Best kept Ottawa secrets

Ottawa XPress – Shotgun – November 17, 2006

A “Best Of” New York City list comes out in the Village Voice every year, like our Best of Ottawa in the XPress. And boy, can you ever tell a lot about a city-as you can with a person-by what they boast are their best features.

New Yorkers have got a best bar at which to fake an orgasm, best bathroom to make you feel like a fat, ugly, uncool loser, and a best club to watch semi-naked transvestites dance to The Cure with taped nipples.

Talk about a city of sexually frustrated, superficial weirdos with good taste in music, eh? Just joking… Well, not about the music part.

But Ottawa’s got a few quirks. Sure, we’re a relatively tame government town compared to NYC, but here’s Shotgun’s list of people, places and things that help keep it interesting so we don’t die of boredom and bad food, furniture and tunes:


Best Ottawa feminine lesbian sex symbol Suki Lee. If there’s more, write me. I know this chick…

Best overt matchmaker Shotgun.

Best rock-star barkeeps Mark and Damian, Aloha Room.

Best entrepreneurial, outspoken women with interesting hairdos, or lack thereof, who get shit done Cherry Pie’s Catherine Landry and Westfest’s Elaina Martin.

Best bus route to see hot indie boys #7 and #4.

Best bus route to feel like you’re immature for liking hot indie boys #6.

Best artist-beggar The chap near Goldstein’s on Elgin Street whose detailed pencil sketches interpret his inner demons.

Best Halloween

costume Meterosexual.


Best place to buy a retro-diner kitchen table set and greeting cards with expressions like “You’re breath stinks when you wake up,” “I don’t care what anybody says, I like your hair,” and “Last night rocked” Blue Oasis, 184 Rideau Street. These Maritimers made their start in New Brunswick and are injecting community spirit right here by resurrecting the decaying building. Time to upgrade that Pier 1 Imports bamboo papasan chair for a groovy blue couch. “All your favourite things under one roof,” promises manager Jamie LeBlanc. Get shopping!

Best lady’s black and pink Sorels Lou’s Boot Corner, Byward Market.

Best big warm fur-like hat with flaps Irving Rivers, Byward Market.

Best lady’s parkas Warren’s House of Britches (three locations).

Best grocery store if you don’t like sex Loeb’s.

Best way to disguise your gratuitous music purchases as part of your salad or entrée Black Tomato.

Best fish market agent Omar at Lapointe’s, Byward Market.


Best brunch tunes Eggspectations. Expect to hear Joseph Arthur.

Best croque-monsieur Chez Lucien.


Best way to get hooked on Coronation Street Flake out on the sofa with a plate of jalapeno poppers and a ginger ale.


Best bus route to get grossed out by someone clipping their fingernails #2.

Best funny name to say three times fast CBC TV’s Ian Hanomansing.

Best time to stop asking why people are lined up outside of a church Chamber Music Festival.

Best metre-high bottle of 50 that lights up like a light saber Aloha Room.

Best way to get beaten up by two cops Late-night coffee and donut.


Best place to re-enact the Henry and June book cover cunnilingus scene in Paris: Rideau underpass between the National Arts Centre and the Bytowne Museum.

Best place to buy reasonably priced garters and stockings The Bay.

Best hotel to pretend you’re a Call Girl Chateau Laurier.


Best out-of-town band featuring an Ottawan Bionic, with Jean Belanger (Keener/Bitchin’ Camaros).

Best rock show that makes you want to tattoo the band’s logo or a devil’s horn salute on your forehead and ass Maximum RnR.

Best performance from a guy you thought was too drunk to perform Flecton Big Sky.

Best hot guys dancing on a stage as seen on their website Swizzle’s Bar and Grill, Wednesday and Saturday nights (

Best supply of condoms in the men’s washroom Swizzle’s Bar and Grill.


Best support group when Beckham is carded unjustly during World Cup pre-qualifying matches The late Fergus Inn Pub, now the Georgetown Sports Pub (1159 Bank Street). “We want to cater to every sports fan,” says general manager, John Alves. “We got four receivers, so we can show up to six or seven sports events at any given time. We want to be Ottawa’s Number 1 sports bar.” Game on!

Best reason to come out to Parliament Hill, Saturday November 19 at noon Pro-choice march. Twenty years ago, women won the right to safe, legal abortions, but years later violence against them for expressing that right continues. Join me and women and men of all facets and diversities as we move from the Hill toward Dalhousie then Rideau Street to line up with peaceful placards bearing positive messages in support of women’s right to choose. Help send a message to all women and girls who have had or who may have an abortion, letting them know they’re not to be shamed and are supported by our community.

– Sylvie Hill