Published Sep 12, 2013In our annual Hangout Handbook, Exclaim! asks some of our favourite artists to discuss the hidden gems in their hometowns. Here, the Arkells' Max Kerman outlines his picks in Hamilton, Ontario.
Bonanza Bakery (100 Murray St. East)
This little gem is packed with lawyers in suits, construction workers and school kids lined up for freshly made hot/cold sandwiches. A large grilled chicken sandwich on a fresh bun with sauteed onions, peppers and tomato sauce is five dollars. It's incredible. Our rehearsal space is a few blocks away. We eat there a lot.
My Dog Joe / Mulberry Street Coffee House (1020 King St. West / 193 James St. North)
When My Dog Joe opened in Westdale five years ago, no one expected it to compete with the Second Cup a block over. It's done so well that the owners have opened a second location that now anchors the flourishing James Street North neighbourhood. Specializing in well made food and good vibes, MDJ/MSCH have paved the way for new independent restaurants that are now opening monthly in Hamilton. Hamiltonians like nice things too. (mydogjoe.squarespace.com; www.mulberrystreet.ca)
Sports at McMaster
I played intramural sports as a student and now in the Grad Student's Phoenix Pub Summer Co-ed softball league. There are three baseball diamonds next to the forest, and you'll often see deer beyond the outfield fence. They also also have really great new soccer fields.
Downtown Bike Hounds (19 John St. North)
Run by my friend Sean Burak, a handy dude and an advocate for the pleasures of bicycling. Go into his shop for a tune up, and get his opinion on any city issue. He'll have something insightful (and funny) to tell you. He represents an admirable collective of likeminded believers who've already made a tangible change in this city.
Arkells frontman Max Kerman moved to Hamilton in 2004 to attend McMaster. The band head to the studio this fall to record the follow-up to 2011's Michigan Left.