301 Elgin St., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Time to first beer: 8:02
If you fancy a game of pool, MacLaren’s is your best bet. It’s a big room with a plentiful supply of tables, just belly up to the bar and ask the barkeep for a cue ball. Tables are free, but you rent a cue ball for $12 for the first hour. The tables are nicely maintained, too…no unsightly stains of spilled beer from drunken moments. There’s also a wall of bug-screen TVs if you’re anxious to know the score, but thankfully the volume is muted. Best seats are at the front, but there are longer tables next to the TVs. How do you find this pool mecca? Corner of Elgin and MacLaren…how easy is that?
MacLaren’s offers a feature draft…being adventurous, I usually get the feature draft. My non-scientific method meant that I forgot to ask which particular Grenville Island recipe produced this beer. It’s dark and beerish, pretty middle-of-the-road. I ordered the most expensive thing on the menu, an Italian sausage pizza. MacLaren’s is not a good choice for food. The pizza was about as tasty as a frozen pizza, poor crust and bland toppings. You order food here for sustenance, not enjoyment. Service was a bit sluggish, a combination of new staff (I hope) and increased business in the holiday season. I still recommend MacLaren’s if you only want pool and drinks. If you want a nosh, eat before you get here. If you want a lot of drinks, order the next one before you finish this one.
Next Week: Grace O’Malley’s (Merivale)