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Photo by szemingwu.

Hello, dears! Nan’s Parlour is now open in Byward Market

By Sonya Gankina on June 24, 2022

Floral wallpaper. Dark mahogany wood. Deviled eggs.

Welcome to your grandma’s living room. This is Nan’s Parlour, a new concept bar and restaurant in the Byward Market, right by the Heart & Crown on Clarence street. I stumbled upon the Gran’ opening (yup), and had the pleasure of chatting with Mel Veenbaas, who came up with the entire idea, design, and concept, down to each porcelain trinket.

The interior of Nan’s Parlour. Photo by szemingwu.

“I’ve been in the restaurant industry for a long time,” says Veenbaas. “We wanted to create a radically unique space in the market, where you can walk into your grandma’s house and still have a good cocktail. It’s an indie art space—we are going to have bingo nights, local musician concerts, and tarot readings.”

The space has been meticulously designed with careful attention to detail so my next question obviously concerned the sourcing of all decor and furniture. “Everything is hand-thrifted,” explains Veenbaas. “Facebook marketplace, mission thrift, you name it. Even the dishes and glassware are thrifted.”

Photo by szemingwu.

The thoughtful and pleasant details extend to the menus too. “All cocktails are designed by our staff and “Nanager,”” explains Veenbaas (and yes, you read that correctly). “Every season, we have a cocktail where a portion of proceeds are donated to a charity. The last one was a Betty White cocktail, with proceeds going to animal welfare organizations.”

The current charity cocktail is the Cheek Pincher (because whose cheeks haven’t been pinched by a grandma), and $1 from each sale goes to The Good Companions, which supports the well-being of seniors & adults with disabilities.

Considering granny chic is a very specific type of vibe, I ask where the idea came from. Turns out, it all started with a pink couch. “I had an idea to do a depanneur style shop in the market, again wanting something different. I found this couch and it sat in my office forever!” says Veenbaaas. “After our Christmas pop-up fundraising event in this space, it evolved into a full-scale restaurant and bar with grandma-themed menus to boot.”

Veenbaas and I have a nice chat about the idea of stepping into your grandma’s living room. Perhaps not everybody views this as a positive experience if you didn’t have a good relationship with your family. Maybe folks who had to distance themselves from relatives for the sake of their own mental health can have a healing experience here. If you didn’t have a grandma in your life, Nan’s Parlour is here to comfort you, sans old-world thinking and unsolicited comments.

Get your dose of granny chic porcelain goodness here.