With its fantastic location on the shores of Kempenfelt Bay and its proximity to Toronto – less than an hour away by car – the city of Barrie is a tourist hotspot in its own right nowadays, and of course the hundreds of thousands of annual visitors need to quench their thirst just as much as the residents of this terrific Simcoe County metropolis. Luckily then, Barrie has a huge number of watering holes to choose from, ranging from uber-trendy craft beer emporiums to outdoor patios with stunning views as well as some of the hottest live music venues around. So here is a taste of some Barrie bars and pubs to visit next time you’re in the city.
Barrie bars and pubs
Looking for just a regular pub, to get some food and some beers? Here are two choices that aren’t too noisy and the food is good.
- Bull & Barrel Pub In business for over 20 years, the Bull & Barrel Pub is an authentic English-style tavern with a classic pub interior complete with a roaring fireplace. The Bull features an impressive selection of both local and imported beers and ales complemented by hearty pub grub fare. On weekends, drop by for live music and weekend specials, but get there early as it’s quite popular.
- The Local Gastro Pub Riffing on the traditional English tavern theme, The Local Gastro Pub offers a high-end twist on ‘pub grub’ classics such as fish and chips or curry of the week, while serving some excellent local craft ales on tap. Throw in beer tasting events, bar games, plus a location right next to Barrie’s waterfront for a post-pub stroll and the Local Gastro ticks all the boxes.
- Honourable mentions: Donaleigh’s, Mcreilly’s Pub, and Kenzington Burger Bar are also in the downtown area and are pretty solid choices for a pub night.
Live Music and Entertainment
Barrie has a few places offering live music and stand-up shows. Up until the early ’00, Yuk Yuks Comedy had a club in the Mansion Bar downtown, while that’s long gone, there are still two solid choices.
- Donaleigh’s Irish Public House a traditional Irish pub, Donaleigh’s can be found in the historic Five Corners area of the city and boasts live music, great food, two outdoor patios and the warm hospitality you’ve come to expect from this type of venue. All this and Heritage Park and Barrie’s marina are just a stone’s throw away.
- The Foxx Lounge – or to give its full title, The Foxx Lounge Rock Bar & Hotdoggery – is one of a host of entertainment venues crammed into downtown’s Dunlop Street East, and it manages to do everything under one roof. With the closing of Yuk Yuks a few years ago, we give you the Foxx. At The Foxx you will find ‘Laffy Taffy’ stand-up comedy nights, brilliant music from local musicians, tasty homemade food and, in their words, ‘kick-ass hotdogs’. Fun, welcoming and relaxed, the Foxx is just the ticket for a night out with friends or a loved one.
Barrie’s Downtown Brewery
- Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery Another Dunlop Street East establishment near the shores of Kempenfelt Bay, the Flying Monkeys’ motto is ‘Normal is Weird,’ and this brilliant spot goes out of its way to prove it. Brewing award-winning beers in Barrie since 2004, the Flying Monkeys Tap Room reflects the Brewery’s culture with eclectic décor, enthusiastic staff, live local music, and a cool atmosphere that will make you want to return again and again.
Sports Bars and Pool Halls
- The Locker Room Out in the suburbs in the middle of a small shopping plaza but worth the short trip, the Locker Room Sports Bar and Grill is an unfussy but enjoyable venue with no airs or graces. What it does deliver, though, is plenty of beer – there are eighteen drafts on tap – and lots of filling food, including ‘Barrie’s Best Chicken Wings’, as well as a host of televisions blaring sports around the bar, plus – and this should be a clincher for anyone – free fresh popcorn for its patrons. For the latter alone, The Locker Room is not to be missed!
- The Penalty Box Described by its new owners – it changed hands in 2017 – as ‘Barrie’s finest sports bar’, The Penalty Box can be found a mile south of the waterfront and is an ideal spot for get-togethers with family and friends. Its large interior coupled with a whole host of flat-screen TVs showing the latest games means a great night out is in the offing for those willing to drive out to the plaza it is situated in, while live music, karaoke nights, lots of food choices and a large patio only add to the draw of this venerable city watering hole.
- Alliance Billiards Old school and proud of it, Alliance Billiards is a little out of the way on a business plaza in the city’s north end, but for unreconstructed pool hall vibes, it is hard to beat. Simple décor, plenty of tables to rack and play, plus great food, drinks and service make Alliance Billiards an excellent, no-frills place to spend an evening with friends. Occasional live music, dart boards, themed nights and a colossal ten feet square projector screen showing all the sports events mean a fun time is guaranteed here.
If these aren’t to your tastes, there’s also currently 4 St. Louis Bar and Grills in the Barrie area. If you’re staying at the Best Western, Quality Inn or Monte Carlo Inn near Hyw 400, Tiff’s Restaurant & Sports Bar is a 5-minute walk east of them.
Barrie Patio Bars
- Hooligans Yet another Dunlop Street East haunt, Hooligans outdoes most of the competition in the downtown area with its rooftop patio that affords patrons a spectacular view of Kempenfelt Bay – not to mention the city itself – that is simply unmissable. Inside is all about the fun, with the bar’s motto of ‘Eat, Drink, Cheer’ followed to the letter by visitors and staff alike – there is much to enjoy here, with the sports bar offering a twenty-foot high HD TV for all the games, varied menus across lunch, dinner and the rooftop area, a fine selection of beers, wines and cocktails, plus, of course, that patio with its staggering views.
- Honourable mentions: Donaleigh’s, Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery, Mcreilly’s Pub, and Kenzington Burger Bar are known for their patios too.
Guys Night Out
Our list would be incomplete without mentioning Lakeside Upper Deck, Barrie’s newest LGBT bar, and of course, Crossover’s Entertainment Lounge, Barrie’s last remaining strip club, after Silver Star and Misty’s Cafe (“Non-Stop Adult Entertainment”) stopped a few years ago. Apparently, the food is good.
Next time you’re up in Barrie looking for a new watering hole, try out some of these Barrie bars and pubs, you might become a regular.