Ye Olde Ottawa East Pub – Wherefore Art Thou?

John Dance

Old Ottawa East (OOE) is steadily growing and gaining amenities, but it lacks one “institution” that our neighbours in the Glebe, Old Ottawa South, Sandy Hill and Centretown have: a local pub, or at least a restaurant with a bar. And it seems there are no immediate prospects for the gap to be filled.

During the pandemic, our one and only pub – the Royal Oak at Pretoria – closed its doors for good. The Gray Jay, an upscale restaurant, will be taking over the prime location.

The situation is not utterly bleak for those seeking a beer, though. Main Street’s The Green Door offers beer and wine, the new Happy Goat has beer, and the Giant Panda at 170 Lees Avenue hopes to resume serving beer now that many pandemic restrictions have been lifted. Also, a short walk to Lansdowne or to Bank or Elgin streets provides lots of opportunities for finding a beverage and a bite.

Larry Leadman (left) and Don McNicol enjoy a pint at Irene's. McNicol, a Clegg Street resident, says "It's about time" Old Ottawa East had a pub. Photo by John Dance

Larry Leadman (left) and Don McNicol enjoy a pint at Irene’s. McNicol, a Clegg Street resident, says “It’s about time” Old Ottawa East had a pub. Photo by John Dance

However, on the basis of an informal survey on the OOE Grapevine Facebook page, it appears as though there is substantial support for a new pub in our community. Responses were generally enthusiastic with exclamation marks: “We need a couple of them! … 100% for a pub in our neighbourhood! … I am deeply in favour of the neighbourhood acquiring a pub! … A pub would be great… A pub is a necessity for our community… Yes, our household would love a pub… Would be a great addition to the neighbourhood.” Others offered variations and qualifications such as a pub that served breakfast, had live music, had TVs to watch sports, was part of a restaurant and wasn’t noisy for neighbouring residents. Two respondents suggested that OOE had higher priorities.

Three years ago, École d’innovation sociale Élisabeth-Bruyère ran a well-attended focus group session with a view to determining if some sort of pub on or near the campus would be a desirable proposition. There was good support for the idea but, says Julie Chateauvert, assistant professor at Saint Paul University, ”We, unfortunately, put this (great) project on hold for the lack of enough people to do everything that needed to be done.”

Similarly, Michael Eastabrooks, now the owner of the venerable Irene’s Pub in the Glebe, contemplated opening a pub in OOE but couldn’t find a suitable location. Eastabrooks, who lived near the corner of Main Street and Hawthorne Avenue, speaks
of the limited infrastructure for a new pub here. At one point, he considered the Caisse at the corner of Main and Herridge Street, but it became the location for a new cosmetic surgery business.

Michael Eastabrooks, owner of Irene's Pub, thinks Greystone Village could help support a pub. Photo by John Dance

Michael Eastabrooks, owner of Irene’s Pub, thinks Greystone Village could help support a pub. Photo by John Dance

Eastabrooks says Greystone Village may be the catalyst for a new pub. Currently, the Regional Group is seeking occupants for the ground floor commercial space of the two new buildings on Oblates Ave. They are “looking for a range of tenants to support the neighbourhood, [and] this includes potential for a restaurant tenant,” says Evan Garfinkel, Regional’s coordinator of land development.

Domicile, the developer of the Corners on Main condominiums, has tried to secure a pub for the ground floor space, but so far, with no success. There are just two bays left in the middle of Domicile’s Main Street frontage. As David Chick, Domicile’s vice-president puts it, this space is “shell” space, “ready for a new restaurant/pub to use to make its mark in Old Ottawa East.”

While the impact of COVID-19 could make this a challenge with a number of fully fit-up leasing opportunities out there in the larger market, Chick concludes that a “first-in”, well-crafted local pub on Main Street could be supported by the expanding community.”

The questions are whether a keen entrepreneur will be interested and will be able to find a good location to slake the local thirst for beverages and socializing.

Filed in: Community Links, Front Page Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

You might like:

Prime Old Ottawa East Waterfront Property Up For Grabs – But Nobody Wants It! Prime Old Ottawa East Waterfront Property Up For Grabs – But Nobody Wants It!
The growth of Francophonie in Old Ottawa East schools The growth of Francophonie in Old Ottawa East schools
Nicolas St-Pierre: Old Ottawa East 2021 Art Tour participant wins prestigious international photo book award Nicolas St-Pierre: Old Ottawa East 2021 Art Tour participant wins prestigious international photo book award
A Fond Farewell to Redshaw Auto Care – Loyal Customers Salute Local Garage Owner Prem Sookdeo A Fond Farewell to Redshaw Auto Care – Loyal Customers Salute Local Garage Owner Prem Sookdeo
© 2022 The Mainstreeter. All rights reserved. XHTML / CSS Valid.
Proudly designed by Theme Junkie.