – inside or out – is a great, great choice!

Oh, the Duke. If Eric had a nickel for every time he’s been to the Duke – he’d be rich. But honestly, the Duke is great. Eric used to live on Wellington so it was always fitting to visit the “Duke on Welly” just a quick walk away!

Eric has actually celebrated a few milestone birthdays here – including his 19th (which is the legal drinking age in Ontario) and had a great time.

That said, The Duke has a lively, authentic pub décor and atmosphere with good food and usual specials/deals most nights of the week. The beer selection is plentiful – but a pint of Guinness was the usual order of choice!

Recently, Eric brought Lisa to the Duke for the first time and enjoyed her pint and delicious mozza sticks. She even said she wants to go back, so way to go, Duke!

Website: You can check out the Duke on Wellington here
Instagram: @irondukeon

The Merchant Tap House

Navigation Address: 6 Princess St, Kingston, ON K7L 5P7, Canada

Eric has been to the Merchant for food, sat on their patio, been there for events, and just gone with a buddy or two for pints.

It’s also great because the place is located right by the Kingston waterfront making it an easy stop for a drink or a bite to eat.

Inside, the Merchant is surprisingly large. There are a few different areas and smaller rooms to find tables in. The main area has a massive bar (loads of beer on tap) and a little stage where we’ve heard some great live bands over the years.

The location downtown also means you can just walk home after a night out (if you are staying in a Kingston hotel or inn!)

Website: Check out who’s performing and menus at The Merchant
Instagram: @merchanttaphouse

The Toucan & Kirkpatrick’s

Navigation Address: 76 Princess St, Kingston, ON K7L 5R2, Canada

outside street entrance with large windows at the toucan pub.
The Toucan + Kirkpatrick’s with the alley (to Chez Piggy) to the left!

Another one of the popular pubs in Kingston (arguably the most popular) is The Toucan. Located right on Princess Street a little way downtown towards the water, The Toucan is a favourite Irish pub for locals and visitors alike.

Eric has been there a bunch of times – sometimes for food, sometimes for pints with friends. Every time was equally enjoyable!

The Toucan has a great back/side patio for the summer season and also makes a point of offering live music and sports nights most nights of the week.

They also have good drink deals that rotate by the day – from popular beers to bar rail, food deals, and of course – pints of Guinness! They pour A LOT of Guinness.

Website: Check out hours, deals, and menus for The Toucan.
Instagram: @toucankingston

Tir Nan Og

Navigation Address: 200 Ontario St, Kingston, ON K7L 2Y9, Canada

red door on grey limestone wall at tir nan og pub in kingston ontario.
Doesn’t look like much – but Tir Nan Og is HUGE and authentic inside!

Another classic pub downtown is Tir Nan Og. Located right across from Springer Market Square, we’ve mentioned Tir Nan Og before as a place for pub food and a place to check out if you are in need of a pint, some grub, or a little singing.

This authentic Irish pub is a staple of downtown life and always has a healthy mix of locals and visitors in the summertime.

At night on Thursdays, “the Nog” as it’s sometimes called has karaoke, and let’s just say it’s a very fun time!

If singing isn’t your thing, you can count on Tir Nan Og for lots of beer on tap and good fish and chips. They also have a larger menu full of classics like meat pies, burgers, and more!

Website: Check out their Facebook Page
Instagram: @tirnanog_kingston

Pilot House of Kingston

Navigation Address: 265 King St E, Kingston, ON K7L 3B2, Canada

While most would just call it “Pilot House“, this small pub at the corner of King and Johnson is another classic. It’s definitely a more local place – and the interior hasn’t been updated in a while… but that’s what makes Pilot House great. A true local watering hole!

The nice thing about Pilot House (besides the great location) is the beer on tap, the variety of fish and chips on the menu (get the Halibut.. trust us), and the great little side patio where you can enjoy your beer and food in the sunshine.

Eric has been a handful of times for pints or food and it’s always been enjoyable. Great staff, local vibe.

Instagram: @pilothousekingston

The Rose & Crown Restaurant

Navigation Address: 2815 Princess St, Kingston, ON K7P 2X2, Canada

If you find yourself away from downtown and looking for a pub, then check out The Rose & Crown Restaurant. Again, more of a restaurant but since they serve up an authentic English pub feel, we wanted to include it!

Located up on Princess Street but out in the west end/uptown from downtown, the Rose & Crown boasts live music on Wednesdays and has been serving up fish and chips for over 30 years!

That said, you’d need a car to get there or take the bus since you can’t walk – unless you were visiting the mall (Cataraqui Centre) perhaps.

You can also check them out for the British store onsite in case you were missing food/novelty items from the UK (if you are from the UK and reading this as a visitor to Kingston).

