Are you looking to discover the best bars in Ottawa?
Then we have you covered!
On this page, you’ll find the official shortlist of all the bars in Ottawa. (More in-depth further below). And, each with why it’s best to go.
Feel free to check out each bar’s official profile to find out more and to find out which is best for you.
We’ve also created separate shortlists for each genre you might like to visit on your time out.
So check out these articles as well:
- The Best Cocktail Bars in Ottawa
- The Best Cool Bars in Ottawa
- The Best Irish Pubs in Ottawa
- And finally: Our Complete Guide to Ottawa’s Nightlife
Furthermore, you can get on the guest list or book a table with bottle service on some of the more exclusive bars. We are happy to help you out with either.
11. Heart & Crown Pub
This classic pub, founded by two Irish immigrants, serves a variety of beers and features live entertainment. Visit The Heart and Crown Pub for a lively time! The Heart & Crown, located in the Byward Market area, is a classy stop on a fun night out. Heart & Crown, as the name suggests, is an Irish pub with Guinness, Jameson, and other favorites on tap! If you’re hungry, you can expect traditional pub fare. You know, fish and chips and sliders. They even serve a decent breakfast if you’re starving after a night out! There is a separate area in the back for live music. Almost every night of the week, the music is pumping. Eric has been here, and the live music was fantastic and fun! Overall, Heart & Crown is reasonably priced, with a lively and energetic atmosphere and a good selection of beers on tap. What else can anyone want?!
The Heart and Crown have been open since 1992 and spans an entire city block. It’s as if you’re touring an Irish village with 6 bars within the building. They serve traditional Irish fare as well as some Canadian favorites. Because it is in the heart of the market, it is a great place to people-watch on the patio during the day. It attracts a lively crowd at night, with live entertainment available seven nights a week. On weekends, they serve breakfast and show various sporting events throughout the day (rugby, soccer, NHL, etc.). You are always welcome, regardless of age, musical taste, or sports preferences. There is something for everyone here at this bar, whether you prefer hearty or healthy food, a sunny patio or a cozy indoor atmosphere.
Their friendly staff and comfortable seating will make you feel at home when you walk through the door. This venue is a genuine Irish Pub, offering an authentic Irish experience with an authentic Irish vibe. Larry Bradley and Pat Kelly, the owners, are both Irish and have never forgotten their roots! To express their gratitude, they donate to various charities throughout the city. Every Christmas, they host a traditional Christmas lunch for those in need. For the last 24 years, they have served people in need; whether they’re homeless, struggling financially, or simply lonely, everyone is welcome to a free meal on Christmas Day. So, this is one of the best Irish Pubs Ottawa has to offer you!
10. Aulde Dubliner & Pour House
The Aulde Dubliner & Pour House is a Large 2-story Irish pub with classic comfort food; weekend live music, and patio seating. This venue is stunning! We had a great time at the market’s edge, overlooking the main ByWard building. The look and feel of the Aulde Dubliner & Pour House are the first things you’ll notice; hand-crafted and built in Ireland; it is a genuinely authentic two-story Irish pub. Outside, you’ll find gold-leafed carved wood, two patios, and a mezzanine balcony overlooking the entrance to the historic ByWard Market. The Aulde Dubliner is as photogenic as any restaurant or pub! Inside, you’ll find magnificent décor, punctuated by custom-built and imported from Ireland tables and chairs.
The Aulde Dubliner & Pour House serves the patrons delicious Irish cuisine throughout the week in an appropriate ambience for the occasion. Choose the intimate Aulde Dubliner and enjoy an Irish-inspired, globally-infused dinner while listening to live acoustic music (Friday and Saturday evenings). If you go upstairs to the Pour House for a more positive experience, check out live bands to keep things energized and sporting events like the NHL, MLB, NBA, and NFL to keep you excited and on the edge of your seat. If it’s on TV, it’ll be in crystal clear HD! There are numerous ways to celebrate Irish culture – or even life itself. They have live entertainment every Friday and Saturday night (upstairs and downstairs), two of the best patios in the ByWard Market, an exceptional selection of Irish Whiskey, and a long list of draught beers.
Check out their ‘Entertainment’ section on the official website to see what musicians and bands they have on tap for you! What a classic summertime activity in Ontario! Drinks on a hot Ottawa summer day – incredible! The beer and drink menu was extensive – and the food menu was also huge. They got a patio table overlooking the market in the hot sunshine with plenty of seating. Our friend got a Canadian Caesar while we had beers – all of which were excellent. We then got food – a burger with fries and a salmon sandwich – both were excellent! We’d highly suggest a stop at Aulde. Overall, the server was super friendly, and the atmosphere was pleasant – you won’t regret your place for drinks! So, The Aulde Dubliner & Pour House is one of the best bars Ottawa has to offer you!
