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Augusta's Winking Judge
Taps: 22 / Bottles: -
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
25 Augusta St
, L8N 1P6
phone: (905) 524-5626
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Reviews by JohnnyBarman:
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Strolling around Hamilton on a lazy Sunday, I poked my head into this place. I'd heard great things about it from friends, but they hadn't been by in a few years, so I figured it was worth a go. (Not to mention the beer selection in the places next door were the standard Molson-Coors fare...)
Hard to detect the vibe here, because the place had only opened about a half hour before. A few regulars at the bar, and a friendly waitress gave us a table and a smile as she finished wiping tables. The house has a wonderful Victorian feel to it, reminds me a great deal of the Queen's Grad Club. Wooden interior, great sounds from the floors, micro brew posters, hats and bottles on the wall. (including a 2L Fin du Monde, that I now want buried with me). Incredibly homey feel, something I'd really like to call my local.
A great lineup of mostly Ontario Crafts on tap (Flying Monkeys, TAPS, Grand River, Magnotta, F&M), including a full slate of Niagara's Best on the cheap. Waitress/tender was happy to give us half-pint samples of some of the new ones, and was patient as we debated our next selection. At least half of the lines were ones I hadn't had before, which is my definition of a good pub. Tried Delirium Tremens for the first time. Wasn't hungry though, so no food this time.
Great beer selection, great atmosphere. I'll definitely make a point of coming back whenever I'm in town, as should you!
03-15-2010 00:46:13 |
More by JohnnyBarman
More User Reviews:
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
Came in looking for a pint. Lots of beer imagery in what appears to be a bar coverted from a house long ago. Has a local small time vibe. Lots of Ontario micro brewery taps, no bottles. Interesting brews from Flying Monkeys, Grand River, McAuslan and more. Had a Belgian Pale in Delirium Tremens poured into proper glassware, reasonable price. Friendly and chatty staff at a very slow mid day bar stool. Cool place I'd attend semi regularly if I lived nearby. Olde time and historied feel, a good spot to drop in for an interesting tap opportunity and move on.
04-03-2011 05:20:51 |
More by heebes
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2.5 | $$
Passing through Hamilton on a business trip and found this place on BA with good reviews. I was looking forward to trying some local craft beer that I can't get in the US. The atmosphere is absolutely perfect. I can't imagine a nicer place to enjoy a fine beer. Very old and "pubby."
Unfortunately, it seemed difficult to get a fine beer at this bar. I was very disappointed in the quality of most of the beer I sampled. They have a lot of taps but nothing I tasted was very good. And the staff could not help at all. The best they could do was offer me a taste. They couldn't even tell me the beer style let alone anything about the brewery (although they were quick to tell me that everything on tap was brewed "locally"). The fellow patrons tried to help by telling me their favorites but the staff was very poorly trained.
I wouldn't go out of my way to go back to this place. Ever.
04-02-2011 15:25:03 |
More by ritter57
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Second stop on a recent trip to Cambridge, Hamilton, and Niagara Falls with mrmanning. As soon as you walk inside you can tell that this place is a beer geek's beer bar. Micro brew memorabilia lines most of the walls downstairs and various craft bottles hover over the bar area.
At the time of our visit there were 20 taps, including Taps Baltic Shipwreck Imperial Stout and Chuck Norris Roundhouse IPA, Kawartha Lakes Pale Ale, Nickelbrook Pumpkin Ale, Mill Street ESB, Flying Monkeys Smash Bomb Atomic IPA, Grand River Plowman's Ale, and Beau's Lug Tread. I tried all of these beers and was glad to find four brews that I hadn't sampled before. Len and I weren't too concerned that the cask wasn't flowing when we came because the large draught selection more than made up for it.
Service was friendly enough as Mary (co-owner) and Winger (bartender) were happy to chat with us, though for much of the time we had to go to the bar to order our beers. So table service was basically non-existent, except for when Mary brought us some complimentary chips (thanks again!). Having said that, the owner had no problem mailing my license to me when I left it at the bar on our second session here, so the service gets a "4" in my books.
Didn't try the food but I hear their wings are solid, and we noticed the regulars making their own snacks in the kitchen to enjoy with the Super Bowl game upstairs. Clearly they appreciate their faithful customers.
Overall, this was the best spot that we came across on our trip. The Judge is quite obviously dedicated to supporting local and regional craft beer and its huge micro tap lineup and real ale engine reflect that commitment. One of the top 5 beer bars in the province, if you ask me.