Website: You can learn more about The Rose & Crown here
Facebook: Rose and Crown Page

The Loyal Oarsman

Navigation Address: 1724 Bath Rd, Kingston, ON K7M 4Y2, Canada

Another Kingston pub that is not downtown but great and should be included is the Loyal Oarsman. This pub, located out on Bath, is another one of those places you’d need a car to reach since you can’t/wouldn’t walk there.

The place is a classically decorated pub with that pub feel you only get from the most established and tested of pubs. The red carpet, the old wood finishes, everything. It’s in a commercial complex and you might miss it if you aren’t looking for it.

The menu is full of classic pub starters and you can get a classic British breakfast here, too! Might be good if you are heading out of town in the late morning and need a hearty brunch.

Website: Check out The Loyal Oarsman here.
Facebook: @theloyaloarsman

Portsmouth Tavern

Navigation Address: 96 Yonge St, Kingston, ON K7M 1K4, Canada

Finally, a Kingston pub that is closer to downtown compared to the two above but not quite there is Portsmouth Tavern.

Also known as “The Ports”, this establishment in the small town/neighbourhood of Portsmouth on Kingston’s waterfront has a rich history to it.

The legend goes that the pub used to be the watering hole for the old prison guards of the nearby Kingston Penitentiary.

These days, the place has seen better days. Eric’s been and – parroting how others feel – the food can be hit or miss, the inside is pretty dated, but the beer is cold.

While it’s not one of the top pubs to visit for some, it deserves to be included on this list due to its long history. So, if you’re out exploring Portsmouth and need a drink, it’ll do just fine!

Website: The Portsmouth Tavern
Instagram: @portstavern

Bars in Kingston, Ontario

Now, it’s on to the bars in Kingston. Keep in mind that “bars” are somewhat loosely defined in this post. For example, these are all the places you can get drinks that are not classic pubs.

That said, this bar list also includes a few places that are more like restaurants that are really, really good to go to for drinks (e.g. Red House).

Also – quick terminology lesson – “The Hub” is the grouping of bars/restaurants, etc. at the top of downtown near the intersection of Princess Street and Division Street.

Just so you know, we have put the bars downtown Kingston at the top and the few that are not downtown further down this section’s list! There’s a variety here so be sure to check them out!

Red House

Navigation Address: 369 King St E, Kingston (downtown) & 629 Fortune Crescent, Kingston (west end)

small bar building with front patio and red umbrellas in kingston ontario.
Red House Downtown is a favourite of Eric’s…

If you want a cool place with a great vibe, nice staff, and really good food – Red House is for you. This is one of those places that Eric generally went to for drinks but usually ended up getting good food, too. Some might call it a restaurant – either way, we wanted to include it!

Red House had a menu of upscale pub grub – buttermilk chicken bites and burgers are always really good! They also have a blackboard for daily/seasonal food and drink specials.

As for drinks, Red House makes a point of having an extensive scotch selection (which is great if you are into scotch) as well as a number of classic Canadian/local beers on tap.

It’s a lively, intimate vibe that’s very social and always welcoming. They also have a front/side summer patio area for drinks outside!

It should be noted that if you are in the west end of Kingston, Red House opened up another location. This might make for a good stop if you are returning on a day trip from Kingston from west of the city (like Prince Edward County) and need a drink or bite to eat!

Website: Red House downtown here & Red House West!
Instagram: @redhousekingston

The Backyard Patio Bar & Grill

Navigation Address: 285 Queen Street, Kingston, ON K7K 3T1

A relative newcomer to the Kingston “bar and patio” scene, The Backyard Patio Bar & Grill is a product of the socially-distanced reality we live in, part product of the fact that Kingston could use a nice, big outdoor patio space!

Located in downtown Kingston (up along Queen Street just north of Princess Street), the Backyard Patio is supposed to be temporary for summer 2021 so we’ll see how long it lasts/stays open going forward.

They’ve got a full kitchen and bar menu so you can go for food or just drinks. It’s all about enjoying the outdoors with friends and keeping safe – which is awesome.

You can get onto the patio off Colborne Street between Barrie and Division. You can also get there off of Queen Street – just follow the path beside 285 Queen Street.

Website: Food and Drink menu here
Instagram: @thebackyardygk

The Brass

Navigation Address: 403 Princess St, Kingston, ON K7L 1B9, Canada

The Brass is one of those places that you go to because you know exactly what you are going to get. Located up on Princess Street in the Hub, the Brass has been frequented by Eric many, many, many times.

He’s been for sports (which are great on their screens), wing deal night (wings are good but not great), live music (the Smitty days), and much more. He’s even been for brunch and regular food which are greasy but generally tasty.

In the summer, the windows open up and the fresh air hits everyone as if they have an outdoor patio (they don’t usually but they now have one at street level for distancing!)

Usually, though, you go to the Brass for pints. They have a pretty good but simple selection of beer and pitchers on tap – and that’s just fine!

