It doesn’t matter if you’re a University student, young working professional, or are a bit older: there’s no shortage of places to grab a drink in Guelph!
And, after living in this city for more than five years and completing my undergrad here, I’d like to think I know my fair share about Guelph bars and pubs.
So, if you want to go out with friends for a night on the town or catch up over a pint, this list of the best Guelph bars and pubs is for you.
Let’s get to it!
The Best Bars In Guelph
There are a lot of Guelph bars, ranging from more upscale and shique cocktail bars to artsy bars that feel very fitting for the city.
But it doesn’t matter if you’re craving beer, cocktails, or something else: this list of the best Guelph bars has you covered if you’re trying to find some fun things to do in Guelph!
1. Royal Electric
Royal Electric is one of my favorite bars in Guelph because it has a great atmosphere, awesome drinks, and incredible food.
Located in the bustling downtown core, Royal Electric is the perfect place to grab lunch and a delicious beer from the ever-rotating tap lineup.
Alternatively, Royal Electric is also a great first-date spot or place to get cocktails and beers with friends later at night.
On Fridays and Saturdays, Royal Electric even turns into a bit of a nightclub, and people start dancing around 10:00pm. Overall, the flexibility of the joint is pretty cool, and there’s always something new to drink on the menu.
Plus, Royal Electric also has tasty appetizers and great entrees. The fried chicken sandwich is particularly great, so I recommend trying that one!
- Address: 52 Macdonell Street.
- Best For: Sour beers, chicken sandwiches, and a fun Saturday night vibe.
2. Gin Mill
If you’re a gin fan, Gin Mill is one of the best bars in Guelph, which shouldn’t come as a surprise!
This stylish bar has a really awesome, laid back vibe and plenty of drinks for you to try!
Gin Mill actually makes their own in-house syrup-infused gins, and you can get a flight to try several flavors in a night!
Gin Mill also has delicious food and a nice charcuterie platter to share, as well as decent appetizers and other shareables.
You can try other cocktails or grab a beer as well, but gin is really where this Guelph bar shines.
Plus, there’s even a speakeasy downstairs, which is an awesome Guelph attraction in my book! If you want a bit of a prohibition-era theme, follow Gin Mill on social media and look for the secret code to get into the speakeasy!
- Address: 107 Wyndham Street North.
- Best For: Gin cocktails and a speakeasy.
3. Sip Club
In my opinion, Sip Club has some of the best cocktails in Guelph, so it’s the perfect place to go if you’re feeling like a more relaxed night and some solid drinks.
There’s also a really nice back patio with some hanging lights, and overall, Sip Club just feels like a warm and inviting bar where you can meet up with a few friends and relax.
I went to Sip Club once for trivia night as well, which was run on Tuesdays at the time. That was a pretty fun night, and Sip Club is located right downtown like a lot of other Guelph bars, so you can always add it to a pub crawl agenda or go do something else in the area when you’re done with your drinks.
- Address: 91 Wyndham Street North.
- Best For: Nice cocktails after work or to start a night out.
4. Jimmy Jazz
I used to think Jimmy Jazz was a bit of a sketchy place, but this Guelph bar is actually a hoot!
Situated right next to Royal Electric, Jimmy Jazz is another divey-bar where you can find some cheaper beers, mixed drinks, and have a fun night out with friends.
There are also pool tables for you to enjoy, and Jimmy Jazz also runs events like karaoke nights that are very popular with students and younger locals.
Overall, Jimmy Jazz feels like it attracts an interesting crowd, and my friends and I definitely spent a lot of time there as we went through school.
If you’re looking for a bit of a grungier feel versus some other Guelph bars and want to play some pool, go to Jimmy Jazz!
- Address: 52 Macdonell Street.
- Best For: Pool and some cheap beer.
5. Western Hotel
It wouldn’t be a fair list of the best bars in Guelph without adding a little country to the mix.
Western Burgers and Steaks calls itself a “modern day saloon,” and the decor certainly matches that description.
The interior is very welcoming with long wooden tables, booths, and a lot of exposed brick walls. Your servers wear cowboy-style attire, which sometimes includes a cowboy hat, and the overall vibe is, well, quite Western!
Western is great for having some beers with friends, and they also have stellar burgers, ribs, and steak. Again, if you’re thinking country, this is the best Guelph bar for you.
Western is also fun to go out if you’re looking for some late night partying. With country music and the chance to ride the mechanical bull, Western definitely makes having a fun night quite easy.
- Address: 72 Macdonell Street.
- Best For: Country nights and riding the mechanical bull.
If I had a dollar for every night I spent in Pablo’s, I’d have a lot of dollars.
Pablo’s is one of my favorite Guelph bars, and I also think it’s an iconic one at that.
This dive bar is full of arcade games like basketball, Pin Ball, Deer Hunter, and other arcade classics. It also sells cheap beer and mixed drinks, and it’s been a classic Guelph bar for students and locals alike for ages.
Pablos’ used to be attached to a bar called Doogie’s, which played live music, and the two bars actually connected inside so you could bounce between venues.
Doogies is out of business sadly and will be missed, but that doesn’t remove Pablo’s spot as being one of the best Guelph bars around.
- Best For:
7. The Albion Hotel
The Albion Hotel actually has a fascinating history. In fact, the hotel was constructed in the mid 19th century, so it’s old and antiquated look makes it an interesting venue in and of itself.
The place is also allegedly haunted and was even frequented by legendary gangster Al Capone; talk about some serious history!
But ghost stories and gangster aside, The Albion Hotel is one of the best restaurants and bars in Guelph. With upscale pub food and great cocktails, it’s a tasty albeit slightly pricier Guelph restaurant I recommend trying at least once.
