FOOD AND DRINK
Where to Grab a Great Brew in the Capital
There’s no shortage of craft beer to sample in Ottawa, with a half-dozen new breweries having launched in the past few years in the region. Increasingly, bars devoted to showcasing both the local bounty and international imports are opening up in the city. Here are a few:
There aren’t many hidden gems left in the Byward market, which has largely morphed from quaint to clubland. There's an exception to be found through the understated entrance to Chez Lucien, a lively and welcoming little pub well-stocked with good craft beer, and a burger that some claim is the best in town. Even without these two things, this bar – full of locals and restaurant industry folk looking for a pint after a long shift – would be worth a visit. With jazz and classic rock filling the charming room, it’s a respite from the often frenetic vibe of the market.
137 Murray Street, 613-241-3533
The Manx Pub
More than simply one of Ottawa’s first bars to offer a great international beer selection (and one of the best), the Manx is also a clubhouse for writers, artists, and other culture vultures. Drinking remains the principal activity for the many who come to sample Canadian craft beers, from breweries such as Kichesippi, Church-Key, Spearhead, and St-Ambroise. A small selection of imports and bottles augments the 18 taps and the bar boasts ample whiskey for the more spirited patrons. Not sold on it yet? Check out the lovable slogan: “Now serving regret-free hangovers.”
370 Elgin Street, 613-231-2070
Brothers Beer Bistro
Ever want to try a Smoked Breakfast Stout? It’s finally a possibility in Ottawa, where the Brothers Beer Bistro is making a name for itself with esoteric beers, cask-conditioned ale, and a first-rate kitchen with a late-night bar menu that offers soft dough pretzels, pickled eggs and duck confit poutine. “Late night” starts pretty early at this clean, modern space: For some reason, it shuts its doors fairly early. It’s well-advised, then, to get there before the wee hours. But this is easy enough to do, given that this Byward Market bar couldn’t be more centrally located.
366 Dalhousie Street, 613-695-6300
“Where the Emerald Isle meets the boot” is the motto of this charming Irish pub/Italian trattoria hybrid in Ottawa’s up-and-coming Little Italy. Enjoy a pizza or Italian sandwich as you get lost in one of the most amazing beer menus this side of Brussels. Owner and long-time Little Italy resident Joe Cotroneo says he got the idea when he got married to an Irishwoman, who presumably introduced him to the concept of pizza washed down with Guinness. Full of kitsch and, of course, beer, this fun bar features a great patio, a special private booth called “the confessional," and the “abbey” upstairs, for maximum beer enjoyment.
434½ Preston Street, 613-232-2326
The Clocktower Brew Pub
No list of Ottawa brewpubs could ever be complete without the Clocktower, whose original location is still thriving on the south end of Centretown, just where it meets the Glebe. Established in 1996, the Clocktower offers five tried-and-true beers – Kölsch, Red, Extra Special Bitter, Raspberry Wheat, and Brown Beer – all of which are quite fine specimens of their styles. It’s an airy and wide-open space with sturdy pub food, such as pierogies, mussels, and nachos. You can catch a glimpse of the on-premise brewery operations through the glass walls. A true original and still one of the city’s best.
575 Bank Street, 613-233-7849