OTTAWA STUDENT GUIDE: Your Key to the Nation’s Capital

Public Relations is all about trying and learning new things. uOPRA’s Bryant McNamara set out to create a list to highlight all things #OttCity and uOttawa based. Below you will find his picks of some great places to try out, make your own, and to decide for yourself if they are worthy to be on a student-friendly list for PR students. We’ve made sure that everything (except the beaches) is within a 5km radius of residence/Sandy Hill.



1. Cora’s – 179 Rideau St.
2. Father’s and Son’s (F&S) – 112 Osgoode St. This place will become your home after long nights out and saviour during exams.
3. Eggspectation – 171 Bank St. – Great food, great view upstairs.
4. The Draft Pub – Sports Complex (South End of Campus, 801 King Edward Ave.) – Low-key environment with great views of hockey rink to watch some games. Decent place to study during school hours as it gets quiet.
5. Royal Oak – 161 Laurier Ave. – Home to many, come patio season you’re bound to find yourself here at least once.


GOING OUT? (19+)

1. Mondays – Hooley’s for wing night $0.35 cent wings.
2. Tuesdays – Toonie Tuesday over at 1848 (19+), Junxion (19+).
3. Wednesdays – Patty Boland’s (19+), Heart and Crown (19+), Metal Night at Zaphod’s.
4. Thursdays – Pub 101 (19+), Rainbow Bistro (19+).
5. Fridays – Anywhere!
6. Saturdays – Anywhere!
7. Sundays – Greenroom (19+), Mod Night at Babylon (19+), Sexy Bingo Night at Zaphod’s (19+).

La Maison (19+) is the local bar, located at the edge of center campus, that is open every night. Cheap pitchers of beer, sangria, and great company make the best nights. Located on 191 Somerset Ave. E., it’s safe to say most uOttawans call this place home.


Late Night Grubs (Nom Nom Nom)…

1. Zak’s Diner – 14 ByWard Market – Open 24/7 with an all-day breakfast. Need we say more?
2. Elgin Street Diner (ESD) – 374 Elgin St. – Poutine heaven. Late night madness.
3. Smoke’s Poutinerie – 407 Dalhousie St. – We REALLY like Poutine.
4. Shawarma Byte – 124 Osgoode St. – You will undoubtedly end up here on one of your nights of exploring the city if you live near residence or Sandy Hill. It’s on the list but sometimes we regret that it’s even on our roster.
5. Castle Shawarma (178 Rideau St.) – Forget Shawarma Palace, Castle Shawarma has the best spicy garlic sauce you’ll ever encounter here in Ottawa.

LGBT Community (19+) – In terms of LGBT community-oriented bars, The Lookout is located in the Byward Market, as well as The Mercury Lounge, which is known for their extremely busy Wednesday nights. There’s also Club Edge at 212 Sparks St.


Surf’s Up: Beaches

Britannia is in the west end, and in my opinion is the nicest of the three. They have different Reggae-ton/dance nights as well as great food during the day. Nicest sand and overall nicest location in terms of scenery and people.

Westboro Beach is the smallest and by far most private. Located right along Sir John A. McDonald Parkway in Westboro you simply take a 94, 95, or 96 heading to the West end (15 min bus ride) and get off at Dominion walking on the right end of the Parkway.

Mooney’s Bay is the biggest, as well as the host of Ottawa’s HOPE Volleyball tournament which hosted 25,000 people in 2013 according to CTV news ( for more information) Aside from HOPE Volleyball there are occasional moonlight yoga events as well as just all round beach greatness.


Venues (Live Music)

As a drummer, I have a huge spot in my heart for live music. As biased as this is, these are the best places to go…hands down.

1. Cafe Nostalgica – 603 Cumberland St, – Just got rebuilt this year! Right outside the library towards the Perez Building. The food, the staff and the energy of the Café should be reason enough to check it out.
2. Rainbow Bistro – 76 Murray St. – Around since 1984, this venue is right across from “Pier 21”. Live music EVERY SINGLE DAY of the week. Schedules available at
3. Zaphod’s Beeblebrox – 27 York St. – Live music is happening here, but not every day. You’ll have to check their schedule at for their live shows.
4. Mavericks – 221 Rideau St. – This is where a lot of the bigger bands come to play in Ottawa. for info!
5. Cafe Dekcuf – 221 Rideau St. – Located right above Mavericks, you go into Mavericks and up the stairs on the left side. If you’re curious where they got their name, just read it backwards.

There are numerous more venues around the city. If you’d like to hear about more of them please feel free to email me at


If museums are your thing you should definitely check out the National Art museum, located right near the university off of Somerset drive. They let students in free on Thursday nights!

For other museum inquiries, check out this link!



Deja Vu is a little quiet zone on the second floor of the library. Go up the stairs at the front entrance to the library, and as you exit the door at the top of the stairs you will see a sign to your right that says “déjà vu”.

The Morisset Library is always a good place to go, depending on what you’re looking for. 3rd and 4th floors are silent, 5th is a talking floor, and 6th is graduating students only. If you decide to study in the library just make sure to keep your stuff close at hand. Thefts happened last year so take the extra couple minutes to pack your stuff up and bring it with you to get food or leave it with a friend.

Cafe Nostalgica is a great spot to go if you like a busy environment. It’s got coffee, people and live music most nights. Check em out!

Cafe Alt is a cafe in the bottom of the Arts building. This place is my personal haven for studying. Just the right atmosphere for being around people who are just as busy as you are. They have great food and great coffee…be careful, you might just never leave. I’ve found myself there until 6-7 am sometimes working on group projects.

The Education Centre located on the 3rd floor of LMX. It’s free space for everyone to use and very quiet.

Sites/Adventure Areas

Somerset Footbridge – Commonly called the Lockbridge, this is a pretty nice spot to take someone on a stroll if you’re just looking to talk and walk. It goes between both sides of the river, Queen Elizabeth and Colonel By Drive.

Parliament Locks – This is a great spot, and you can get here a few ways. First, you can take the stairs down from the east side of the parliament buildings. The stairs are right off of Wellington St between Parliament and the Chateau Laurier.

At the end of the day, we all enrolled into university to grow in our programs of interest and meet new friends. uOPRA has created this list to make your stay here in our beautiful city of Ottawa that much better. We love Ottawa and we want you to love it too! Some items on the list revolved around 19+ areas, uOPRA advises caution when going out in the city and never be alone especially at night. Always be safe and make the right decisions! “Stay alert, stay safe!”

Written by: Bryant McNamara
Edited by: Sharon Cheung

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s