The Ottawa Rickshaws Blog

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The (Re)Birth of Another Local Dive Bar

The (Re)Birth of Another Local Dive Bar


By Brian Clarke

With every end comes a new beginning…

About a month ago, my business partner Adam wrote about the tragic death of a local dive bar.  Even if you’ve never been to the Prince of Wales Restaurant, you could sympathize and feel the pain.  It seems like more and more small, so-run-down-you-can’t-help-but-love-‘em bars are biting the dust and larger chains with fancy leather booths, loud music and $13 beverages are replacing them.

But there is still hope.

If you read any of the comments on Adam’s post, you know that a ‘new’ Ottawa South venue is ‘emerging’ as a powerhouse in the local dive bar scene. I put new and emerging in quotes since O’Brien’s Eatery & Pub (located on Heron Rd. just west of Bank St.) has been around longer than I have.  But it is recently being (re)discovered by many locals.

If you’re looking for an easy, relaxed hang out with friends, O’Brien’s is perfect. It scores high in all aspects of the perfect dive bar:

Cheap, greasy, yet satisfying and tasty eats

40 cent wings from Monday to Wednesday or an $8 lasagna for lunch? Couple that with a $15 pitcher of beer. Could it get any better?


Just recently, O’Brien’s has erected a banner proudly displaying “Voted best karaoke in Ottawa”.  Even if you don’t sing, you’re bound to have a good time on Friday and Saturday nights listening to some locals show off their talents.

Run down atmosphere

Everything from the furniture to the dishes to the decor seems as if it hasn’t been changed in 30 years.  Plus, the bar is very small and quaint – it’s about the same size as the typical patio of a large modern money-making machine restaurant.

The “we’re not trying to impress you” attitude

Yes, you’ll get the occasional unidentified “floatie” in your beer, but you can’t have a dive bar without that! O’Brien’s doesn’t impress you with flashy products or services, but with its simplicity.

Loyal regulars

If you go to O’Brien’s for a karaoke night, you will see the same people singing.  And they take their karaoke seriously! But the predictability of who will be there, where they sit and what they sing adds to the simplicity and appeal of the pub.

Nothing sums O’Brien’s better than this short anecdote:  After accidently breaking a glass on one visit, I returned for another relaxed drinking night.  However, I was remembered by the staff as that clumsy oaf who broke their glass, and was served in a red plastic cup.  Only at a local watering hole would you find a man eating a plate of nachos, drinking a beer out of a red plastic cup!

Do you have any good memories of O’Brien’s, the POW or your own favorite dive bar?  Please share below! If you don’t, next time you are looking to hang out with friends on a weekend night, I challenge you to try a local dive bar such as O’Brien’s instead of fist-pumping your way to a club. Especially for Carleton students who live near campus and others in the area who may be affected by the loss of the POW, another local dive bar is just around the corner.