Albion Hotel also runs a funk night on Saturdays, so this is a classic Guelph bar to check out if you’re a student or looking to dance to some classics. The crowd at The Albion is a bit older, so it’s great for working professionals as well!
- Address: 49 Norfolk Street.
- Best For: Funk Nights on Saturday.
8. NV Kitchen & Bar
NV Kitchen & Bar is one of the newer bars in Guelph, but it’s quickly become a favorite for locals and students alike.
With delicious pizzas, great cocktails, and a mixture of local and various craft beers, it’s an all-around great spot to grab a bite and drinks with a friend or date.
I’ve been to NV a few times, and I like the outdoor patio since it has a very nice vibe and there’s some fire heater thingies that keep you warm on chilly evenings.
And, since it’s right downtown, you can always start your night at NV Kitchen & Bar and then go to another Guelph bar where things are a bit rowdier.
- Address: 16 Wyndham Street North.
- Best For: Great cocktails and good pizza.
The Best Pubs In Guelph
Many of the top Guelph bars have decent food, so it’s not like you’re out of dining options on that front.
But sometimes, it’s nice to go to a classic pub and enjoy some real hearty meals and a variety of beers rather than going to a bar. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of pubs in Guelph to choose from!
1. McCabe’s Irish Pub & Grill
McCabe’s Irish Pub & Grill is undeniably one of the best pubs in Guelph if you’re a student. With a large outdoor patio and classic pub interior, it’s generally a rowdier place full of students from Thursday to Saturday night.
Really, McCabe’s doesn’t do anything remarkable. The food is decent, there’s lots of cheap beers, and you can even go there for trivia nights or karaoke nights.
But it’s just such a Guelph classic and where you inevitably end up a lot of the time, so it’s easy to make some good memories!
- Address: 9 Wyndham Street North.
- Best For: Getting pitches and pub food with friends.
2. The Wooly Pub
If you’re looking for some truly tasty food and a nice selection of beers, The Wooly Pub is another Guelph Pub you need to check out.
The Wooly is actually owned by a company that runs two other fantastic Guelph restaurants: Borealis and Majida. I highly recommend checking out all three joints, but in terms of pub food and drink, The Wooly is for you.
There’s a heated outdoor patio which is nice during the winter, and the interior is quite cozy.
The menu also changes a lot, and you can usually find delicious burgers and tasty appetizers while indulging in a rotating lineup of beers.
- Address: 176 Woolwich Street.
- Best For: Great pub food and local beers.
3. Baker Street Station
Baker Street Station does everything right in terms of pub fare. You have delicious appetizers (including the largest onion rings you’ve ever seen,) British-Indian cuisine fusion, and an insane selection of local, import, and craft beers to choose from.
If you’re looking for a slightly more upscale pub, Baker Street Station is for you. The menu rotates a decent amount, and there’s a cool mix of British, Indian, and Asian influences.
But seriously, please try the Fish and Chips or the onion rings because Baker Street Station makes them the best out of any Guelph pub in my opinion!
- Address: 76 Baker Street.
- Best For: British-inspired pub food and craft beer.
4. The Fat Duck
Somehow, The Fat Duck is the only Guelph pub I haven’t actually been to on this list! But enough of my friends have, especially the ones who lived nearby during school, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about this place.
This gastro pub is right on Kortright and Edinburgh, and it’s a great place to grab a beer or cider.
I’ve heard the pulled pork nachos and burgers are also decent, but of course, you can also go for pub classics like Fish and Chips or a Sunday Roast.
- Address: 210 Kortright Road West.
- Best For: Global-inspired pub food.
5. Bobby O’Brien’s
Bobby O’Brien’s is another classic Guelph Pub that’s a favorite for students and locals.
If you’re a fan of chicken wings, I definitely think Bobby O’Brien’s is one of the best pubs in Guelph. On Thursdays, you get half-price wings all day and $0.29 wings after 8pm; talk about an insane deal!
Bobby’s also has other wing and food deals throughout the week, as well as a weekend rib special.
Beer is reasonably priced, and you can find a selection of cheap domestic beers and some imports.
This is also an awesome venue for events like Saint Patrick’s day, and overall, it’s one of my favorite pubs for catching up with friends or catching a sports game.
- Address: 90 MacDonell Street West.
- Best For: Chicken wing deals and cheap beer.
Frequently asked Questions
1. What Are The Best Guelph Nightclubs?
Guelph doesn’t really have night clubs like you’ll find in Toronto with thousands of people, massive dance floors, and insane DJ sets.
But Guelph nightclubs exist, although they’re mostly popular for students and younger working professionals.
First-year and other young students usually stick to Trappers and Palace, two greasy albeit classic Guelph clubs.
For a slightly older crowd, you can checkout Onyx, located right downtown. But keep in mind, Guelph bars like Royal Electric also have people dancing on the weekend, so you have lots of options!
2. What’s The Best Guelph Student Bar?
In my opinion, the most popular Guelph bar for students is Franks.
It’s just a classic for dollar beers or having some pitchers with friends during the week or weekend. And, there’s often a DJ and plenty of dancing!
Trappers and Palace are also options as mentioned, but again, I think it’s kinda weird to go there after third year (not that I haven’t once in a while!)
3. What’s The Best Guelph Bar For Older Crowds?
I think Royal Electric and Sip Club are the two best Guelph bars for slightly older crowds. You can also go to Albion on Funk Night for a bit of an older crowd as well.
I hope this list of the best Guelph bars and pubs helps you plan the perfect night out!
Honestly, Guelph is an awesome town to go out in, and there’s plenty of fun lunch and dinner spots that are great for grabbing drinks.
If there’s a Guelph pub or bar that didn’t make this list but should have, let me know down in the comments as well!