BY TRAVIS PERSAUD
There are a few sure-fire ways to stay warm during the winter, but none are as fun — or delicious — as a late night drink. We highlight some of the coziest pubs and bars in Ottawa where you can grab a great winter warmer.
Ottawa Bar For Cigar Lovers: Bacchus
This bar may be just over the border, but it’s part of the National Capital Region and one of the hidden gems in the Ottawa area. Stately leather armchairs surround quaint wooden tables, as the sweet aroma of cigars fill the room. Bacchus, located in the Hilton Lac-Leamy (attached to the Casino du Lac-Leamy) in Gatineau, provides one of the most relaxing atmospheres in which to sip a glass of port or scotch. A small cigar lounge, separated from the main area of the bar, allows aficionados and novices alike to enjoy a slow burn around a fireplace, or by the window overlooking the spectacular cityscape.
•3 Boul. Du Casino, 819-790-6444. casinoduquebec.com/lacleamy
Ottawa Bar For Live Jazz: Options Jazz Lounge
The bright red piano, off to the side of the room, is an eye-catching piece. And, unlike many locales that may allow such an object to simply collect dust, Options Jazz Lounge puts it to good use. Found within the luxe Brookstreet Hotel in the west end of Ottawa, Options features live music seven nights a week (as its name suggests, it’s usually jazz, with some easy listening thrown in every now and then). The soothing sounds create a sophisticated and calming ambiance for you to savour your drink of choice.
•525 Legget Dr., 613-271-1800. brookstreet.ca
Ottawa Pub For Chill Vibes: The Black Thorn
With the foreboding presence of the Embassy of the United States across the street, one might expect surrounding bars to match its sterile, stuffy exterior. Not so for The Black Thorn. Tucked inside Ottawa’s historic ByWard Market, the building, which dates back to the 1870s and maintains the original exterior, backs onto the historic Tin House Courtyard. Inside this quaint Ottawa pub, two booths bookend an inviting fireplace — it’s definitely a spot you want to grab when visiting for a selection off their well-appointed beer and wine list.
•15 Clarence St., 613-241-0712. theblackthorn.ca
Ottawa Bar For Rare Finds: Vineyards Wine Bar and Bistro
This basement level bar, located in Ottawa’s ByWard Market, has a familiar den-like feel to it. The exposed brick walls and archways set the mood for a late evening libation. And with over 300 wines, 150 imported beers, and 30 brands of scotch, there’s no shortage of quality drinks available at Vineyards. Expect to find that long forgotten label you never thought you’d have a chance to try again, and a number of brands you’ve never come across until now.
•54 York St., 613-241-4270. vineyards.ca
Ottawa Pub For Exceptional Craft Beer: Mill St. Brew Pub
Mill Street Brewery – the three-time Canadian Brewery of the Year winner – entered Ottawa a year ago, setting up a brew pub in a 140-year-old building that was formerly a grist mill. After extensive renovations, including the construction of an on-site brewery that creates brews only available in Ottawa (you’ll definitely want to try the Ambre de la Chaudiere), the pub exudes incredible charm and warmth. The bright atmosphere pairs perfectly with their award-winning beer and with your evening out on the town.
•555 Wellington St., 613-567-2337. ottawa.millstreetbrewpub.ca