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Ottawa Pub Guide: Get Cosy in the Capital

By Emma Fischer

From the darkest winter day to the melt of spring, there are plenty of reasons to snuggle up at a fireplace and raise a pint! Feel the warm embrace of Ottawa’s cosiest pubs no matter the season:


Coasters Seafood Grill


Woody’s Pub

A self-proclaimed urban pub, they’re known for their wide selection of craft beer, but that’s not all they offer! Enjoy some of their classic pub fare or more multicultural dishes in one of their two main rooms. Cosy up in the lounge with not one, but two fireplaces and several comfy booths. Beat frosty weather with a frosty pint! 

330 Elgin St.

MacLaren’s on Elgin: Much more than just Ottawa’s premier sports bar, MacLaren’s is the place to take shelter from the storm. Sip on a cocktail while you play some pool, or catch the big game on one of their 80 HD televisions. With plenty of variety both on their menus and in the bar, your game plan should involve staying here long after the final whistle blows! 

301 Elgin St.

The Manx: Known for their craft beer and gourmet pub food, The Manx also boasts an incredible Scotch selection and legendary brunch. This basement pub is a little more hidden than most, but it’s the perfect underground refuge for an after-work drink or to wind down from a long day. Pop by on Sunday and Monday nights to live local music and sing your heart out on their special karaoke nights.

370 Elgin St.



The Lafayette: Having been around for 167 years, the Laff has been serving Ottawa before it was even Ottawa. They offer affordable food, drink specials and live music with free cover, which means more money for bevvies! The Laff has expanded their pub to its original size and now boasts a comfy fireplace area. Assistant manager Deek Labelle gets the last laugh: “We do our best to make our customers feel at home and comfortable at all times. We don’t believe in charging cover – we’d rather have your bum in a warm seat, sipping on a tasty beverage.”

42 York St.

Chez Lucien: Tucked away at the edge of the ByWard Market, this quaint bar looks small from the outside, but has three levels of cosy seating inside. Exposed brick, hardwood floors and a fireplace give this place a relaxed and comfortable ambiance. Come for brunch (it opens every day at 11 a.m.) and stay for dinner. This place is a few short blocks from more conventional touristy pubs, and far more authentic. Warm up even more with their Frida and Diego burger topped with jalapeños.

137 Murray St. 


Vineyards Wine Bar Bistro & Coaster’s Seafood Grill: This cellar bistro and wine bar is found in a historic, 19th-century building in the ByWard Market. Directly above are two sister establishments: Fish Market Restaurant and Coaster’s Seafood Grill. At Vineyards, sample from 200 wines and 250 different beers — there is definitely something for everybody. Pair your drinks with charcuterie or a cheese board, and enjoy regular live jazz musicians (they will warm your soul). If you’re literally looking for fire, head on upstairs to Coaster’s where you can settle in by the fireplace and enjoy delicious seafood while you sip on a cocktail.

54 York St. 

Alphabet Soup: Dining from A to Z

Where Toronto‘s annual dining guide is a veritable encyclopedia of the city’s culinary appetites. Check out our favourite (alphabetized!) restaurants, dishes and culinary trends by clicking on any of the images below.

Timely Trails

Angel Glacier and Pond by Andrew Hempstead

Angel Glacier and Pond by Andrew Hempstead

Eager to hike but limited by time? Paula Beauchamp, owner of Walks & Talks, suggests:

Remnants of glaciation can be seen on Path of the Glacier at Mt Edith Cavell. Drive the windy access road and walk the 1.6 km (1 mi) trail to iceberg filled Cavell Pond. Here you stand across from aptly named Angel Glacier. Detour 3.2 km (2 mi) to Cavell Meadows.

Park at 5th Bridge and walk Maligne Canyon upstream to 3rd Bridge to see the most interesting (and less travelled) part of the trail. Medicine Lake waters flow into the canyon through 30 km (19 mi) of subterranean channels. —RM

Two Ways to Sightsee

GyPSy Guide

GyPSy Guide

The scenic Canadian Rockies have knocked the socks off travellers since explorer David Thompson came here 200 years ago. Today, sightseers can choose a human-led or GPS-triggered tour.Brewster_Motorcoach

Traditional motorcoach and van excursions, where the driving is left to others, remain popular. “Our guides are locals who have conducted tours for over 30 years,” notes Joanna Buckingham of Brewster. “Their knowledge is vast and they love interacting with clients and sharing interesting stories.”

On the other hand, independent minded sightseers can rent a GyPSy Guide, an electronic device that provides GPS tours through the FM radio of their own vehicle. Commentary prepared by professional local guides automatically kicks-in at locations of interest. “It’s about flexibility,” says GyPSy’s Rick Bulich. “You’re not tied to a schedule, so you can move at your own pace.”—RM