9. El Furniture Warehouse
El Furniture Warehouse is a bar serving food & cocktails, also with nightly DJs & a rooftop patio. The infamous EL Furniture Warehouse is famous for its dynamic nightlife and $5.95 food menu. Their doors are open to EVERYONE! Warehouse is an excellent choice for drinks or pub grub! Taking a page from the Warehouse playbook (there is one in Toronto as well), El Furniture makes a name for itself wherever it goes. This Byward Market establishment is well-known for its long lines and buzz. Why? Because everything on the menu is only $5.75! Yes, I’m serious. This reduces the price range, making it ideal for indulging in your favorite foods and beverages. We went out for drinks, and Lisa ordered a traditional Canadian Caesar! The menu is labeled “Canadian,” so if burgers, tacos, and salads are all very Canadian, we’d say it’s Canadian!
On weekends, El Furniture fills up quickly because the place has a great upbeat and energetic vibe. Give it a shot if you’re looking for cheap food and drinks! To be fair, as with other establishments of this type, they entice you with low-cost food while charging higher-than-usual prices for drinks. If you like water, you can’t beat this place in Byward for budget/value. A noisy environment. So, if you’re not into that, stay away. Other restaurants in Tripadvisor’s “Cheap Eats” filter were also tried, and some were definitely not cheap! El Furniture Warehouse most emphatically is. But do the small portion sizes suffer due to the low prices? Certainly not! This restaurant is well-known for its reasonable prices. I expected the food to be mediocre based on that, but I was pleasantly surprised. The food was delicious.
There was a DJ and a great atmosphere. We began with the chicken wings, which we quickly devoured. I had the roasted turkey BLT, which was delicious. I wholeheartedly recommend this establishment. Just a heads up: if it’s a busy night, the line outside can get long! So, El Furniture Warehouse is one of the best bars Ottawa has to offer you. If you are in the city, we highly recommend that you visit this venue at least once! Go with your family, friends and loved ones for a memorable and fun time! Their food items are to die for! No wonder this bar is on our list of the best bars in Ottawa.
8. El Camino
El Camino is a contemporary Mexican plates pair with assorted shots at a hip spot with a take-out window. It appears simple because it is! If you are searching for the best tacos in Ottawa, you should go to El Camino. You’ll notice that El Camino has two locations on the map. The first location is Elgin Street, and the second is the Byward Market. They have slightly different hours, so check ahead for the location you want to visit! El Camino has a consistently casual and upbeat vibe. You can’t beat $4 tacos and great drinks for a reasonable price! Everything on the menu is excellent, which keeps the return visits fresh. The tacos, salmon tartare tostada, shrimp dumplings, corn on the cob, etc. are all great. We love the tequila pie (when available) and the churros; they are a satisfying way to end the meal.
At this location, you walk down some stairs off of Elgin, where there’s a sunken courtyard with a take-out window and the restaurant entrance, which in the summer is a large opening (in the winter, it’s large closed windows). The take-out is a good option as all the tacos (fish, beef, lamb, pork, ox tongue, eggplant, etc.) are available together with some tasty sides, like the prawn betel leaves. The main restaurant is dark with an alt-Mexico feel, a snaking bar that makes for some exciting seating options, and there’s always a vibe. I should also mention there are not a ton of beer options, but they are all of excellent quality. Also, everything is at a reasonable price.
There was a pinball machine, which, combined with some great tunes, allowed me to show my kids how good I am at pinball. So, they have excellent cocktails, delicious tacos, and a lively atmosphere. Each taco is one-of-a-kind, delicious, and made with fresh ingredients. This bar is the ideal setting for a meal with friends. Delicious meal. They have consistently provided high-quality, attractive, and delicious tacos. The churros are fantastic, and the corn is flawless. The crispy fish tacos are always delicious, and I loved the ox tongue—excellent service and drinks. The tacos here are amazing! My go-to is the fish, but all options are good. The pickup window offers fewer options than if you can sit down for dinner, so for the best experience, I recommend going for dinner. But be prepared to wait (5-15 Min).
7. Clocktower Brew Pub
Clocktower Brew Pub is a relaxed brewpub that features familiar tavern fare & pints of its own craft beer brand. We can’t discuss pubs in Ottawa without mentioning a must-see stop on any Ottawa pub crawl. Clocktower is well-known throughout the city; there are three locations to choose from throughout the downtown area! They have more throughout the city, but these are the ones you’d be closest to if you were exploring the city center! Clocktower Brewing Company is Ottawa’s oldest full-service craft brewery. This establishment has made people feel at ease in their comfortable and relaxed atmosphere since 1996. Clocktower is known for its extensive food menu and regular and seasonal beers on tap. From sharing plates to salads, wraps, burgers, and desserts, you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy at a reasonable price!
