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.
Didn’t have food so not sure???? wasn’t huge on the waitress she didn’t seem to know much but if you get the owner you are in for a treat. This guy is amazing, he showed me the cellar and i had some fantastic beers, that are not inanyone elses cellar. great place although i wish it did support the micro’s
mds (100) Toronto, Ontario | September 10, 2006| Updated July 7, 2007
Huge cavernous place that didn’t seem all that busy. There’s a patio up front as well but only about 10 people in the entire place on a Saturday night.
Friendly staff and especially so when you’re with the venerable Doug Shoemaker. Extensive beer menu with a few specialties not found in Toronto including some superb aged beers like the Thomas Hardy’s from 1993.
I didn’t really pay much attention to the food menu but it seemed like mostly pub fare and I ordered the onion rings shortly before the kitchen closed at 22:00. Pretty solid place that I wouldn’t hesitate to visit again if I’m in Hamilton again. There’s also a convenient Go bus stop directly across the street.
What an interesting funky little place. Inside in time capsule protected from the seventies with 2 Molson Canadian taps. But man, are there ever some rare finds on that bottle list. Are they is the best condition? Well, they’re old. This place has one giant cellar. The owner is very gracious when around. The food is ok. Always a good stop after the judge for a couple of neat ratings.
Very interesting beer list, with some hard-to-find, vintage bottles--recent finds include Niagara Falls Eisbock (1993) , Liefman’s Goudenbond (1988) & Thomas Hardy’s Ale (1993). Tap selection is pitiful. The service is good and the staff is friendly, but they are generally not beer-knowledgeable (except, of course, for the owner, Michel Robis). The decor is dated and worn, but the cigarette odor is finally dissipating only a year into Hamilton’s smoking ban. They do serve food, but I’ve never eaten there. All-in-all worth stopping by if you’re in Hamilton.
This little known gem is in downtown Hamilton. For a place outside of Toronto or Montreal it is incredible. Not only is there a host of bottled beer second to Smokeless Joe’s, but there are also many aged versions around. The manager is very dedicated to beer, and keeps the place open and staffed though it is very quiet weeknights. It is very presentable, and not to be missed if you are travelling through. Some rare finds here, such as beers from odd countries, and vintages from the LCBO 10 years ago. A bit too cold on some beers served, offset by thoughful service with the proper mugs.
Great spot for some rarities and other good stuff, but some of the bottles are of questionable age - which is great for the vintage bottle of something that has stood up to the test of time. Not so much for the more fragile english beers. An interesting place to say the least!
EDIT - I noticed that they added a new tap. Now they have TWO Molson Canadian taps!
Pretty good. Great variety of bottles. I continue to go to Chester’s because there are only a couple of good beer places in Hamilton. if you are ever here, make the trip to Chester’s. There is one tap in the place that serves Molson Canadian
Does have the feel of an empty Italian restaurant but the beer menu is very good. The night I was present I found the bartender as overly available (read: pushy). I appreciate the fact that she made herself available to me but would have enjoyed not being asked what I'd like next when I haven't yet finished what's in my glass. Chester's definitely had some great rarities in the 1993 NF Eisbock Gold and the bottles of Thomas Hardy. Good venue - I'd have likely been treated differently if there had been mroe than 6 of us in the place.
MrManning (60) Hamilton, Ontario | March 27, 2004| Updated March 17, 2006
It is actually really clean, and classy in Chester’s, but I have never felt "welcome" when I have been. Staff are friendly and knowledgeable. I like a good draft though, and this is what they lack. Their selection of bottles though is amazing, and that is where they score some points.
I hate the atmosphere, very smokey and not a beer-loving crowd. However, some very hard to find bottles at comparatively reasonable prices. Make sure if you go in there more than once to ask for the same beer that they said they previously did not have. The waitresses don't usually look to hard find your beer.