Going out frequently can be expensive. Whether you’re trying to stick to a budget, pay off loans, or just live within your means, managing a social life without spending a lot of money can be tough. Managing a romantic life can be even more difficult. It’s the summer now and that calls for a lot of nights out, summer lovin’, and enjoying the few months of the year where it’s light out past 6pm. Here are a few ideas for a night out for two that can be accomplished for under $50.
Step 1: Let’s get you fed
I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that there are many exciting new restaurants and bars opening up in Hamilton. There’s a food boom happening and it’s very exciting. It is also good to remember the old favourites. There are tried-tested-and-true places where you can get a nice meal at a reasonable price. Here are two options that were chosen because the food is consistently good and each restaurant offers some complimentary extras to help stretch your dollar.
Ajio Sushi - Korean & Japanese 161 King St. East
Ajio is an amazing Korean / Japanese restaurant that offers up a lot of tasty dishes at reasonable rates. The service can be a little lacking at times due to how busy the place gets but that’s made up by the consistently great food. As the title suggests they serve pretty good sushi, but the real star of the show is the Korean side of the menu.
- Congee & small salad: complimentary
- Stone Bowl Bibimbob: $10.99
- Sapporo Beer: $5
Total with tax: $ 18.06 + Tip $3 = $21/person
Pho Dau Bo - Vietnamese 3 locations across Hamilton
There are many great Vietnamese restaurants across Hamilton and a lot of them feature similar menu items at similar price points. This example will use Pho Dau Bo because they have a location downtown, on the mountain, and in Stoney Creek.
- Hot or Cold Green Tea: complimentary
- Steamed Rice w/ Grilled Pork Chop & Shredded Pork Skin (#462): $9.25
- Fruit Milkshake: $ 4.50
Total with tax: $15.53 + $2.47 tip = $18/person
Ola Bakery 230 James St. N.
Ola Bakery is loved by many because of their amazing Portuguese desserts, great sandwiches with freshly baked buns and their take out rotisserie chicken or pork.
- Sandwich: $5 Bifana (Gorgeous Pork Cutlet Sandwich), Veggie & Cheese, Prosciutto, Ham, and more.
- Natas - $2 x 2
- Corona - $4
Total with tax: $14.70 + $2.20 tip = $17/person
There are a lot more affordable food options across Hamilton for you to consider. A few other downtown highlights include Little Grasshopper, One Duke, Work, Rebel’s Rock,and Bonanza Bakery (open only during the day for takeout).
Step 2: Drinks
Zylas (299 James St. N) is a great place for live music and affordable food and drinks. While their menu is strong and offers a lot of options at various price points the thing we want to focus on here are their affordable drinks. There are several affordable cocktails and beers but let’s draw your attention to the star of the show $3 cans of PBR. Now, that’s a deal.
Ola Bakery (230 James St. N)
If you’re having dinner or dessert at Ola you can stick around and have a drink - or if you’ve eaten elsewhere and are interested in a cheap drink and/or dessert, consider this widely loved bakery. You can get a refreshing Corona for $4, crack open a cold Budweiser for $3.50, or class it up with a glass of red wine for $4.50.
One Duke (1 Duke St.)
There are some great food options and weekday drink specials that are worth checking out at One Duke. The patio is a great place to hang out in the summer. Worth noting: Bar Rail Doubles $7(Thursdays), Bar Rail Shots $4 (Fridays)
The Thirsty Cactus (2 King St. E, Dundas)
The Thirsty Cactus in Dundas has great food at very reasonable prices. They have various food and drink specials - most notably the Monday drink special: $3.57 pints.
Step 3: Entertainment
Some sort of fun needs to happen for this to be a great cheap date. There are many bars / clubs that have ‘no cover’ on designated nights of the month. These events come and go and it’s worth keeping an eye out on bar/venue social media pages for listings. There are also a lot of great summer events planned for this summer in Hamilton. Lastly, let's not forget about Canada’s big 1-5-0 and the free entertainment that’s being planned in every city across the Country.
Here are a few regular events to keep an eye on. Cheap / No cover:
The Casbah Lounge: nightly DJ sets (no cover)
Jack & Lois: Tuesday night movie screenings (no cover)
Club Absinthe - No Thrills dance party ($2.99 cover)
Doors Pub: Trash Cinema: free screenings of ‘trash’ films monthly (no cover)
Gallaghers: Augusta Street bar with frequent bands / DJs (no cover)
Che Burrito & Lounge: Buggin’ Out Saturdays (no cover, or $5)
Free summer events:
Monthly Art Crawl offers a good mix of free activities including the Raise The Roof concert series at Dr. Disc.
Tall Ships Regatta: June 30th - July 1st
Canada Day Fireworks: July 1st
Tall Ships Live Music: June 30th and July 1st
It’s Your Festival: June 30th - July 2nd.
Songs from The Bishop Concert Series: July 6th,13th, 20th, 27th
Seven Sundays: Select Sundays in July & August
Supercrawl: Sep 8-10th.