The Clocktower Brew Pub has been Ottawa’s original brew pub and craft brewery since 1996. For 21 years, Clocktower has been producing creative, approachable craft beer and interesting upscale pub fare. Now with 7 locations, they offer a comfortable neighborhood pub experience for everyone. Despite their longevity, they continue to develop new brews and new flavors to make their guest experience exceptional. Their beer selection includes everything from raspberry wheat to red to stout and everything in between. Go here for a friendly atmosphere and the best kind of greasy pub food. The Clocktower is a local classic and is the longest-established full-service craft brewery in Ottawa. (Let me translate that for you – they’ve been around the longest and are the best at what they do).
Opened in 1996, the Clocktower has several locations around Ottawa. You will not be disappointed with any of them, but if we had to recommend one, it would be the original Pub and Brewery at 575 Bank Street. The fries were delicious, and the wings were perfect. Brietta, my server, was excellent, friendly, quick, responsive, and funny. I wish I could express how wonderful our time at Clocktower was. We had a few drinks on their patio and were impressed by the social distancing measures implemented. Servers wearing masks and tables were cleaned between every service. The seating space was two meters apart. The raspberry wheat is a favorite, and now that they have umbrellas, what an excellent spot for a beer outside. I hope you are able to enjoy your summer here, too! So, Clocktower Brew Pub is one of the best bars Ottawa has to offer!
6. Union Local 613
Union Local 613 is a stylishly old-timey hangout with a menu of Southern-inspired dishes & libations. They are an inauthentic take on Southern-inspired dishes. They are also known for their cocktails and craft beer. Are you looking for an exceptional all-around experience? Consider stopping by Union 613. This convenient downtown location on Somerset Street serves fantastic cocktails and Southern-inspired dishes like fried chicken! The atmosphere is more classy and hipster, and the prices reflect an upscale experience. However, the food portions are generous, and the ingredients are sourced locally, so you’re supporting local businesses! They even include all meals (including a late-night menu). Is the main floor of Union not appealing to you? Then go downstairs and behind the shelf to access the small speakeasy.
Despite the limited seating, great cocktails are served in an intriguing, grotto-like wooden basement. But keep that knowledge to yourself, will you? They make their ingredients ourselves, including juices, pop syrups and infusions. They nailed it with an excellent Negroni, and it’s always a great place to bring friends – the upstairs ambience and the speakeasy are fantastic. The playlist over there is always spot on. It is a restaurant and bar located near the downtown core of Ottawa. The food is primarily inspired by southern soul food. The beer on draught and tap is good, but the place is mainly known for its food. Their service is excellent, and the staff is knowledgeable about various beers. Prices are reasonable for the quality. I love the hidden speakeasy downstairs. The food was excellent; we started with pickled Fried Green Tomatoes, which were outstanding. Crispy, fresh, and tart – a true delight.
The main course was Southern Fried Chicken, and the sides were Sweet Potatoes and Grits, with the addition of Corn Bread. Every dish was delicious and a true comfort food. It was a surprise to learn that it had three floors, and being led down to the small and cozy speakeasy was the icing on the cake! Big thanks to our server Jol for showing up on time and making some delicious cocktails we drank in record time! We had a wonderful time, and the few snacks we ate (deviled eggs and broccoli) were delicious! So, Union Local 613 is one of the best bars in Ottawa for you. If you are in the city, we highly recommend that you visit this venue at least once.
5. Lowertown Brewery
Lowertown Brewery is a Canadian comfort fare served with craft beer & cocktails in casual digs with a spacious patio. Lowertown is unmistakably a Canadian brewery. Lowertown is unique because they occasionally have a small bonfire on their patio. Another cool thing is that they have a small pinball arcade! If you’re looking for food, you’ll find Canadian classics such as poutine and other grilled treats. Lowertown’s atmosphere is rounded out by weekly live music, stand-up comedy, and people looking to spend an enjoyable evening with like-minded individuals. The prices range from moderate to high. It is a local microbrewery with unique beers and food pairings that cannot be beaten. Lowertown brewery, located in Ottawa’s Byward Market, is the newest addition to the Ontario craft beer market.
