What an odd place. Seems like this place is frozen in time from a bygone era...that smells a bit funky and could sure be spruced up. Nothing to speak of on tap but the most extensive bottle list in the city with some gems hiddem among them. Best bet is to sit at the small patio in the summer so you don’t have to deal with the interior at all and just enjoy good beer and good weather.
Nice bar, it has a nice long bar with an old time feel. to the entrance at the right there are a bunch of really old bottles that were fun to look at. Definitely this is the place to go to for bottles, sadly the only thing I saw on tap was canadian. They could sure use a few taps. I only ordered 1 beer but I struck out twice. and on my 3rd attempt to order a beer they finally had the beer I ordered. Overall, a decent place, not my favorite. But I would definitely head here again
Like walking back in time. This bar could definitely use a bit of spit and polish. Very long bar up the side and a whole room full of very dank, very dirty carpet. That’s the bad - now the good. You won’t find a better bottle selection in Hamilton. I thought the prices were pretty fair - had a Lindeman’s Cuvee Rene. Friendly staff who seem to care about the beer. I’d love to see a few taps in here in addition to the bottles, but you can definitely find something you’ll like here.
Loved the atmosphere and the decoration. Service was friendly and nice, but didn’t seem to know much about beer. The selection was great for foreign/belgian/british bottles. Local micros underrepresented. No taps, which is a shame. Would be back again.
cratez (256) Toronto, Ontario | February 21, 2011| Updated July 11, 2012
Fifth stop on a recent trip to Cambridge, Hamilton, and Niagara Falls with mrmanning.
This place resembles a 1920s cigar bar with faded wooden tables and chairs dispersed throughout an enormous, narrow establishment. A display of dusty beer bottles greets you at the front entrance. We grabbed a booth in the back where we enjoyed a night of drinks and laughs with our new-found friends from Bar Towel.
The main attraction at Chester’s is the extensive vintage bottle list, which includes hundreds of LCBO seasonals and private imports from various Belgian, English, German, and American breweries. All of the beers are listed in a book that invites patrons to "keep any can or bottle as a souvenir." Some brews are 10-20 years old and many of them cannot be found at other beer bars in Ontario.
Len and I both started with a Theakston Old Peculier, then split a 1996 Liefmans Goudenband, a 1998 Suffolk Strong Vintage Ale, and a 2009 Vapeur Cochonne. The Goudeband tasted excellent and the Cochonne was quite good; however, the Peculier and Suffolk were past their prime. We had a feeling that the low-mid gravity stuff would be less than stellar (since it’s not meant for cellaring), but we took a gamble anyway and got burned. Hence, I would recommend sticking to the stronger (7% or higher) offerings on the menu.
Service was prompt and courteous, though our waitress didn’t know much about the beers. They were also "out" of several bottles that we ordered. Michael, the eccentric owner, did not seem to recognize Len despite having shared numerous hard-to-find Belgians with him a few years ago. But all of the drinks arrived quickly and in their proper glassware, including a dubbel that came with a wooden coaster.
Overall, we had a nice evening here helped along by locals who know the Hamilton beer scene. Chester’s is a destination for anyone seeking rare bottles, though the menu needs to be updated to reflect current inventory.
I’ve been before but not in many years. It’s your typical pub style bar, and is a little dirty to be honest. Can’t say I don’t like drinking in a good old dark shit hole from time to time. The staff is knowledgeable, and they serve you in the appropriate glassware, which is a plus. The owner is nice and is willing to impart some good information.
way too expensive fo hamilton better if they could move it to toronto .bathrooms stunk peaple pissed on floor mold grwing arond tolets they must be paying up the health inspectors coul just imagine what it looks like on the inside that is what the pubic does not see . they seem too cater too white collars not the averagge guy and god for bid if you might be black they are racists
This place could be so much more! An absolutely great bottle line up, even if American micros are vastly under represented and a few of the items on the beer menu are unavailable. Every beer is served in proper glasswear Except for macro-swill, there’s no tap line up to speak of. Unfortunately, that’s what 80% of the people at the bar at any one time are drinking. The atmosphere is 70’s steak house and desperately needs updating, as does the uninspired pub menu. Good a few times a year, but it’s really hard to drag non-beer geek friends to this establishment.
A real disappointment. When we arrived, there were 8 other people in there, nursing bottles of industrial brews. The place is huge and unwelcoming, with a circa 1970’s steak bar interior. Everything looked worn and soiled. Our waitress was easily the worst I’ve ever had – a snarky little urchin who made fun of us for ordering food (?) and dropped our glasses on the table before running back to the bar to talk with her friends. It was a pity, because the bar list shows that someone clearly cares – it’s quite extensive and printed on heavy stock. I was tempted to steal one. My friend and I both had an Orval, which was served in the correct glassware and was at a good temperature. While we had intended to stay for longer, it was just too awful and we took off.