Rebel’s Rock 537 King Street East

After braving the elements and crawlin’ through the wind at Art Crawl, Kristin and I made our way over to Rebel’s Rock Irish Pub to get our Irish on!! Having declared March pub month, this marked our first Tour pub stop. We were looking forward to getting a taste of some of Hamilton’s pubs, realizing of course that this was yet another opportunity to attempt some British and Irish accents and maybe even throw some slang into everyday conversation.

While the outside of Rebel’s is unassuming, apart from the rockin’ sign, you know you’re in for a treat the moment you walk in. Rebel’s Rock embodies the look and feel of an authentic Irish pub, from the decor to the Irish music playing in the background. Everywhere you turn, you can spot something that pays an homage to Ireland and creates a homey atmosphere for patrons. Flags sporting the names of sports teams adorned the walls, posters boasting the names of Irish beers, old photographs of well known icons, a neat map of Early Ireland, books detailing the history of Ireland and even a few nautical (NAUTICAL, wooo!) pieces, like wooden boat sculptures, a ship’s wheel and anchor. We also spotted a countdown to St. Patrick’s Day sign, a common sight at bars and pubs. I can only imagine how rockin’ this pub must be like on St. Patty’s Day!

Rebel’s Rock houses an array of domestic, premium and imported beers, including the usual suspects and some we’d never heard of before, like Smithwicks and Hobgoblin. Kristin and I giggled over the name Hobgoblin, trying to imagine what it would look and taste like. We started off with some pints of beer, Kristin went with the classic Guinness while I tried Kilkenny upon my brother Deven’s recommendation. As we sipped our beers, we chatted about Art Crawl, took in our surroundings and perused the menu some more.

We were eager to try the Irish Nachos, which Carly had been raving about. Unfortunately, we were a bit late for those and instead took a look through the late night menu to see if anything took our fancy. Luckily, the menu was considerably smaller, helping us a great deal in combating our notorious indecisiveness. I’m sensing a theme here: braving, battling, combating, with our visit to Rebel’s Rock being our reward. The “Messes” caught mine and Kristin’s eye, both of us intrigued by the name and wondering what on earth a mess was. We learned that it was essentially like a poutine: chips covered with a range of toppings to create literally, a mess. The two of us decided on the Michael Collins Mess, covered in three Irish cheeses.

Our mess arrived and both Kristin and I exchanged a look of nervousness. Would we be able to accomplish such a feat as conquering this grand mess?? Armed with forks, we went for it. It was delicious! Very cheesy and while we used our hands for the most part, the forks certainly came in handy. As we tackled our mess, we were treated to some live, acoustic music. By now, you should know that we are suckers for anything involving live music, and acoustic music, at that. There were a few throwbacks to the 90s and even some covers and mashups including songs like Rihanna’s “Umbrella” and Nelly Furtado’s “I’m Like a Bird.” There were laughs all around and we had fun trying to guess the names of some of the songs, some we recognized, but couldn’t quite put our finger on, resulting in us humming along, looking at each other quizzically and consulting our smartphones.

All in all, this was a fantastic way to end off the night. Rebel’s Rock is a city favourite (in fact, they are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year!) and is certainly the place to go whether you want to grab a pint and take in some live music, or go with friends in great cheer. Kristin and I definitely enjoyed it and can’t wait to go back and get our Irish and fiesta on with the Irish Nachos.

xoxo Avi

Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (, where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing a social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.

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