You would not want to miss what they are brewing next! They serve excellent comfort food and delicious cocktails. Lowertown Brewery first opened its doors in June 2014. It has an open kitchen filled with the tantalizing aromas of succulent ribs, brisket, and chicken slow-cooking in our in-house smoker. The interior’s craft aesthetics and Lowertown feel are matched by their patio. It offers all-day sun for those who prefer to enjoy their craft beer and amazing sandwiches in the fresh Ottawa air, matching the interior’s craft aesthetics and Lowertown feels. We stopped in here one sunny Ottawa afternoon for an early dinner. The menu was not extensive, offering a reasonably typical pub fare selection. The early evening crowd was a mix of twenty-somethings, thirty-something birthday drinks get-together, business people and tourists.
We landed a little on the older side of the clientele. After looking over the menu, we almost gave it a pass. But we settled on the patio, and when a cold pint of cider arrived, we decided to order dinner. My husband ordered the Montreal smoked meat sandwich. I ordered the smoked salmon sandwich. For both, there were no issues substituting the fries for a kale salad on the side. Glad we stayed! When the sandwiches arrived, we were treated to fresh multigrain ciabatta buns (delicious!) filled with beautiful meats. The Montreal smoked sandwich was excellent – everything you could hope for. The salmon was excellent! We both loved this! The bun contained a large filet of salmon, cooked moist and tender with a smoky finish! Perfect! The salad was a great complement. The price was reasonable for the quality and quantity of food.
4. Sir John A Pub
Sir John A Pub is a lively watering hole with a patio offering draft brews, cocktails & standard bar grub in comfy digs. It is located in the heart of Elgin street; Sir John A Pub is a local hot spot serving over 60 beers on tap and delicious food and apps to share with friends. Bearing the name of Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A Pub delivers a classic pub feel. Located right on Elgin Street, you can’t miss this establishment even if you tried to! With a very relaxed pub atmosphere, Sir John A Pub hammers home the pub feel with traditional pub food, decor, and a wide mix (over 50+) of micro-local, imported, and classic draft beers on tap. They even do a weekend pub brunch and a late-night kitchen, so if you’re hungry, you know where to go!
Sir John A is your home away from home with its relaxed, comfortable atmosphere and friendly staff. They look forward to welcoming you for a quick lunch, an after-work gathering, or watching a sports game with friends! Sir John A is proud to have the largest draught beer selection in Centretown. They have a beer for every taste, from local microbreweries to imports worldwide. Join them now! This place understands the hospitality business. When everyone else turned people away due to capacity, this place accommodated a small group. The drinks arrived quickly, the server was excellent, and the late-night food was tasty. The pub was rockin’, so everyone had a good time.
A special thanks to the gentleman at the host stand, who made it all possible. Good place for drinks and a pleasant atmosphere. Sir John A Pub is hands down the best Pub in Ottawa. I make a point to visit every time I’m in town because the food is simply the best, and the service is impeccable. If you’re visiting Ottawa, make it a point to check this place out! They’re always playing hockey games amongst other sports and have a great beer menu. The owners are lovely and do their best to ensure every visitor is satisfied. You won’t be disappointed – you don’t find services like this anymore. So, Sir John A Pub is one of the best bars Ottawa has to offer you and your loved ones. If you are in the city, we recommend you to visit this spot at least once!
3. The Manx Pub
The Manx Pub is an art-lined subterranean watering hole with a globally inspired pub-grub menu & occasional live music. The Manx is an excellent underground (downstairs) hideaway pub located right on Elgin Street in the heart of downtown. Inside, the tables are comfortable, and the space is filled with art and a traditional pub atmosphere. Their prices are reasonable, and there is a good selection of craft beers and whiskey. The Manx is a place we’ve visited with Wes and another friend! We had an Irish coffee and a massive club sandwich because it was winter. The fries were also delicious! Think traditional pub fare – that’s what you’ll find at the Manx. They have live music on occasion. You should check the schedule for the night you want to go!
Located in a basement on trendy Elgin Street, a 10-minute walk from the Parliament Buildings in downtown Ottawa, the Manx has been a popular neighborhood pub for 25 years. Along with a cozy, artsy-hipster vibe, it offers a significant craft beer and scotch/whiskey selection and excellent food, including some tasty vegetarian options. It is not uncommon to encounter a line at the entrance, so plan on arriving outside of peak hours or possibly standing at the bar until a table frees up, but it is worthwhile. Reservations are accepted for lunch only. If you are searching for a pub that feels warm and alive, the Manx is a great choice. It’s a neighborhood pub with an interesting beer selection.
