Ottawa has some great pubs. I don’t care who you are or where you’re from, this is just A Thing, and it’s one of my more favourite aspects of the city. I’m not a huge partier, but I love me some live music and some beers on tap. While I have my favourites - Pub Italia and Bowman’s, to name some - it’s nice to mix it up.
An unrelated interest of mine: board games. If you, like me, like to mix that with alcohol, let me tell you about my new favourite places: Monopolatte and The Loft/Level One. Here’s my breakdown:
Monopolatte is located in Chinatown. They have a smaller menu - mostly sandwiches and snacks, but I like that they have really healthy (veggie trays and hummus trays) to really unhealthy (just a straight up plate of candy) options. Their drink menu is fun with lots of local beers and fun, nerdy shots and cocktails. When I went with three friends, we got a round of Hogwarts houses shots (Hufflepuff, if you’re curious). Their game selection is of course massive, and the servers/game instructors are fantastic. We learned new board games in half the time and with significantly less friendship-ruining than if we had had to teach ourselves.
When we went to The Loft, it was packed, so we went downstairs to their sister pub, Level One, a video game pub that also happens to have a large board game selection. The two pubs are slightly different and their menus vary a bit, so they’re both worth checking out. Level One has a good selection of appetizers and entrees - I had deep fried mac and cheese balls and they were super worth it. Also a great range of beers on tap. It was fun to switch from board games to old school Mario Kart and back to board games - you can spend a lot of time in this place. I really liked the atmosphere - it feels like a really nerdy cottage.
Obviously a lot of other cafes and pubs have board games available, but to the best of my knowledge, these are the only two that specialize in it. The two have different vibes, and I highly recommend both!