The Senate Tavern
We all have our local watering holes, and our "Cheers". Over the last 5 years that place for me has been The Senate Tavern located on Clarence St. I've loved going there for so many reasons. It's an amazing sports bar and an unreal industry spot. But most importantly, the people that go there and those who work there bring you a solid experience.
All of that stems from the owner, Steve Ryan. He's the face that runs the place. And if all good things stem from the top, then the Senate is in great shape for decades to come. In the 5 years that the Senate's been open, I've had many a good nights there. Whether I'm having a casual triple after a long service (or several), to the Spicebox Mondays industry nights being one of the best nights to go out on in all of Ottawa. Or even if it's having my heartbroken by another Dallas Cowboys game, The Senate Tavern truly does live up to it's moniker, "Where Everyone's a Local"!
Needless to say, I was hyped when Steve talked about taking over the Georgetown Pub in Old Ottawa South and putting a new Senate Tavern into that community. And that's a huge word ("community") that continued to come up in our talk when he was showing me around the newly renovated place. To be honest, maybe "renovated" is saying it mildly because the place has a whole new feel to it. Steve is not only a business owner but he's also someone that truly cares about what he does. His awareness of providing the people in the community of Old Ottawa South with an establishment they can be proud of is his top priority. You'll never miss a minute of a game since there's more than 15 screens, two dart boards, a pool room, and a foosball table. You owe it to yourself to check this place out.
Just as we're about to sit down, he got up right away and said "Oh man, you have to check out this kitchen!" And what he has done is truly beautiful with everything made in house. Steve credits this to his new Executive Chef of both the Clarence and Bank locations, Joey Boileau. What S/os is about, is doing a good thing. No matter the style of cuisine, as long as it is done with love and to make it nice, you'll always achieve that.
It was interesting when the topic of Landsdowne came up. Seeing as Senate on Bank is kind of an offshoot of everything that's happening in the little nook around TD Place, we talked about how there isn't any local pubs in the new development. It brought up the question that if a city is going to build these developments, shouldn't they help out more local businesses to help go in and have their chance? This made me think of the Real Sports experiment that happened in the market...remember that? I think Ottawa is a place where local businesses can thrive on a city scale, and the more the city develops its new areas (Lebreton Flats for example), the more it needs to keep our amazing entrepreneurs in mind and give these local business owners a hand in starting up.
The culture that's created at both Senates is something in and of itself. The staff have actually become quite decent friends of mine. You can tell right away everyone is enjoying themselves. Even when they're in the juice on busy nights, you will always get what you need with a huge smile. In getting to know the staff from the Clarence location, I've come to realize that they really care about you and whether or not you're enjoying your time - they go above and beyond to make that happen. Going to the new Bank location for the grand opening I could tell that this same culture has been brought over, and good people will always attract each other. Steve wants to make the working environment the best he can for his staff and that shows in how hard they work. The friendships I see built amongst the staff and the clientele are incredibly loyal as well.
In keeping things new and interesting, Steve's thought of a special for each day of the week. But I could tell he was most excited for his "613 Jamboree" where The Senate is going to showcase exclusively local talent. He's looking to collaborate with the local Ottawa music community and expose the great musicians and performers this city has to offer with an amazing venue to get their voices heard.
I always have a good time shooting the shit with Steve about what's been going on. To be honest I selfishly try to pick his brain each time because of what he's been able to accomplish. He does it with this mindset to better the community and the area's that he establishes himself in. It's always a fun time when I go to The Senate, and it's a privilege for this city to have a guy like Steve Ryan doing a good thing.