By Ken Hirter
This month’s Walkabout finds me at “This Ain’t Hollywood” bar & tavern serving Hamilton & Hamilton’s North End since the horse drawn buggy days of 1893. Formerly known as the infamous McKenzie House, since 2009 as the “This Ain’t Hollywood” has everything from yesteryear’s punk rock days to today as simply a good, honky, tonk, funky “Rock & Roll” retro rewind bar with miles of heart.
It was where l chatted with the wonderful bartender Kathy Stokes who has been tending bar since it’s orgins prior to becoming “This Ain’t Hollywood” in 2009.
The owners Glen Faulman (Hamilton kid) who is a Hamilton history buff & collector of treasure troves & steeltown artifacts, evidenced by the collection of nostalgia, along with co-owner Lou Molinaro have created a place where the past meets the present.
Home to performing and Hamilton’s own “Teenage Head” a Canadian punk rocker band formed in 1977 to present and hence a homage to another punk & garage band the: “Forgotten Rebel” 1975 – present who’s self-titled album, This Ain’t Hollywood was released in 1981 and became the name of this Rock & Roll establishment.
I did have the pleasure to have recently attended a concert on November 09th 2019 with another Canadian punk/ new wave icon first performing with “Rough Trade” it’s lead singer the Fabulous Miss Carole Pope still performing at the age of 73. The audience in attendance varied from young adults to the baby boomers. ALL ARE WELCOME!!!
Speaking with Kathy it is so evident of how much this bar has given back to the Community throughout the calendar year & especially around Christmas. Food drives collect donations that provide for the Food Share program & the Grub Club program at the Bennetto School, Compass Community Health Center. Clothing and essentials are collected and donated to the local Women’s shelters too.
I asked Kathy the Motto for the bar:
“This Ain’t Hollywood” & every day is a different day. The calendar of daily events throughout the week includes:
Monday: Kiwanis Bingo & 50/50 draw at 7pm and the “Do Wop Diner” & “Rock & Roll bar “Open Fire” from: 8pm – 10pm (Donations to Food Share)
Tuesday: Choir, choir, choir from: 8pm – 10pm. (open to all)
Wednesday: Open mic jam in the afternoon’s from: 2.30pm – 5.30pm (open to all)
Thursday: Collective Arts and Crafternoon’s Punky, Crafty Happy hour from: 4pm – 7pm.
Friday: Balloons from 4pm to 6.30pm (half of the proceeds and 50/50 draw and donations to the Grub club.)
Saturday: it’s music, music & party from the local (new talent & emerging artists to the old staples & group’s of artists still performing and playing venues today)
Sunday: “All Punk Night” (last Sunday of each month)
For more information please visit their website thisainthollywood.ca or pop in for a beverage or pint at 345 James Street North where they have been serving Hamilton’s North End & Hamilton since 1893.
Thanks Kathy for taking the time to chat about this cool, retrospective feel good bar with plenty of heart where you’ll find the best live music venues and something for everyone.
Till next month, take care of you and those around you. Cheers!