Constant State of Flux – How Downtown Businesses are Adapting to Doing Business During a Pandemic

Part 23

The Return of Nightlife

Inside View of Zen Lounge

Since the onset of COVID-19 and the resulting restrictions, it seems we have been awaiting  ‘the return to normal’. Although we may not be completely back to pre-COVID times, with restrictions scaled back nightlife has now returned with precautions in place.

Sankofa, found at 92 Jackson Street East, in addition to serving lunch and dinner is open late with daily drink specials and bottle service available. They have lots of room on their outdoor patio to enjoy the warm weather and DJs to celebrate the weekend. Follow their Sankofa Social Instagram here for the latest updates.

Just across the street at 69 John Street South you can find Zen Lounge. Zen has worked their way through each lockdown and continue to provide you with a safe way to spend a night out after being cooped up at home for so long. Open Fridays and Saturdays from 6pm to 2am, you can reserve your table ahead online or give them a call at 905 962 9696. Food, cocktails, music and hookah all await in this chic downtown lounge. Check out their Instagram here to see more.

Absinthe Hamilton, found at 38 King William St., is your local late-night music venue featuring a range of different shows and themed nights. Open Wednesday to Sunday 6pm to 2am, Absinthe hosts everything from Emo & Pop Punk themed nights to their long famous Motown Wednesdays. Absinthe also regularly welcomes Adam and Steve events and parties which aim to carve out safer spaces for the queer and LGBTQI2+ community. This Friday, September 3rd is 90s Night with DJ Party Jesus featuring free admission, drink specials, and all the 90’s music you can dance to. With an outdoor patio in addition to their indoor space, Absinthe is a great option for a night out.

Club 77 and Dirty Dog Saloon, both at the corner of King William St. and Catharine St. North, have been shuttered throughout COVID-19 restrictions but are now ready to welcome you back once again. Dirty Dog Saloon reopened for Saturdays in August and advanced tickets are now on sale for Frosh Fest at Club 77 from September 2nd to 4th. Find their full calendar of events for the next few months online here.

Finally, if you are looking for more of a participatory experience on your night out, Escape Manor at 103 King St. East has you covered. This immersive entertainment lounge offers axe throwing and escape rooms, they even offer online experiences you can do from the comfort of home. Escape Manor also has an outdoor patio or indoor lounge space featuring custom cocktails, local craft beer, and great food you can enjoy after your activities or just for a good meal.

While nightlife has returned in some capacity, restrictions and COVID-19 protocols are still required in all venues so please be respectful of staff and other visitors by following the rules set in place. Our businesses continue to do their best to adjust to reopening and we are so happy to welcome everyone back downtown again, especially for a fun night out!

If you are a Downtown Hamilton BIA member business and would like to share your experiences during COVID-19 please email Suzi Ozer at



The Downtown Update is the e-newsletter sent by the Downtown Hamilton Business Improvement Area to keep both members of the BIA and interested supporters of Downtown up-to-date with activities and issues in the core of our community.