Downstairs is a little dark, but the atmosphere is warm and welcoming, with family and friends. The food is excellent, with vegetarian options, comfortable pub fare, and daily specials. Whoever is in the kitchen has a keen sense of flavor. The Manx is, by definition, a gem. It has an excellent beer selection and a cozy atmosphere, and it is a great place to meet friends or go to a poetry reading, and the food is delicious. It’s the closest thing I’ve found in Canada to an authentic British pub. The cherry on top is the staff, which is friendly and professional. On Elgin Street, this is a must-see. I was not sure what to expect because the place was in a basement and had a gritty vibe. Nonetheless, despite its small size, it was bustling, and people were willing to wait for a table. I was pleasantly surprised by the food’s quality and the reasonable selection of craft beer.
Charlotte is a buzzy lounge with mid century decor serving craft cocktails, beer & wine, plus a small plates menu. Charlotte is a little outside the “pub” feel but still worthy of inclusion on the list. Charlotte, located right on Elgin Street, provides guests with a very relaxing lounge atmosphere and a sophisticated coolness that can only be found in a few places. The entire interior of this one-of-a-kind bar is designed to resemble a mid-century living room! The food is a mix of snacks and small plates, so don’t expect to fill up – you come to Charlotte for the rotating beers and cocktails made with in-house ingredients. This coolness will come at a higher price, but you can always fly for $10 on Tuesdays.
If you want to try a variety of beers at a reasonable price, this is your best bet! Charlotte is a modern, mid-century-inspired lounge located in the heart of downtown Ottawa. In a space designed to encourage social interaction, strike a balance between old and new. Their lounge areas are furnished with a mixture of functional vintage and retro-styled sofas, loungers, and armchairs that will surround your group in the comfort of your living room. Your cocktails influence a spirit/liquor list; their brand selection evolves as they experiment with new and exciting flavors or return to time-honored classics. They rigorously test every aspect of their cocktails before any make the printed menu. Whether it’s ice quality, glassware, freshly squeezed or organic cold pressed juice, quality in the final product demands quality in all ingredients.
They spend a lot of time asking people what their favorite beers are. Their ever-changing beer list spans a wide range of styles, attempting to make room for outliers so you can enjoy a traditional aspect followed by a beer you’ve never heard of from a brewery you didn’t even know existed. Their cellaring programme will provide something truly one-of-a-kind for the beer connoisseur in your group. There are many excellent wines available; their cellar features unique wines from around the world that their sommelier has curated. Quality is the foundation, and they choose wines that demonstrate innovative practices, terroir, value, and stories that connect flavor and intention. So, Charlotte is one of the best bars Ottawa has to offer you. If you are in the city, we highly recommend that you visit this venue at least once.
MacLaren’s is a casual sports bar with pub grub, pizza & ribs and also has a sizable space for playing billiards. Can you write a post about pubs in Ottawa without mentioning MacLaren’s? We don’t believe so! MacLaren’s, located right on Elgin (you won’t miss it, trust us), has welcomed beer enthusiasts and sports fans since 1997. To this day, the location at Elgin and MacLaren remains a fixture! From the dozens of billiard tables to the numerous HD-screen TVs throughout the establishment, MacLaren’s is a fun place to watch the game – whatever that may be at the time! It’s a laid-back sports bar that serves pub fare like pizza and ribs, classic appetizers like mozzarella sticks, and much more. The price is reasonable for the experience of watching the game – it makes you feel spoiled to have such a great bar/pub atmosphere!
You can shoot pool at this relaxed sports-themed bar, watch sports on their big-screen TVs, and enjoy casual food and drinks. Bring some friends and go in for an evening of pool and conversation surrounded by sports memorabilia at MacLaren’s on Elgin, which has 25 billiard tables that can be rented by the hour. You can watch all levels of sporting events on their six 80-inch HD televisions while you’re there. MacLaren’s extensive menu features traditional pub fare such as nachos, wings, sandwiches, burgers, and pizza. Choose from their many draughts, bottled beer, and cider options, or complement your meal with a glass of wine, a cocktail, or a unique soft drink.
Visit with friends for pool, dinner, and beer. We have been there a lot of times and have never had a bad meal. The staff has always been pleasant. We’ve had everything from small bites at midnight after a Sens game, to burgers, sandwiches, and pizza, to a delicious three-course full meal of pork chop and all the trimmings. It’s not a gourmet restaurant, but it’s hard to beat for a bar. Although there wasn’t a kid’s menu, it wasn’t a problem as they were able to share a pizza. Our server was really friendly and attentive, and the food was delicious too. The $12 for an hour of the pool was also excellent. So, MacLaren’s is one of the best bars Ottawa offers you, your friends, and your family. If you are in the city, we recommend this bar for a definite visit!