Good pubs in Ottawa?
February 16, 2010 10:29 AM   Subscribe

Can you recommend a pub near the Parliament buildings in Ottawa?

My three friends and I (all in our late 30s) are going to Ottawa this Thursday and are looking for a good pub where we can watch the Olympics or just hang out. Anyone have a favorite? We are staying near the Parliament buildings (downtown?).
posted by jmmpangaea to Travel & Transportation around Ottawa, ON (14 answers total)
I suppose D'Arcy McGee's will be a standard recommendation.
posted by onshi at 10:33 AM on February 16, 2010

Do you have a particular political affiliation? Brixton's British Pub (Bank & Sparks) is where NDPers hang out, D'Arcy McGee's (Sparks & Elgin) used to be Liberal, has leaned more Conservative since 2006, with sporadic attempts by Libs to take it back. Both are perfectly decent pubs.

Elephant and Castle (Rideau & Sussex, bottom of the Rideau Mall) is a british pub with decent food. My personal favourite is Sir John A Pub, but that's fairly far south on Elgin (at Maclaren). More touristy, but amazing location at Sparks/Wellington & Metcalfe is Parliament Pub.

I know Elephant and Sir John A have tvs which will probably be on the olympics, but you'll have to check the rest. Have fun and feel free to message me if you want any more Ottawa suggestions.
posted by Anali at 10:48 AM on February 16, 2010

I don't know if the Parliament Pub has TVs, does it? The location is definitely good (you can see the Parliament buildings across the street!), but perhaps call ahead to ask about the TV issue.

There's also the Earl of Sussex, on, um, Sussex.

Clocktower in the Byward Market has good food, good beer (which they make themselves at onsite at another of their Brewpubs) and good TVs. They also have 1/2 priced appetizers before... 7pm, I think (including good nachos).
posted by urbanlenny at 10:56 AM on February 16, 2010

Just a note, the Elephant and Castle in the Rideau Centre is closed.
posted by aclevername at 11:21 AM on February 16, 2010

I recommend venturing farther than Sparks Street, which is too touristy. Maclaren's at Elgin and MacLaren (across the street from the excellent Sir John A) has a plethora of big screen tvs and decent food, but it's not so pubby. The Fox and Feather is also on the same corner and was a great place to watch the Stanley Cup playoffs a few years ago. It depends which downtown hotel you're in, but this area is no more than a 15-minute walk from the furthest, or a cheap cab ride.

The Lieutenat's Pump at Elgin and Frank might be a good choice, though it can be a bit crowded, and the Manx Pub across the street is great for food and beer, though probably not for tv.

I haven't been in the James Street Pub (Bank and James Street) since they renovated, but it used to be a good place to watch sports, though the food sucked. The "Dirty Oak" (Royal Oak on the sign) at Bank and Maclaren is an institution with interesting characters to see. There are other Royal Oaks (Bank and Gloucester, Bank and Third in the Glebe, for example), but they have a less colourful vibe to them.
posted by cardboard at 11:26 AM on February 16, 2010

As a tourist hanging out (but not Olympic-watching) I would take the wee hike down Elgin (you'd have maybe a 15 minute walk from the Hill?) and hit the Manx, which is a bit more "And then we found this great little place" neat-find sort of deal.

D'Arcy McGee's has crap food (no other objections though) and yes, the E&C is boarded up. On preview, Lieutenant's is or was student-y, good fried zucchini; "Dirty Oak" fun but, well, dirty.
posted by kmennie at 11:35 AM on February 16, 2010

My fiancee lived in Ottawa last year, and fell in love with the Manx pub, that cardboard mentioned. No tvs that I can recall, but great food and lots of good stuff on draught.

If all else fails, walk around the market and pop into wherever looks interesting.
posted by dnesan at 11:36 AM on February 16, 2010

Yup, the Manx is awesome, but there are definitely no TVs there, not even after their recent renovation. There are, however, lots at the Lieutenant's Pump, and usually one can find a seat in there somewhere in the maze with a good view of a TV.
posted by urbanlenny at 11:39 AM on February 16, 2010

Elephant and Castle in the Rideau Centre is closed.

Try calling Maclaren's, Atomic Rooster, The Fox and Feather and Parliament Pub to see if they'll have the Olympics on.

D'Arcy McGees is great but I'm not sure if they'll have the Olympics playing. Try the Standard Luxury Tavern on Elgin too. If you do decide to end up on Elgin Street, eat at the Manx then go somewhere nearby for the tv watching. Manx food is the bomb.
posted by KathyK at 11:39 AM on February 16, 2010

I enjoy both the Highlander Pub, in the market, and the Atomic Rooster on Bank street, though I'm not sure either are excellent for watching TV. Slim pickings at that end of town, really.
posted by danwalker at 11:41 AM on February 16, 2010

Thirding Manx for hanging out, but not for tv.
posted by kch at 11:42 AM on February 16, 2010

These are all excellent. Thanks a lot.
posted by jmmpangaea at 11:54 AM on February 16, 2010

Please don't judge Ottawa by the weird high rise wasteland just south of Parliament. You need to go to Elgin or the Byward Market to find a good variety of bars and pubs. Not being a sports watcher I can't recommend somewhere specific most of my favorites are favorites because of their lack of obtrusive sports.

Byward market can be a bit touristy swinging toward the lounge bar or pub/dancey student weekend place, but you should have trouble finding a place to watch sports. Also if you are in Ottawa, you should at least visit the Market.

Elgin st may be easier to manage, since it is a straight line and their are lots of options.

Bank St has a couple good places the Royal Oak near Laurier, Atomic Rooster or Conner's, but the street is just more desolate in general.
posted by Gor-ella at 12:27 PM on February 16, 2010

Seconding Gor-ella - if you insist on staying north of Somerset then the bars around Parliament are fine, but the better places are all south of there on Elgin. Well worth the walk down.

Sad news about E&C, had some good times with the British embassy people there. They must be devastated.
posted by Anali at 7:10 PM on February 16, 2010

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