By Brian Clarke
If you had to describe Ottawa’s Chateau Lafayette in one or two words, things like ‘simple’, ‘traditional’, ‘laid-back’ and ‘historical’ would come to mind.
And like the bar as a whole, the Laff’s drink menu fits this simple and traditional persona. Their bartending philosophy is simple: no stupid drinks. It’s not a place to go for fancy twelve dollar cocktails. However, you’ll often find regulars at the bar slowly sipping on their favourite, go-to beverage.
Here are four drinks on the Laff’s drink menu that really exemplify this blend of simplicity, tradition and history.
Likely the most popular drink orders at the Laff – and the reason many people return to the pub – are the quarts of beer that are very difficult to find at any restaurant or bar in today’s age. But the quart of beer fits perfectly in the Laff’s historical tavern, bringing back images of early twentieth century pubs.
The Caesar is one of the few cocktails you will find on the Laff’s drink menu; however, it is also a great fit. Not only does the Laff make Caesars exceptionally well, they don’t mess with an already great recipe. This is just a traditional Caesar – not the experimental variations you’ll find at other Byward Market restaurants – but it is done right and done well.
The name of this cocktail – which is only available at the Laff – sounds repulsive at first. However, it is named after Ottawa Rickshaws and represents the true nature of a rickshaw as well as the Laff. It may be rough around the edges, but it is undeniably fun. Likewise, the Rusty Rickshaw and the Laff may not look or sound like much at first, but once you try them you’ll be immediately hooked.
Available through tours offered by Ottawa Rickshaws and the Haunted Walk, the Bywash Bulleit also fits the image of ‘rough around the edges but filled with excitement and history’. Nicknamed ‘bywash’ after the open sewage that once ran down York Street, the Bulleit shooter is not for the faint of heart. The Laff will even ring the bell for you if you manage to stomach it!
You can view the Laff's entire drink menu here.