02-17-2011 23:42:16 |
More by cratez
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Read about this place on BA. A quaint little oasis just outside of an otherwise struggling downtown Hamilton (which hopefully will change over time).
The Winking Judge has an amazing selection, knowledgable pourers and servers, a laid back feel, warm ambiance and very happy patrons. Groovin' background music. I had a vegan soup that took the chill out and complemented my IPA. A pure good experience and a place where everyone was smiling.
My only real critique is that most of the menu items are typical fried pub food fare. The soups suggests a greater potential. The beers are worthy of healthier more creative fare.
My new home away from home. Amen.
01-30-2011 19:09:13 |
More by MartyPuch
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
I finally got a chance to visit the winking judge for the first time, and I will say for the most part the experience was positive. Lots of craft beer bottles and advertisements both new and old which has a certain charm. However there is a serious need for some dusting to be done. I also got a bit of a "bar for regulars" kind of feel, as the bar was neigh unreachable due to crowding and the selection of boardgames I noticed on a nearby table.
Anyways, lots of emphasis on getting you a proper pour as the bartender made very certain to remove any excess head on all of our offerings. Service was prompt and courteous which is another bonus and had no problems serving us at the back patio or keeping track of us when we came inside due to the rain.
Lots of selection as there were too many taps that I could readily count. Sadly no wheat beers on tap, which was a disappointment. The food was good, and not that expensive, given the portion size. I had the Bison Burger with sweet potato fries. I would not call the menu expansive though, by any stretch of the imagination.
All in all, I would probably go back again, but I'd probably save it for a late summer day and make use of the patio. I can see this bar being a bit too cozy in the winter. Thumbs up.
04-04-2010 06:01:48 |
More by TheHammer
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
This is a big and old Hamilton house that has been converted, quite successfully, into a bar, giving it a real homey feel. Hundreds of beer bottles run along the top part of the wall, creating a wallpaper-like effect, and beer posters and ads, both old and new, are at every corner. Once being a house, the space was somewhat small, and this was only furthered by the upstairs being rented out for a party. We still had no trouble getting seats.
The lone bartender was very nice, approachable, and knowledgeable, giving me a bit of information on each beer I had. With the innumerable amount of bottles of craft beer that span across the globe filling the house, I was a bit disappointed to find out they had no bottle selection, but that quickly became apparent that that didn't matter with about 14 taps of solid Canadian micros on deck. They also have a cask engine, which unfortunately wasn't running at the time (I could'nt expect it to since it was a Sunday before a holiday). I didn't order the food, but seemed like standard pub fare from what others were eating around me.
If you're in town, this is the place to go for Canadian micros. It borders the reasonable to a bit pricey side, but it's all worth it in the end. Two thumbs up. I'm proud to have a bar like this in Hamilton.
02-15-2010 18:19:14 |
More by ludachris
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
This place simply kicks butt. The staff know what they are talking about, and are quick to offer a drink, and great conversation. The regulars are all friendly as well. Atmosphere is very pub-ish and comfortable. TV is upstairs for those inclined. Food is pub fare, but the must try is the wings and the bison burger. I have never seen so many micros in one place. Absolutely my favourite place to have a beer. Now that I have moved away from Hamilton, it is a must stop for me when I am back in the area.
07-29-2009 14:31:54 |
More by mrmanning
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
This is an old house converted into a pub a block from james street in Hamilton. Very nice decor, homey, with a great patio in the front and back. Lots of old beer bottles adorn the walls.
Quality here is pretty high, no macros at all. HEavily Canadian microbreweries are on tap, about 15 or so I'd say, and one cask. The cask to me was nowhere close to what you'd find in the UK but still very good.
Great service and friendly staff. The prices are reasonable for food and a little pricey for the beer. I paid $7 a pint for a west coast IPA from church key..it was worth every penny
07-24-2009 18:01:24 |
More by EatsTacos
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | $$
There are at most 12 active lines here, a good selection for anywhere in the province. Just off downown, parking available, but food is 30 minutes delay. A decent selection with Ontario being well-represened. Bill the owner holds court and the place is full at night, not so much mid-day. Reasonable enough environment. If you are in hamilton, this is the place to spend any time for beer. The tap system is true mix with 60% notrogen. Bill knows beer and is in-your-face humour. Would love more taps and a couple of casks, and not 60% nitro which definately affects taste.
05-12-2008 21:36:06 |
More by northyorksammy
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Augusta's Winking Judge in Hamilton, ON, Canada