Website: Check out who’s playing and what’s going on at the Brass here.
Instagram: @brasspub


Navigation Address: 347 Princess St, Kingston, ON K7L 1B6, Canada

Having lived in Kingston for so long, Eric saw what is now Barcadia turn into that from a bunch of other hilarious places (rest in peace, My Bar!).

These days, the tiny venue is home to a fun bar jam-packed with classic arcade games like Pac-Man. The nice thing is each game is only 25 cents to play!

Barcadia has a pretty extensive draught beer list – and drink deals almost every night of the week. The shots are even themed to be classic video game characters!

Eric has actually never been but has friends who go and enjoy it. It’s a nice place to change up your nightly routine with some different fun!

Website: Learn more about visiting Barcadia here
Instagram: @barcadiakingston

The Ale House/Canteen

Navigation Address: 393 Princess St, Kingston, ON K7L 1B9, Canada

Let us be clear: we’re mentioning Ale House/Canteen so that it’s on the list – but we wouldn’t necessarily tell a visitor to Kingston to go.

That said, Ale House is a two-floor dance bar that’s a venue for live music and Canteen is the more relaxed, patio/sports bar in the front. They are physically connected – hence Ale House/Canteen – but entry to one doesn’t ensure entry to the other.

Eric used to go to Canteen for team pitchers, okay pub food, and the large patio right in the heart of the Hub on Princess Street. Honestly, great memories at Canteen.

The crowd is generally younger but it’s still a good bet for sports on bigger game nights.

Website: Check out more about Ale House and Canteen here.
Instagram: @thealehouse

The Mansion

Navigation Address: 506 Princess St, Kingston, ON K7L 1C5, Canada

The Mansion is one of those places where you aren’t quite sure what you’ve found until you are inside and already drinking/eating/enjoying.

With a patio out front, a main bar on the main floor, a wine cellar, a live music venue upstairs, and more – the Mansion is just that.

This large house turned into a bar/venue is on Princess Street past the Hub close to where Alfred Street meets Princess.

The beer selection is vast, it’s good to watch sports, the summer patio is massive and lovely, and the food is pretty good – can’t ask for much more.

Eric has been many times and every time the Mansion is a good time!

Website: Check out what’s going on at The Mansion here!
Instagram: @themansionkingston

The Grad Club

Navigation Address: 162 Barrie St, Kingston, ON K7L 3K1, Canada

red brick house with pub patio hidden by trees in kingston ontario.
The Grad Club is on Barrie Street at the west edge of Queen’s Campus!

If you are exploring Queen’s University/City Park and looking for a beverage, the Grad Club might be for you. Located right on Barrie Street, this bar is actually run by a branch of the University.

That said, during the day it’s open to anyone for drinks and simple (but tasty) pub food. They have a pretty good beer selection, as well.

At night (and mainly during the school year), they do trivia and live music but the outdoor patio in summer is what you should check out.

At the end of the workday when the weather is nice, the patio on the corner is full of a mix of upper-year students, profs, and people who work for Queen’s who are in need of a pint!

Grad Club is a simple place but fun for events and lovely in the summertime.

Website: Learn more about visiting The Grad Club here.
Instagram: @thegradclub

The Grizzly Grill

Navigation Address: 395 Princess St, Kingston, ON K7L 1B9, Canada

The Grizzly Grill is one of those restaurants in Kingston that we love – but have included here in this post because of their awesome offering for nightlife.

Located right on Princess Street in “The Hub”, The Grizz becomes a pool hall/cozy drinks place for drinks upstairs and has a fun dance floor in the back of the ground floor!

This makes it a good stop for a large group looking to hang out with multiple interests in mind – games, drinks, dancing, socializing!

On weekends, it’s a good bet for locals and older students to frequent so you don’t get as many of the younger crowds running around like at other bars in the area.

Eric has been MANY times in his upper years while in Kingston and loved it each time. Nice servers, good music, good fun.

Website: Plan a visit to The Grizz here
Instagram: @thegrizzlygrill

Related Articles

If you are visiting Kingston, Ontario, you might want to check out these other posts!

And there you have it – some of the best bars and pubs in Kingston, Ontario. Of course, if you are visiting you won’t visit them all – but definitely try your best to check out and support those local establishments.

Of course, please also enjoy responsibly. If you driving, get a cab here or call an Uber. For the places downtown, just walk if it’s close. Better safe than sorry – have fun!

As always, Keep Exploring, eh?
– E&L

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Eric Wychopen is a Canadian content writer who loves to share his passion for Ontario. Originally from a small town in Simcoe County, he has almost 50 countries under his belt - but Ontario will always be home. Having travelled thousands of kilometres across the province for work and play, Eric has a wealth of knowledge about the province and is always looking for new experiences in Ontario.