So you and your bros are getting together for a little guys getaway in Niagara. And then the one of you that was all into planning and being organized and stuff bailed to go cottaging with the in-laws and now you’re fresh out of ideas of how to rekindle the magic of your glory days, while still maintaining your adult status. Look no further for your ideal, and life-saving itinerary.
While known for its plentiful wine country (and dangerous bachelorette parties involving bicycles), Niagara is also growing into a hotspot for sampling craft brews. Oast House Brewers and Silversmith Brewing in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Brewing Co. in Niagara Falls and Lock Street Brewing Co. in St.Catharines all have plenty of options to taste unique local beers and throw some back in a classy manner. White Oaks Craft Beer Tours is the most convenient way to be shuttled around and sample at several of the breweries. For fans of spirits, just down the highway is Dillon’s Craft Distillery with their famous gin and don’t miss Canadian whisky giants with the great one’s Wayne Gretzky Estates and Forty Creek
Seeking a little friendly competition, or just the calm of the links? Niagara is packed with great golfing options, whether a casual player or damn near close to pro (or so you think in your head.) Royal Niagara is an excellent starting point, with 27 holes (broken up into 3-9 hole courses) of sculpted fairways and cavernous bunkers. For more options, each playing with its own unique feel, there’s Peninsula Lakes, the scenic, water heavy 27 hole club referred to by many as “The Jewel of Niagara” and there’s the captivating Grand Niagara Golf Club, ranked as tops in the area. If your swing is feeling a little hinky, hit the convenient driving range first… and if you really aren’t feeling it, switch up to a different type of swing at the adjacent batting cages.
A unique feature to Niagara is its topography. Being nestled into the escarpment creates a plethora of protected greenspace, and even better for mountain bikers – hills. Coming to the area for new paths to explore, you’ll quickly fill your schedule with hilly natural areas to shift into whatever gear you’re comfortable with. Highlights include Short Hills Provincial Park, Decew Falls and Ball’s Falls, all great choices, and typically having hiking paths too.
Every guys getaway needs the proper amount of fuel, cuz there’s nothing uglier than a hangry grown man. You can’t take a step in Niagara Falls without seeing a steakhouse, so that’s always an option. Most of the wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake will have some fine dining options with menu items you may never have heard of, but will probably enjoy. But when you’re downright starving and there’s still more evening to get through (or forget), comfort food is the way to go. Smoke’s Poutinerie serves all sorts of variations on the Canadian classic and has locations in St.Catharines and Niagara Falls. If you’re looking to slam some crazy burger creations, there’s The Works and Hambrgr… stack up the patties to your hearts content and don’t skimp on the bacon (or kraft dinner or peanut butter). For a really nice casual atmosphere, The Irish Harp pub in Niagara-on-the-Lake serves up traditional Irish Fare, along with good beer and usually some lilting clap along live music. Play Bar & Grill at White Oaks always has the game on and features local craft beer and a great casual menu you’ll enjoy without ever having to drive or leave the property.
Nights out in Niagara have plenty to offer you and your crew. If you’re a group of “vegas baby vegas” high rollers, then roll on over to the Fallsview Casino or Casino Niagara, and see who’s the most money on the poker table. Both have a regular schedule of big name entertainers as well. Need a sports fix? In the winter it’s all about the OHL’s Niagara Ice Dogs and in the summer check out some hoops action with the Niagara River Lions of the newly formed Canadian Elite Basketball League. Each team plays at the St.Catharines Meridian Centre, which is also known to have some pretty big performers, the likes of Bryan Adams and Jerry Seinfeld. If a concert is more your style, check out the line up at Jackson Triggs amphitheatre this year or the classic rock line up at Artpark, just a quick drive across the border (don’t forget your passports).