From locally sourced ingredients to house-made bitters and even a vegan cocktail menu, Ottawa's watering holes are raising the after-work drinking bar. Whether you need a place to dust off the day's trials or toast to a week well done, these businesses are serving up the best in Ottawa craft cocktails.
When you think of amazing craft coctails, a hotel bar might be the last thing to cross your mind. Located in the Novotel Ottawa, on Nicholas Street, this is the perfect spot for the downtown core to retire after work. Names like The Capital Flip (made with maple syrup and grated nutmeg) and the Byward Batida (a sweet concoction of muddled berries, brandy cream and rum) show off the staff's love of the city. Look for drinks made with their house-made bitters - ancho mole and lemon-blueberry, just to name a few.
Sure, you could come here for an afternoon spot of tea with downtown coworkers, but slip in after 5 and you'll find a whole new experience awaiting you. The red walls feature Russian portraits and communist pop art set the tone for a memorable experience and their cocktail list is a trip all its own. Split into two sections, signature and premium, there's something for everyone. We love their version of the Caesar, the C-zar, made with jalapeno-infused vodka, and of course, you must try their Moscow Mule.
Hailed as one of the most romantic bars in Ottawa, this may be just the place to bring your office crush for an after-work rendezvous. Housed in the heart of Little Italy, this charming and somewhat magical spot serves up small plates and mixed drinks aplenty. The bartenders are brilliant at making a boozy concoction that tastes so good, it's hard to stop at just one. Try the pintxos: an amazing appetizer made with local and seasonal ingredients paired with a sample size cocktail. We recommend the Bee's Knees - a gin cocktail with honey, lemon and orange bitters.
Moonroom's sister to the west, this tiny lounge has all the intimacy of the Little Italy gem with a few tricks all its own. An ideal place for Tunney's Pasture or Wellington West employees to gather past 5, you're sure to shrug off workday stress in this intimate bar. Dim lighting, perfect music and wonderful staff make this the perfect place to land after a long day. Be sure to try Sarah's margarita, which has the added freshness of mint, paired with the traditional tequila and freshly squeezed citrus.
For those working in Somerset Village, this is a must-stop spot to hit up after work. Sure, the food is superb and the vibe refreshing, but there's more to this southern comfort-inspired restaurant than meets the eye. Find the magic book in the bookcase and your transported to a basement speakeasy that houses some of the best libations in the city. They make all their syrups, juices and infusions in house and have bourbon and whiskey lists that will satisfy any enthusiast. Check out their seasonal cocktail list for something to cool you off or warm you up depending on the time of year.
The cocktail list here may be shorter than some of the other watering holes we've mentioned, but this Wellington West gem proves that size doesn't matter, it's the end product that satisfies. Each concoction is lovingly crafted behind the open bar by their charming staff, and ingredients like pumpkin spice cashew milk let this vegan restaurant shine. Made with all natural, unprocessed ingredients, this is a haven for any health-conscious cocktail lover.
Little Italy office dwellers may have noticed a new Greek restaurant on their lunch breaks, but rest assured they aren't just about the food. While their classic cocktail list certainly holds its own, where EVOO really shines in their Skinos cocktail menu. This spirit comes from the Greek island of Chios and the bar staff here blend it into classics like the martini and old fashioned to create a twist on old favourites.
This is the perfect spot for downtown office dwellers looking for a post-cubicle cocktail. Located at Rideau and George, this market hotspot stocks over 25 varieties of bourbon. Add that to a brilliant bar staff and you've got a recipe for a creative twist on classics like the mint julep, pimm's cup and negroni. Need something to nosh on after a couple of drinks? Hooch boasts a seafood and Southern-inspired cuisine sure to delight your tastebuds. After-work beverage turned into a late night on the town? Try their raw and late night menus served until 2 a.m.
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