While Ottawa might not be lacking in the coffee shop department, with a local roastery on every block and a franchise on every corner, you’d think that all our caffeinated dreams have come true. But once you wake up from that inevitable afternoon crash and the clock strikes 7:00 p.m. (9:00 p.m. if you’re lucky) cafes are quick to turn off their lights, flip that sign to CLOSED and call it a night.
If you’ve ever been cramming for a final and had to pack it in mid-session, or looking to catch up with a friend over a latte and pint of beer, or looking for a quieter place to unwind after a long day, than you might have noticed the disconnect between the city’s coffeehouses and its bar scene. One door closes, the other door opens.
The coffeehouse-meets-late-night-lounge is a relatively unknown in Ottawa concept, even in the epicentre of hustle and bustle: the ByWard Market.
And out of this apparent industry gap, Origin Trade was born.
The focus is on coffee, craft beer and Ontario wine, keeping everything as local as possible. Although they don’t rely on an in-house bean, they do pair with a local roaster to offer single origin coffee. The baristas are often testing the beans and working to perfect their Americano.
On the craft beer front, Origin is representing some Ottawa favourites like Beaus, Beyond the Pale, and Kichesippi, never travelling outside of Ontario. There’s even talks of the coffeehouse joining forces with a local brewery to create a signature brew. A selection of wine from Prince Edward County’s wine country and Sandbanks Winery are also a hit.
On top of the coffee shop treats (with gluten free options!), Origin currently offers a special late night menu and featured charcuterie board. The board will be inspired and created by a different local chef and will be subject to change.
Origin’s soirées, every Thursday night from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m., are just the social networking, 5 à 7 (with two more hours!) you’ve been waiting for. Looking for something a little more lively? Check out their Saturday night DJs. On a typical night, Origin will close their doors at 10:00 p.m. but on Friday and Saturday nights when the coffee grinder takes a little bit of a break as the beers are cracked and the charcuterie boards carted out, they make a slight exception to stay open until 2:00 a.m.
After spending a summer living in New York’s East Village, co-owner Dan Cummins was inspired by the popularity of the local coffee shops because they weren’t just coffee shops. During the day, they were frequented by their regular customers looking for a caffeine fix. But by night, once that 5 o’clock bell rang excusing everyone from their day jobs, the local coffeehouse would be abuzz with people unwinding from a long day with an Americano in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.
These coffee-and-booze bars have slowly started to trickle their way into Canada, popping up in the Toronto-area. And we all know that whatever Toronto can do, Ottawa can do better.
Housed at 111 York Street in the Market, Origin Trade officially opened its doors on November 30th. The building was formerly a hair salon, and co-owners Denis Sabourin and Dan have done an amazing job renovating the space while maintaining the Post-Victorian-meets-Industrial architecture of the 100-year-old building. Walls feature exposed brick, others are painted matte black with white panels, and rustic wood accents are dispersed throughout the 3-room cafe.
Each room has been created with a different vibe. Leather couches and slabs of thick cut wooden coffee tables are the first thing you see when you walk in. The bar room, where a barista/bartender is ready with a “what can I get ya” smile, has a wrap around counter, stools and high top tables – ideal for that after work drink you needed. The final room is a scattering of tables and chairs yearning to be taken over by notebooks and laptops (did I mention free wi-fi?), but the most impressive part of this room is the enormous painting of a ghostly, skeletal figure.
With an expanding menu, talk of creating their own craft beer, and a passionate focus on serving up as much local products as possible, it’s easy to see how Origin could take the Ottawa coffee scene by storm. Their late bedtime is just an added bonus.