This landmark watering hole, better known as The Laff, is one of the last traditional taverns in Ottawa. Opened in 1849, the bar has undergone a number of renovations but is still in the same Byward Market location it has occupied for over 150 years. Although the kitchen serves up a limited menu of hamburgers and sandwiches, its main reason for being is cold draft beer served directly from the tap. The main bar also features live entertainment on most nights.
Lively and trendy, Tequila Jacks is the place where the university crowd of Ottawa comes to party and shake a leg to beats which vary from 80s rock to mellow country. Renowned for the most happening parties in town, the club also sees quite a lot of out-of-town customers and businessmen unwinding after a successful deal. The Vegas-themed club has quite an exceptional dance floor with poles and raised platforms. Along with birthday parties and bachelor parties, the club is also host to events like fundraisers, sports-themed parties and movie shoots.
If you wish to enjoy a laid back brunch on a weekend then Fraser Café is where your search ends. Yoghurt Pancakes, Poached Eggs and the Panzanella give a refreshing start to your day and Mimosas and smoothies add the extra zest needed. Albeit more popular from brunch, many also explore Fraser Café for lunch and the place does not disappoint. For lunch, try the Chicken Barley Risotto, Braised Pork Pie and do not leave out the Smoked Trout if you like seafood. The Striploin and Pork Belly make great mains if you are having your dinner here. Fraser Café also has a list of impressive wines to complete your fare.
The Lookout Bar is a lively gay bar near downtown Ottawa which offers a plethora of activities and an extensive list of zippy cocktails. The cocktail list is heavy on mojitos and martinis and the food menu consists on typical bar snacks like nachos and chicken fingers. The dance floor is usually packed with people shaking a leg to catchy beats played by the DJ late into the night. Events like drag shows, karaoke nights, men's night and ladies nights ensures that the bar stays bustling and busy.
Touted to be one of the most popular live music bars and concerts venue in the city, Barrymore's has played host to both local talent and established Canadian and international acts. Housed in a converted theater, this venue has seen a number of changes in ownership ever since its establishment in 1978. Today a nightclub, the Sunday retro nights are especially popular among the 20-something crowd. The Aloha Room Tiki Bar, a small, surf-themed bar is located in the same property.
If you are in the mood for some delicious Mexican food, El Camino is the place to come to. Known for its delectable tacos which are available at the take-out window throughout the day and the authentic dishes served for dinner, this place is quite popular among the locals. Aside from their variety of tacos, the restaurant also serves dishes like Scallop Crudo, Salt and Pepper Squid and Chili Lime Caramel Pork Belly. Their selection of cocktails and tequila is also quite impressive. All in all, this is the perfect spot to satisfy a case of the midnight munchies or to linger over an after dinner drink.
Located on the excellent people-watching corner of Byward and Clarence, in the Byward Market, this Tex-Mex restaurant's large windows offer a great view. The Mexican and South-Western United States menu features large portions of standards like nachos, fajitas and particularly tasty quesadillas, as well as pastas, ribs, Santa Fe pizzas and home-made desserts. It also has a small bar at the entrance. Popular with a young, casually dressed crowd, Blue Cactus marks itself as "Ottawa's most popular restaurant,"
This delightfully vibrant pizzeria is in the old Grand Hotel building, complete with authentic forno a legna (wood-burning) pizza oven. The pizzas are thin-crust and the crust is the perfect blend of crispy and chewy. In keeping with genuine Italian traditions, the pizzas aren't overwhelmed with toppings; rather, they're kept nice and simple; the tonno pizza is simply tomato sauce, red onion, mozzarella and tuna. Other great picks include the quatro formaggio and the robustly flavored marinara. There is also a selection of salads and pasta. The restaurant can also be rented out for private parties.
Bare brick walls, creeping vines and a large wrought-iron staircase add to the eclectic charm of Johnny Farina, a lively open-concept Italian restaurant. Watch from the ground floor or loft area as chefs prepare your wood-oven pizza or pasta dish. You can mix and match from their selection of fresh pastas and sauces, or choose from over a dozen creative pizzas, such as the Canadian, the Bruschetta or the Gorgonzola and Leek; or order from a list of veal, chicken and seafood dishes.