• By: Keith Whittier

A Toast to Tradition

When one steps through the doors of an Irish pub, one hopes not only to be met with good food and drink: they expect to be met with the millennium of tradition that comes with the words “Irish Pub”. The Heart & Crown, located in Ottawa’s historic ByWard market, has tradition in spades.

Yet, the Heart & Crown atmosphere is not relegated to a single point in Irish history. It features five pubs under one roof, each with their own distinct atmosphere, giving the patron the impression that they’ve stepped into an Irish village rather than an isolated bar. Of the five pubs, the Heart & Crown ByWard location, as a whole, is the biggest and oldest, serving Ottawans in search of fun and good drinks for the past 25 years. With its finished wood décor and Celtic lettering. It’s a traditional Irish pub through and through. The Black Rose has the ambiance of a 1920’s social house: featuring plenty of tinted mirrors and stained glass, one can imagine James Joyce sitting only a few stools down from them. For those who want to step out of the main party into a more intimate space, the Snug Pub fulfills that need, while Mother McGintey’s offers the opposite, with its ample seating, stage and two bars. Finally, their courtyard twists around the side of the building and down a narrow alley, feeling as if it was taken straight out of the streets of Dublin..

Of course, the food only adds to the good times that the Heart & Crown pubs provide. Their extensive menus feature pub grub favourites, including perfectly crisp fish and chips, and traditional dishes like the Irish sausages and mash, and curried shepherd’s pie. The menu also includes new twists on age-old recipes, like Guinness-infused beef stew (I can hardly imagine a more quintessentially Irish dish). The drink menu is more than satisfying, including their impressive list of beers, featuring both Irish favourites, such as Guinness or Harp Lager, as well as selections from some of the capital’s most popular craft breweries.

Entertainment is as much a part of the Heart & Crown tradition as is their great food and beers. There is live music each night of the week. The pub is unique with stages in both the Heart & Crown and Mother McGintey’s, where you’ll be treated to a mix of local talent and traditional Irish music. Football (whether it be American or European) and rugby is always being broadcasted, making it the perfect place to enjoy a weekend match.

In Irish tradition, it was rare to drink at home. Instead, gathering at the local bar was socially imperative.

The Heart & Crown successfully taps into this cultural vein, offering a place for good friends to meet for some much needed Irish hospitality.

Looking for an Irish experience that’s a little more local to you? Ottawa Heart & Crown will make you feel at home. Heart & Crown http://www.heartandcrown.ca/ 67 Clarence St, Ottawa ON K1N 5P5 (613) 562-0674