Eating and drinking in Ottawa, good craft beer edition
December 3, 2016 1:21 PM   Subscribe

I'll be in Ottawa Tuesday - Friday next week, and would like suggestions for a good spot with a decent craft beer selection to hang out with colleagues--preferably near Library & Archives Canada, the Best Western on O'Connor, or somewhere along the way between (but probably willing to wander a bit).

Bonus question: I'll also need to find lunch in kind of a hurry, pretty close to LAC, on Wed-Fri. Would love some ideas for quick food options, because I'm unfamiliar with the area and totally see myself spending my whole lunch break wandering in a fog of indecision.
posted by 1UP to Food & Drink (6 answers total)
Lunch: Good Eats. Hands down, 100% no contest. It's about 3 blocks away, but there's not really much of anything closer anyway.

Can't help with craft beer, sorry.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:36 PM on December 3, 2016

You'll be very near me!

Beer: Mill Street Brew Pub (Toronto beers) OR Bier Markt (very few local craft beers, but a long list of international beers) on Sparks OR Gainsborough Pub (Gatineau side, best of 3 options). Last time I went to Mill Street, I had a bad food experience but have heard rumours that it has improved, & it offers a lot of Mill Street (Toronto) beers.

Unfortunately, the best brewpubs are further afield, but if you're willing to go to the Market, try Brothers Beer Bistro (very good) or Black Tomato. 3 Brewers/3 brasseurs is also on Sparks but no one I know has given it an unreserved thumbs-up.

If you are willing to go further south, Manx is good but always crowded; Lieutenant's Pump is ok and you can generally find a spot.

Wellington West, which is even further from you, has a good concentration of beer joints: Beyond the Pale (brewery, not for hanging but rather so you can taste some of the local scene), Tooth & Nail (brewery, BUT it has a 'nibbles' menu, or at least did last time I checked, so you CAN hang around it), Hintonburg Public house (bar), and Wellington Gastropub (bar).

Lunch: yeah, do Good Eats. Avoid the Royal Oaks (plural). If you want variety, there's also a good Caribbean place on Bank/Slater called "Caribbean Sizzler." The nearby Ramen place is fantastic but will probably be too busy, don't think that surely it won't be much of a wait.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 1:53 PM on December 3, 2016

The Manx Pub was highly recommended to us when we were in Ottawa a couple of summers ago but alas - it was closed for renovation while we were there!

It's two blocks from your hotel.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:57 PM on December 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Am typing this with a retired Manx bartender with me -- 3rding the recommendation; you'll get a full page of good beers. It will be packed on Friday, but if you head over on a weeknight (or early) it's not too bad, and you always find a seat eventually.

(Agree with avoiding the Royal Oak chain. The very first one is universally referred to as "the dirty Oak," which tells you much of what you need to know about that.)

Lunch-wise you are, at the Library, a hop away from Sparks Street, our perennial failure to get a pedestrian mall quite right -- but, here is a list of Sparks St restaurants and pubs. Farm Team Cookhouse has a poor reputation locally. D'Arcy McGees is a good touristy spot with some beers and pub food and usually a politician somewhere to peer at and try to remember the name of. Brixton's is not overflowing with craft beers but has a few and is a friendly hole in the wall. And there's Freshii if you feel the need to eat organic artisanal quinoa-kale somethingorother.
posted by kmennie at 7:26 AM on December 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Atomic Rooster on Bank and Somerset also has a reasonably good collection of local craft brews. Beau's, Bicycle Brewery, Dominion City and Whiprsnapr are Ottawa-based breweries. Pour Boy on Somerset and Lyon also has local beers on tap (though do be warned it's cash-only) and is a fun place to hang out. The Manx is as good (better, maybe!) than everyone is saying and has fantastic food to boot, and the Lieutenant's Pump is neat with all kinds of nooks and crannies and reasonable food and beer list.

For lunch, Clover on Bank just north of Laurier is good, though can be busy. There is also a good place on Laurier at Kent called Gooney's that makes awesome arepas and probably good sandwiches too.

Nthing the recommendation to avoid the Oaks. It is BAD and most of their beer list is Molson-owned beers. 3 Brewers is typical tourist-focussed reasonable-esque food. And I agree with kmennie about avoiding Farm Team (I live in and much enjoy the nature of Centretown, TYVM).
posted by urbanlenny at 1:37 PM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Whoops, forgot to follow up on this. Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. We liked the Manx so much we tried to go back multiple times but it was always too packed. I had been for brunch before, but never for beer. Great lively atmosphere.

We'll try some of the other places in the future!
posted by 1UP at 9:06 AM on February 20, 2017

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