​The Watering Holes of Waterloo

​The Watering Holes of Waterloo in Travel Tuesday

Having relocated temporarily to Kitchener-Waterloo for my studies, I was curious to experience everything the region had to offer (including the KW Oktoberfest, the second-largest in the world! Now that’s something to experience, not read about…) While my schedule kept me close to campus, on occasion I would flee back to the ‘real world’. Here are some favourite spots that became my escape.

The Duke of Wellington

The Duke can be a little confusing to find, crouching on the edge of the Waterloo Town Square (indeed, one gets the sense that patrons like it hidden), but drift on down those stairs to discover a cozy British cavern, featuring more than 20 beers on tap and live music every weekend…two things I treasure! . Inside, the vibe feels steeped in history, exactly as it looks. I enjoyed several Saturday nights here, finding the crowd warm and always ready to party. Get on down for classic pub grub and a guaranteed good time.

Huether Hotel

Try pronouncing the name of this pub when you’re new to town! (Locals call it ‘Hoo-ther’ but it’s ‘Hoo-ta’ if you want to try the German way). Huether easily featured my favourite patio for soaking in the sun on warm fall evenings when one wants to pretend that summer is still going strong. For cooler months, a myriad of pool tables, pinball machines and a foosball table await inside. The building is fabulous, spanning three floors, and housing a separate cafe and bar on the ground floor. Complete a ‘pub-crawl’ on site!

Ethel’s Lounge

Early on, Ethel’s retro exterior (and neon-by-night cocktail sign) caught my eye. Being the fan I am of gritty watering holes, Ethel’s did not disappoint. The bar’s patrons range in age from hipsters to ‘sore hips’. With the creative paraphernalia—including an eclectic collection of bumper stickers, a Charlie’s Angels pinball machine, and walls adorned with classic concert posters—even if dining alone, there is more than enough ‘wall-candy’ to keep you entertained.

Muya Restaurant

Taking a break from beer, we’re also taking a side trip to Kitchener to experience the Muya Café Restaurant. Located in an unassuming strip mall, a world of exotic colours and flavours awaits. It was my first time trying Ethiopian food and an experience not easily forgotten! I was particularly curious about “Injera”, the bread base used to scoop up the delicious shareables. Quite unlike anything I’ve tasted! The spicy vegetarian and stewed meat goodness will have you licking your plate.


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Tina Barton is the CFIB/Scotiabank 2019 Public Policy and Entrepreneurship Intern in the Ottawa/National office. Tina is completing her Master’s degree in Economic Development and Innovation with the University of Waterloo. She is interested in research and policy related to community economic development, sustainable urban planning, and making the economy work for the environment. Prior to her Master’s degree, Tina had a career in journalism, marketing, and community engagement.