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Favourite Summer Places in Kingston

Downtown Kingston - a beautiful place to wander in the summer (Picture courtesy: Atif Kukaswadia)

Summer is upon us. The undergrads have (mostly) left, and the first swarms of mayflies are gone, which means it’s finally patio weather in Kingston. And what a glorious city for patios it is!

Someone once told me that Kingston has the highest number of restaurants per capita of anywhere in Canada. I don’t know if that’s true, but it definitely seems like it. I’m highlighting my top 5 places below, but there are many, many more and I encourage you to add your thoughts in the comments below.

Disclaimer: None of these places have offered compensation for this piece. However, if they want to give us a code/secret handshake that our readers can use for free food/discounted drinks, we wouldn’t object! 🙂

And now, in no particular order…

Place #5: Fanatics Sports Lounge – http://www.fanaticssportslounge.com/

Where to begin. If you want to watch a sporting event, this is the place to go. They have TV’s on literally every wall (including the bathrooms), so even on busy nights with multiple games on, you can watch your team. Even their patio has HDTVs where you can take in the game. They also have some of the best tasting bar food you can get. I think this is where I’ll be for most of the Olympics 🙂

Best memory: Watching the Canucks/Bruins 2011 Stanley Cup Final, and singing the national anthem with the entire bar. One day, the Ottawa Senators will be back there!

Place #4: The Toucan – http://www.thetoucan.ca/

The Toucan is a great place to kick back and relax with some friends. They’re also incredibly grad-student friendly; Wednesdays feature nachos at half price, Thursdays feature half price food for graduate students and Saturday and Sunday feature their famous $3.99 and $3.49 breakfast respectively (Note: All of those deals require a beverage purchase and Thursday requires valid grad student ID). A covered patio makes this a perfect destination for any weather!

Best memory: Going to the Toucan with grad student friends and managing to have a full meal for $7.50 each.

Place #3: The Red House – http://www.redhousekingston.com/

A newcomer to the Kingston night scene, the Red House is noticeable due to the lack of signage that it exists. The only indication is the brightly painted red door that belies a beautifully restored interior. Inside, it’s a warm, inviting place that seems more like a cottage than a bar. A giant center table encourages strangers to mingle and chat, and the food is delicious!

Best memory: Not knowing the name and calling it the Red Door for about a month before a friend corrected me. I still think “look for the Red Door” sounds pretty cool though.

The Kingston Waterfront. This was taken a few weeks ago - now all those berths are full of boats (Picture courtesy: Atif Kukaswadia)

Place #2: The Grad Club – http://www.queensu.ca/gradclub/

A graduate student staple, the grad club is exactly what the name suggests. Graduate students from all disciplines come together to listen to live music at one of the best live music venues in Canada or test their mettle in Thursday’s Trivia Nights or just relax after a hard day in the lab/office/field on their patio. The food and camaraderie make this one of the best places to kick back and relax after a long day, and being right on campus makes it easy for everyone to meet at after work.

Best memory: Placing first in Trivia in a round dedicated to naming comic book heroes, and then placing first again the following week in the round dedicated to comic book villains. Yes, I’m a nerd. As if my Batman belt buckle wasn’t enough of an indication of that.

Place #1: The Tir Nan Og – http://kingston.tirnanogpubs.com/

The Tir has one of my favourite patios in Kingston. It wraps around the building, and has a beautiful view of Confederation Basin. They also host karaoke on Thursday nights, where you’ll find many of your colleagues belting out everything from Journey to Boyz II Men to Justin Bieber.

Best memory: Singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” with my entire MSc cohort. Also, going here after finishing the written part of my PhD Comprehensive Exams.

Honorable mentions: The Kingston Brew Pub (two patios and a great atmosphere), Milestones (gorgeous décor) and The Iron Duke (good food).


What are your favourite places in Kingston? Any places you recommend that I’ve missed?

Posted in Kingston Tagged with: ,
5 comments on “Favourite Summer Places in Kingston
  1. Terry Bridges says:

    Those are all great places! I’d like to add a few:

    — the Chez Piggy patio/courtyard– a lovely, calm oasis (and right across from the Toucan patio)

    — I’ll endorse the Brew Pub patio and the Toucan patio

    — the Pilot House patio

    — the Amadeus patio– great for a night-time drink, with a great selection of beer

    — not in Kingston, but the Island Grill on Wolfe Island is fabulous– gorgeous views over the lake, casual, and a lovely ferry ride to get there

    — and not a restaurant of course, but the Saturday Market is really nice– great place to meet people and get excellent local food

    And there’s tons more of course … we could broaden this to talk about places to catch the great outdoors– Sandbanks, Prince Edward County wineries, Gould Lake, Frontenac Park, Lemoine’s Point …

    • Atif Atif says:

      Thanks for the comment – those are all great places to check out! I’ve never actually been to the Wolfe Island Grill, but I’ve heard great things. I think I’m going to have to take a bike ride over there one day…

      • Terry Bridges says:

        definitely– the biking is great over there too. You can also catch a ferry from the south end of the island to Cape Vincent in New York. And you can also check out the wind turbines along the way …

  2. Vicky Arnold says:

    Take the trip – it’s only about 20 minutes! The Island Grill often has great live music and is right across from the bakery. The General Wolfe is a bit more expensive, but has one of the best Caesar salads in town!

  3. Emma says:

    These are all great but i am a huge fan of the Lonestar patio, whats better than cold coronas and working on your tan at the same time! Great atmosphere and great service! Also a big fan of the Jack Astor’s rooftop patio great sight of downtown area, sometimes a little busy but its great!!

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