Think back to your younger years to that bar everyone would tend to gravitate to on a Friday or Saturday night. As a “kid” (I use that term loosely) who grew up in Kanata, my go-to spot was O’Connor’s Irish Pub. It was Kanata’s iconic bar, although most of my memories of O’Cons (as we usually referred to it) are admittedly hazy.
On the day it was officially announced that O’Connor’s was closed for good, it felt like the end of an era. With one door closing, another one always opens. After months of renovations, new owners and lots of curiosity of what would take over the space, the doors of the olds O’Connor’s finally reopened on July 11th to a European theme beer house and sports hall, Central Bierhaus.
The first time I walked into Central Bierhaus my jaw dropped. There was not one piece of evidence that this place use to be O’Connors Irish Pub. The whole place was gutted out and revamped to a rustic warehouse vibe with a spectacular atmosphere. A perfect setting to explore Das Bier Buch (translates to: The Beer Book) and sip those hard to find internationals biers. With 100+ brews to choose from, it’s a guarantee you’ll want to be back to try another one. (Or be like me and always get the Schofferhofer because it’s irresistibly good! Trust me, if you go you have to try it.)
The authenticity of a bierhaus isn’t complete without communal seating. It’s an opportunity to meet new friends or cute strangers. The nature of drinking is to be social, especially within a sports hall. (Ladies, if you can’t seem to find your men I’m sure their eyes will be glued to one of the many TVs in Central Bierhaus. They have access to all European and North American sport games. You’ve been warned!). Although not all occasions call for communal seating, there is the availability for private seating as well (They’ve thought of everything.)
Along with a fantastic atmosphere that is a step above a basic pub comes comes a gastro-style menu. Chef Christopher Juneau cooked up a menu that includes traditional pub dishes with a German twist; no bierhaus is complete without some wurst (sausage) and a giant pretzel. A separate menu offers the option to indulge in oysters, which is one of their signature food items.
I was very impressed of what became of O’Connor’s and wanted to know why the new owners converted an Irish pub into a beer house. I met with Alex Zaslavsky the General Manager of Central Bierhaus, to get some insight on this new addition to the Ottawa restaurant scene. The inspiration simply came from travelling; like anyone who has travelled before, we all become inspired in some way. Personally, I always admire people who translate their travel experiences into an addition to Ottawa’s food industry or nightlife. It adds more character to our city and in this case it has put Kanata on the map!
I’m happy to say good-bye to the days of O’Cons and to embrace the days of drinking beer out of a stein. Prost!
Central Bierhaus is located at 650 Earl Grey Drive, Kanata, Ontario. They’re opened 11:00am-2:00am everyday.