From a message board post on an MTBR forum:
Can anyone recommend to me a good pub in Ottawa with good local craft beer on tap? And while we’re at it, where should I go to gaze fondly at bikes and bike parts ie bike shop ?
I admit, even more than I’d love to open my own bike shop one day, I’d like to open my own bike shop and resto-pub. Nothing too, too fancy – just a few carefully chosen brands of bikes and accessories, along with a modest, but just as carefully chosen offerings of ales, stouts, lagers and pilsners. A place where pedalheads, roadies and moutainbikers alike could all call home. Of course there would also need to be a complimentary culinary component to match, one to meet not just the healthy tendencies of riders, but also the hearty appetite of the sometime indulgent, like myself, not to mention incredible coffee!
During the day I’d drink coffee, work on bikes, and of course head out for rides. At night, I’d hang out in the pub, talk bikes and drink amazing beer – a man of simple desires. I’d also live close by so I could ride/walk home, as whichever the situation called for. Needless to say I’d require a full-time staff to take care of pretty much, everything :) So yeah, though I’m still fine tuning my business model, I’m certainly not the first to have such a dream. Pubs and cycling have a storied history and have gone hand-in-hand in Europe for a very long time, and we’re beginning to catch on here in North America.
Powerhouse Pub and Bike Fit Studio in Hailey, Idaho, for example, is a bike shop and pub in equal parts – boasting the best burgers in the valley, and over 12o imported beers! Sounds like a pretty cool place to me.
The New Belgium Brewing Company – a company born of a man on his mountain bike riding through Belgium, seems to be living the dream, not only making world-class Craft beer, but supporting initiatives like ‘Trade Your Car for a Bike‘.
Also, and this is really cool, the brewer that makes my favourite beer, Dogfish Head Brewery, Imperial India Pale Ale 90 minute (you NEED to try this beer), is another perfect example of the bikes and beer synergy. Bicycling Magazine featured brewery-owner, Sam Calagione, in this month’s issue, interviewing him about both his love for great Craft-beer, and riding. Owner of a personalized Mudhoney cross bike from Seven, he rides almost everyday. And no truly respectable, self-professed Craft brewer’s image could really be complete without a brewery-branded jersey.
Here in Edmonton, I think we’re pretty lucky to have the bike friendly scene that we do. With Redbike right next door to the Sugarbowl for so many years, that’s been a natural, and now with DaCapo just across the street and so close to the valley, catering directly to cyclists, I’d say we have it pretty good. That said, who knows? Maybe there is still room in the market for me to open up my place, one day. I personally find that a lot of what I enjoy about cycling, is the social aspect of it. I love the ‘scene’, as much as I love the riding and racing, so meeting up at a place like DaCapo after a ride for a coffee, or a beer is something I truly look forward to. I remember the first summer I ‘really’ started riding. I was admittedly pretty shy about the whole thing, intimidated by the faster riders with flashier bikes, so I kept to myself mostly. The whole summer went by, and sure I talked to people on the rides here and there, learned some names, etc… but for the most part, I knew people best by the bike they rode, and that was it. I didn’t know what they did for a living, if they had a family, kids… nothing. I just knew Gary Fisher Dana, Giant Jason, Trek Chris, or Norco Steve… Now, a couple seasons later, and many a shared pint & pizza later, I can say that I know these most excellent folks for more than just their rides.
Have a killer bike-friendly pub or café in your town? Tell us about it so we can stop in sometime :-)