One of my biggest frustrations when I’m exploring a new city as a wheelchair user is the challenge of finding a nice place to have a drink with friends. With so many popular bars and lounges built with steps to get inside, I often find that there are flat hidden gems tucked into the top floors of hotels or corporate buildings. Either way, it takes effort and planning.
If you appreciate a quality cocktail or just like the idea of lounging in a bar, then Ottawa has a few spots that you may want to check out the next time you’re in Canada’s capital city and need a night out.
Here are some of Ottawa’s best accessible cocktail lounges.
Montgomery Scotch Lounge
The offerings: Canada’s only single malt lounge is in the nation’s capital and has an extensive whisky menu with offerings that include American, Scottish and even Japanese whisky. Whether you’re a whisky connoisseur, or just looking to try an item or two that you enjoy, Montgomery Scotch Lounge is the perfect place to taste a wide collection of sweet, fruity whiskies to smoky single malts with elegant aromas. If you’re not feeling whisky, there is a wide selection available on the menu and includes organic wines and ciders, as well as appetizers and desserts that can be shared.
The space: This stylish lounge is on ground level with a flat entrance that can accommodate wheelchairs and assistive devices, and there are plenty of low height tables. The interior has wooden tables, modern chandeliers and a brick wall that makes it a visually appealing spot to throw a small get together with friends for a birthday or special event, and guests can pre-select their table with the 3D Reservation Tool, so you can have a look at what works best for you and choose accordingly.
The offerings: Whether you’re in the mood for fruit-based martinis, prosecco or a couple old-fashioneds, Riviera has an extensive cocktail menu with rave reviews. The versatile restaurant is a great option for dining or just stopping in for a drink or two. The cocktail menu has intriguing sounding beverages like “The Femme Fatale” and “Venus in Firs” and are decorated in stunning glasses that will make it tempting to share on social media feeds. Every beverage is unique, with memorable flavours and visual works of art.
The space: The ground level space has a chic and sophisticated vibe from the moment you enter, with leather seating as well as black wooden chairs and brown rectangular tables. Artists who enjoy architecture will appreciate the ambience; Riviera was created in an old bank building and has a unique modern feel with bank lamps used as decor pieces and a bar that resembles a bank counter. It is accessible with most tables being low height, and also has high chairs available at the bar for those who prefer them.
The offerings: Fauna is a bar and restaurant that offers natural wines, curated and unique cocktails and a large collection of craft beers. Their menu offers small plates, so if you’re just going for the cocktails and could use a snack-sized portion, this is the spot to check out. The owners are passionate about supporting local farmers and are open late Thursday to Saturday so guests can pop in for late night cocktails.
The space: The owners worked with sustainable and local products to make the interior what it is today. The inside is dimly lit with lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling, and the vibe is that of a modern industrial bar. Fauna has a flat entrance and spacious interior and is great for a first date.
The Albion Rooms
The offerings: For a comfortable and spacious atmosphere with an affordable cocktail menu, The Albion Rooms is worth a visit. With an international wine list and impressive collection of whiskeys, rums, tequilas and gins, guests who visit this spot have great things to say about the drink menu, the prices and the service. Signature cocktails include a Canadian rye-based drink, and a vodka-based concoction with chamomile syrup and honey.
The space: Located inside the Novotel, this cocktail lounge also serves breakfast and has an atmosphere that can pass as both a family restaurant and night-time lounge. There are couches to sit on, as well as standard height tables and a bar. It is fully accessible at ground level and has accessible washrooms.
Copper Spirits and Sights
The offerings: From espresso martinis to spicy margaritas, Copper Spirits and Sights has a great selection of signature cocktails that are sure to impress. With a great list of wine, beer and scotch whisky, this spot is great for those who like their options. Small plates are also available for sharing and are a great addition to a night out while you’re sipping a nice beverage with a great view of the city.
The space: Located on the 16th floor of the Hyatt, this cocktail bar has an upscale lounge atmosphere with views that overlook the Byward Market and Rideau canal. There is both indoor and outdoor seating, and the rooftop patio has cozy fire pits that will make the experience even more enjoyable while keeping you warm. It is accessible through elevator access and equipped with accessible washrooms.
Do you have a go-to spot to grab a drink? Let us know about your favourite accessible bars and cocktail lounges on AccessNow.
About the Author
Nikoletta Erdelyi is a writer and poet from Toronto, fascinated by how we make meaning for absurdity. She is a philosophy nerd who loves to cook, collect fragrances and write poems about the unique bits of consciousness.
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