A heritage building near Ottawa’s historic Byward Market hosts one of the most unique additions to this capital city’s pub scene. Level One uniquely combines pub fare and a fully licensed bar with bookshelves full of board games and classic video game consoles.
Located at 14 Waller Street in the former Lunenburg Pub & Bar spot, Level One shares digs with Waller Street Brewing (basement) and The Loft Board Game Lounge (second floor). Both The Loft and Level One are co-owned by Alessandro Argentina and Mike Hopkins. Where The Loft is decidedly board-game focused, Level One has added multi-player console games to the mix – a natural extension of the owners’ upstairs business venture.
The pub will open March 29th with a library of more than 700 video games and a veritable who’s who of classic consoles, including Sega, Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft. Older retro gamers like me will be happy to know that Level One also has an Atari 2600 or two kicking around so you can get your 8-bit game on.
Inside, the pub retains all the charm you’d expect from a 150-year old heritage building: exposed stone walls, natural wood flooring and accents, and industrial lighting. The historic décor contrasts with a series of video game character murals that adorn one wall, courtesy of local Ottawa artists, Dems & Doll, and various big screens installed throughout.
The space will comfortably seat about nine at a three-sided bar and more than 20 tables that make Level One conducive to group gameplay at all skill levels. Guests can choose video games from the library at a price of $13 per table per hour. For visitors not inclined for console gaming, there is also a collection of 300 party and casual board games to choose from that are on display on either side of a fireplace.
With game-restos now on two floors, Argentina and Hopkins can expand their food and drink offerings. Level One has a full kitchen and its own chef, Jordan Merritt, and will offer a wide range of indulgent pub food with a gaming twist, ranging from mac ‘n cheese balls to steak frites. For patrons looking for healthy options, the menu also includes vegetarian burgers, vegan soup, and unique salads. In addition to food selections, you will also be able to choose from 12 beers on tap as well as cocktails.
Level One is currently in an “open beta” for anyone interested in checking it out after 6:00 PM, seven days a week, until its grand opening March 28. Opening day will double as a charity event with money being raised for the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign. Follow Level One on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for more information.